Late Teens by Press Club is what happens when four Melbourne musicians come together to create a body of work entirely devoid of outside influence from record labels, producers and the like, being answerable to only themselves.
Over six weeks in late 2016 MacRae’s Brunswick East house was converted into a temporary song-writing sweatshop where the band wrote forty songs that were distilled into the dozen that make up the track list on Late Teens. Relying upon the experiences of their friends and people they know as subject matter, Late Teens thematically approaches displacement, relationships, internal turmoil, gentrification and inequality. The rest as they say in the classics in history. Iain MacRae from the band answers some questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles
How exciting is the build up to the release of your debut album?
It was huge fun. We we’re all balls to the wall trying to get it all ready to release in time but there was a massive anticipation.
Does it feel like a long time in the making?
Not necessarily. We wrote the first songs for the Late Teens in July 2017 so an eighteen month turn around feels pretty good.
Do you think you learnt a lot as a band that you’ve taken from these experiences in to 2018?
Totally. We’ve all grown heaps as both musicians and people. We were flying blind throughout the whole process, so there was a bit of trial and error, though we learnt from every minute decision we had to make.
To those who don’t know much about Press Club how would you describe the band?
Four mates from Brunswick East who write music the best they can.
How did the recording sessions go for Late Teens?
They were great. We did it all ourselves, with our guitarist, Greg, at the helm. We recorded it live over six days in Abbotsford. It was trying at times, but the funnest and most organic recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of.
What is the story behind the single Suburbia?
We started to write Suburbia in my garage in Brunswick one night. We were playing the verse form for ages and never really got a solid ‘B’ section for it until we had another couple of cracks at it. Like all the other songs on Late Teens, Suburbia was tracked live and we wanted the real emotion of us playing and Natalie’s vocal performance to translate across onto the tape. Lyrically, Natalie has never been really told anyone explicitly what it’s about, but all the songs are based around our own experiences and those of our mates.
The single artwork for Suburbia is great. How did that come about?
That house in the photograph is my family home in Brunswick in 1963. We did the bulk of the song writing for the album in that joint while my family we’re overseas. We locked down and set up a permanent song writing sweatshop for six weeks and really dug in two or three days a week. It just felt fitting that that should be the artwork for Subs.
How is this massive tour with The Smith Street Band going so far?
It’s been great so far. We’re almost half way through and it’s the biggest undertaking anyone in the band has ever taken in their music careers so far. Bec Sandridge and her band, and the Smith Street mob are all real good to be on the road with. A real great crew of talented people.
Will it feel more like a party than a tour?
There’s so many dates, I think it’s like thirty-four in total or something. Because of that there’s a lot of time in transit so it ain’t really conducive to having a huge bender.
Beyond the tour, what’s next?
Album numero dos, ASAP. Need to wrap up writing that. It’s hard to write on the road because all the attention goes to the live aspects of the game, but we thrive on being able to write new music, it’s what keeps everyone motivated and involved. And more shows. Heaps more shows, everywhere!
Interview by Rob Lyon