Chemicals, the debut album by Brisbane-based band The Rockefeller Frequency, has been a full DIY journey from inception through to release. The recording process took place in the band’s own Basement Studios in Brisbane and was engineered and produced by the band as well.
After supporting the likes of Birds of Tokyo and Calling All Cars, The Rockefeller Frequency went quiet for several years before reemerging in 2018. Having time off was rewarding for the four piece, supplying them with many rich life experiences as well as subject matter for Chemicals. Lead vocalist Joshua Eckersley talks more about Chemicals with Hi Fi Way.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of your debut album Chemicals?
The build-up to the release of Chemicals seemed fine on the surface level, but I guess there were some larger things looming that really took us all by surprise. We put a lot of work into this album and we are so happy with the end-result, but as I write this, we’re all isolating separately and obviously unable to play the gigs we had booked in support of the release, which is fine. I’d much rather cancel the gigs than be contributing to the cancellation of society as we know it. We are very keen to get out there once this whole “end-times” phase has been resolved. But in saying that, if I don’t make it…
Was the process of making the album as challenging as you thought?
We recorded the album over a couple of years, so a lot of work went into it and yeah it was challenging. It didn’t go exactly as we thought it would. There were a couple songs that we thought were really good but didn’t quite work out in the recording process so they got cut. Then a couple of other tunes that turned out so much better than we thought they would be and they got pushed up to the front.
Do you do anything different with the crisis that is unfolding?
We don’t get out so much recently. We don’t rehearse and we’ve had to cancel a couple of gigs. Oh, and there is the endless anxiety and existential dread that plagues me constantly. It’s a very scary time but I have some positives that I try to keep in mind. I think there are opportunities to better ourselves, when faced with this type of crisis. A lot of us may have been on auto-pilot for years, and just coasting along. When something like this happens it wakes you the fuck up, and makes you realise you could be trying harder to live a good life and to help others who need help.
How is the band making the most of the lock down right now?
We are working on new songs, and starting to record demos. We are cleaning our hands a lot, and trying not to touch our faces. Hopefully this will be a very creative period for us and for a lot of artists, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a massive outpouring of artistry over the next few months.
Sonically, how would describe your music?
Loud, fast, and catchy. All those good things that make you smile and want to dance. We rock out hard and we want people to dig it the same way we dig it.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
Some of the big bands we look up to are Violent Soho, Refused, At The Drive In, The Strokes, Nirvana. These bands have such huge sounds, and such captivating vocals and lyrics.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
You were a little off-key. Try harder.
How did the band get together?
We all come from the Lismore (NSW) area, and went to school together. We all resonated together and were drawn to make this music together. It seems a little preordained, as if free-will were not even a real thing.
Are you looking to tour more broadly once the madness settles down?
Yes for sure. We would love to. Fingers crossed this craziness dies down soon.
What’s next for Rockefeller Frequency?
More recording, more writing, more honing our craft. Hopefully if things get better soon we’ll be gigging our butts off in a town adjacent to a town near your town.
What’s something interesting that most people wouldn’t know about the band?
I can’t speak for the whole band but I certainly listen to some eclectic stuff. Today I’ve been listening to Simon & Garfunkel, alongside Frank Ocean and Colin Hay. Then when it comes time to rock out with the band I often wonder where all the aggression and anger comes from. I’m certainly not channelling Paul Simon when I’m screaming my lungs out, but who knows what form inspiration takes. Either way, it all works out in the end.
Interview By Rob Lyon