“Can’t Do This On My Own”
Brad: Josh and I had a big fight about the end section of that song.
Josh: We had a lot of fights.
Brad: Ja, but that was a particular one. It wasn’t me calling him fat…
Josh: No, he was. [Laughs.]
Brad: No, we weren’t doing that kind of stuff. By the time we had gotten to the end of that song, it was fine, but it wasn’t quite there. It actually got a bit heated. Even the producer, Darryl, he didn’t know what to do. He started mediating between us. “Guys, I’m sure we can try both ideas.” At the end of it, it gets enormous and musically quite fresh and has nice power elements. Our label manager reckons it’s his favourite track on the album. I think it just connects with him on another level. So it was a healthy fight. We are a little bit like that. We don’t fight, but we are direct about what we want.
Hardus: We fight for the song.
Brad: Ja, we don’t fight each other.
Josh: We’re highly opinionated.
Brad: We’re very hard to work with.
Josh: Before we went to do the album with Darryl, we met with him and he said, “I’m quite a hardass in the studio. We have to work.” I don’t think he expected it at all. It was the other way round.
Jono: I think he expected us to be lazy.
Brad: We’re nice, though. We don’t attack people, just the songs.
Hardus: The fighting is the “grey” and the result is the “yes” and the “no”.
Jono: I think it’s just because we all really want every idea and song to be the absolute best that we can make it be.
Hardus: And at the end of the day we had champagne to celebrate it.
Josh: That’s the thing though. Although we fight, we have fun things in mind. We all want the same thing out of the project and how we get there is that I punch Brad in the face. [Laughs.] No, we’ve never had a fist fight.
“Fool With a Heart”
Josh: “Fool With a Heart” sums up the album quite nicely.
Brad: yes/no/grey links itself mostly with “Fool With a Heart” lyrically, I think. “Fool With a Heart” is also much darker than our EP was. I think it’s still beautiful and has a real depth to the harmony underneath it. Throughout the album there’s some things we’re definitely “yes” about and some things we’re definitely “no” about and then this thing about the “grey” existence in our lives. It’s okay not to have all the answers and questioning is a good habit to have. Society doesn’t like it. Personally, I know the people I hang out with, they don’t like it when you question stuff. Progress has to come from questions in life and being okay not to know the answers just yet and you have to have that kind of “grey” before you have the “yes” and the “no”. You have to endure that period of your life. “Fool With a Heart” fits that grey space. It’s a bit darker, a bit out of Gangs’s reach. It’s a little bit more questioning, a bit more out there. It’s probably my favourite song on the album.
Jono: Even musically. In that second verse, with that guitar and the synth in the background, they make weird notes. They’re kind of pulling apart and are not anything directly related to the chords. It’s all in between things but it all ends up coming together. I think we’ve tried to explore lyrics with music which is pretty cool.
“Isn’t It a Shame”
Jono: When we were tracking it, they had this old piano from an old music school. Originally we were just going to track it with an electric piano and we actually got the real thing. It’s so awesome because you can hear the mallets and the tones and the overtones and all the little harmonic things. You hear the real instrument. It was quite a cool experience to use that thing.
Brad: Josh’s kit was vintage. It’s priceless. They won’t sell it to us, else I think Josh would buy it in a second.
Jono: It’s pretty cool because it’s all acoustically tracked and put in. It’s not all digitally overdubbed. It’s the real deal. The actual sound is that instrument which is quite cool because everything I use these days at home is a version of a real thing and it was awesome to get to use the real stuff.
Josh: I reckon this one was probably one of the hardest songs we had to track. We tried to do it first, I think, and Darryl was like, “Ja, it’s not really happening. Go and sleep and come back and try it again.” It just wasn’t sitting, even though it’s really straight. I think in terms of how we play it and tonal aspects for that song.
Hardus: It’s a very groove-based song and groove is sometimes hard to get right because you have to be particularly tight.
“House and Money”
Hardus: I wasn’t actually there. I had to go early to finish my studies, but apparently they did some stomping in studio and recorded that.
Josh: We combined it with a whole bunch of stuff. We stuck this piece of board down and then we stomped. It was actually flipping sore. After a while my ankles were stuffed. We were just sweating.
Brad: We worked with Darryl Torr and I think he gets kicks out of doing things like that. I think it was for the same song that he was miking the walls because he wanted the reverb of the walls. Darryl likes to get quite eclectic. I think if you listen to it you’re not going to hear the wall, but musical depth is quite something. A lot of music is right on the front there and you just hear what you hear. I think it’s cool if you can start listening to music and every time you listen there’s a little nuance that you pick up. I suppose a mic in the wall adds to all that stuff.
“Don’t Let Me Go”
Hardus: I think “Don’t Let Me Go” is a standout one. It was an 11 hour 59 minutes entry onto the album. It was the last one we put on. Josh and Brad finished writing it on a Friday, recorded it for a day on Monday and sent it for mixing on the Tuesday.
Brad: It’s probably going to be one of our singles so it’s hopefully going to be a good last-minute addition.
Josh: It’s a bit weird because I think we go through stages where we have a short period where we’ll just write, write, write. We just come up with piles of ideas. And then you have stages where it’s just barren. It’s just frustrating, or for me anyway.
Brad: The worst thing for me is if you have a good idea and now you can’t stuff it up because now you have to put it into a song. You have this idea and think, “This could really, really work, you know.” But one idea is not enough for a whole song, so for me, with songwriting, and we’ve actually found that we’ve had what we thought was a cool idea and then it’s taking us some eight months to finish it off. We’ve actually had to fight for the song.
Hardus: Sometimes the song doesn’t even make it.
Brad: You get to a point where you’re like, “I can’t pull this together right now.” I think songwriting is a bit of a journey and you have these revelation moments where something just falls onto a page and you have those other ones where you have to really invest yourself creatively and just push through.
Josh: I think “Don’t Let Me Go” was kind of like that. It came really quickly and, literally, in five minutes, words came out onto the page. To me, lyrically, it might be one of my favourite ones on the album.
Hardus: I think it’s a song that people can attach themselves to really quickly because it’s really accessible. I played it to my wife and she immediately said that this is going to be a lot of couples’ songs. It’s got love-song edge to it. I don’t know how the guys wrote it, whether it was like that or not.
Brad: I was thinking about Josh. [Laughs.]
Photo: Brad Donald