Hot on the heels of their acclaimed debut release, Tropical North Queensland five-piece AREA13 are back with a sophomore album Classified that showcases the band’s songwriting nuance. With five established songwriters in the band, the creative process for AREA13 is never idle.
In fact, the band started writing tracks for Classified as soon as they finished recording their 2018 debut Parachutes for Puppets. This creative outflow has been steady from the very beginning, the band had only been together for a little over two years when they released their first album, and they started writing material together from the outset. That kind of musical chemistry is impossible to force, and with each member bringing their own prolific music background it has made AREA13 a formidable force on their local live scene.
Is album number two just as tough as the first?
In many ways yes. It’s very time consuming and stressful to collate music from every member of the band and work together to get the finished product polished and sounding the way we intended. Although we had been through the recording process before with Parachutes for Puppets, It didn’t make it any easier recording Classified. Many hours of writing, working together to bring the songs to the finished product and finally the recording process.
Does the second album blues get talked about as a band?
Like many bands, it’s a challenge to keep harmony between the members. Area 13 has five of us and we all write songs, so from time to time there are disagreements. In saying that we still manage to talk about our differences and work out the solutions. We try and keep things on a positive note and push through the hard times.
Did the band have a vision about how they wanted it to sound?
We talked about having a different sound from Parachutes for Puppets. We wanted to experiment with added instruments such as keyboards and saxophone. It’s hard to plan exactly what it’s going to sound like as we all brought songs to the table and all have individual ideas and writing styles but once they hit the table they build and change. We are very happy with the outcome of Classified.
How would you compare both albums?
Classified is a bigger production with more of a produced sound then Parachutes For Puppets. Our direction with Classified has been learnt and directed from our experiences from our first album.
What comes first, the lyrics or the music?
It all depends on each writer; I sometimes start with a riff or melody and then write the lyrics, or sometimes have the lyrics and then put the music to it.
Did you change up the process or do anything differently?
The process was very similar to the first album we came to the table with each song, tried them live at our gigs and decided on what will be the line up for the album. We did however have Nigel Pegrum produce Classified this time.
Do you think the band can keep up releasing an album a year?
I would like to think we could keep producing albums each year. As long as we all agree and the gigs keep coming in I cant see why we couldn’t.
Were there any heated debates about the album given that everyone sings and writes?
As any band has different personalities there is always heated debates about the music and direction of the albums, but we always work through the problems and come up with a mutual decision together.
Are there any plans to tour over the summer?
Area 13 is extremely busy over the summer particularly in the Northern region, at the moment Area13 needs to fulfil these commitments within this region. We would love to tour around Australia.
How is 2020 shaping up for Area 13?
We currently have twenty seven gigs booked for the start of the year and counting. There is talk about getting down south and showcasing our music, so we are hoping there are venues that would like to have us play.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Check out Area 13’s new album Classified on Spotify…