Legendary Australian rockers Screamfeeder are back with a brand new single Don’t Get Me Started, a mosaic of a song, inspired by a need to get away from screens and invest some time in self-reflection, out today. After sharing the Spring Loaded mainstage with the likes of Grinspoon, You Am I, Regurgitator, Killing Heidi and more on the weekend, Screamfeeder are more exciting than ever – and armed with their new album Five Rooms, they are set to rock Jive tonight with support by rock queen Adalita. Hi Fi Way spoke to Tim Steward about the tour.
How was the build up to the new record?
Hard to believe it was finally coming, we recorded it in July and it feels like it has been forever as I’m used to a much quicker turnaround but we had this and that going on so everything was taking ages.
After the challenges of the last couple of years did you ever lose faith that you would get there?
Exactly the opposite, luckily for me early on the whole Covid thing taught me to just be patient and be cool and just accept uncertainty. That’s how it is, it’s the way!
Over a thirty year career have you ever been challenged this way?
Similar, we had, I remember back in 1999 we were ready to record a follow up to Kitten Licks. We had an American label looking after Kitten Licks and they said we weren’t allowed to record another album until they said so. They didn’t want us interfering with potential sales in America. They stopped us recording our next album and that was a frustrating year because we had all these demos and we couldn’t go and record. That’s when we put out the covers record because we were allowed to record other peoples songs in this weird twist of fate.
With Five Rooms did you have in your own mind an idea of how you wanted it to sound?
We were lucky that we were able to rehearse together, we rehearsed for many months and it was funny because when I think back to the nineties where one person would bring in a song, you would smash it together and by the end of the practice you knew it back to front and that it would barely change. This time it was much more like, here’s the song in its more formative form, more of a sketch, bash it around and see what happens. By the end of the practice session you’re not sure how it goes and the next week you come in and start from where you left off. It is a more fluid way of working but slower because you’re not ticking things off every week. Even when we got to the studio we were barely hanging on to the arrangements. It is easy enough to record an arrangement and put it down, listen back and say if it is working or not working. Honestly, it was on the fly the whole thing.
Did anything in particular influence Five Rooms sonically or did it just evolve that way?
It really did evolve that way, for all the preparation you do learning all the parts and song writing, working out how you are going to perform the songs, when you get in the studio (we were in a studio owned by one of the Powderfinger guys), and he has this room full of amps, we plugged all our guitars in and it was oh my god I’m spoilt for choice. I’m kind of like went in bunny in the headlights mode, too much choice and I couldn’t really decide, so I choose an amp and said let’s work with this. When you do things like that and being spontaneous you really are throwing caution to the wind and crossing your fingers hoping that it works. I got home from the recording session and I was editing these mixes and I thought the guitars are sounding pretty crap and I was disappointed with my lack of preparation. Once they were mixed they sounded fine but it was like I was over thinking it. There are so many variables it is impossible to plan for all of them in mind.
How exciting was it as these songs started to take shape?
I think what happens with bands that have been around for a long time is that they either have a bigger budget to record and spend longer making it sound shinier, making it more slick . The other thing is that they get really set in their song writing ways becoming a more narrower street than ten years prior. With us, we are lucky on both fronts because we had a miniscule budget to record so we were rushing the recording and trying to cut corners wherever we could. We were working fast which always suits us and we aren’t the sort that will sit around for a full day to work out a drum fill. We like that spontaneity, we are on the fly, like this sound will do for that song and that sound for that song. As far as song writing, my songs for the record, it was half and half between kellie and myself, I’m a song writer that is probably stuck in my ways more. Kellie is a very different songwriter to me which is great because it saves the band. I put in some ideas to Kellie’s songs, ways to structure them or bring out the hooks, but her songs have this zany aspect to them which I don’t so much summon in my songs any more which helps keep the songs sounding fresh.
Did Don’t Get Me Started leap off the page as choice for first single?
Honestly, no! That song was really hard to put together and had dozens of arrangement changes and variations on it. By the time we got to the studio we were a little bit over it, oh my god this song is frigging hard work we’re done with it once it was recorded. Our producer, Anna, said that’s one that pricks up our ears we should run with that. It was like wow ok, let’s do it!
Has playing festivals like Spring Loaded helped rejuvenate the interest in the band? It must feel like a class of ’99 reunion of sorts as well?
It kind is hanging out with Frenzal Rhomb and all those bands. It is funny how so little changes backstage, it might be 2022 but it is still still exactly the same and it’s nice because all those bands are the same people, the same dickheads having a joke backstage and playing those well known songs we still have muscle memory to play those ones.
This tour is really exciting and taking Adalita along for the ride must be super cool as well?
Oh yeah, we have a new drummer and he is amazing, a great player who really has been cracking the whip to make sure we have enough songs. There will be plenty of old songs and we’ll have the whole Kitten Licks album up our sleeve which we can pull from having played a Kitten Licks show in Brisbane last month. We have a really big arsenal of stuff now!
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Screamfeeder on the following dates, tickets HERE