Sly Withers To Start The Next Chapter With New Album “Overgrown”

Sly Withers announce the next huge chapter of their career with the forthcoming release of their new album Overgrown which has already seen the release of single Radio. Featuring fourteen tracks, the Perth outfit’s epic third studio album was produced with Dave ‘Parko’ Parkin (Spacey Jane), which resulted in the band expanding and elevating their sound to a huge new level, while still making sure to retain the core DNA of who Sly Withers are as a band. If 2021’s Gardens was the subconscious journaling of navigating adulthood and their early 20s, then Overgrown is the self-reflection of what their potential future looks like, for better or worse. Hi Fi Way spoke to Jono Mata about the album and upcoming tour.

Are you starting to feel a bit excited with your new album Overgrown coming out this week? feeling pretty pumped with the new album about to come out in a few weeks time.
Absolutely, it’s been creeping up very quickly.

Is this the most exciting time for the band leading up to another important release?
We had a great run with Gardens and did the absolute best that we could through all the Covid stuff that was happening. Now that that’s out of the way, I feel like the runway’s clearing for us to do what we want to do. I think we’re very proud of the album that we’ve made, can’t wait for people to hear it and then can’t wait to get out and do the shows.

Did you always intend on having a follow up album to Gardens out so quick?
One of the benefits of the setup we have is that Sam and I are both writing songs, so we write twice as fast as most other bands. From there it’s quite easy. A lot of these ideas for this album were sort of kicking around at the time that we were doing Gardens anyway. Obviously there’s some new ones that came along as well. The writing process never really stopped throughout Gardens. We had the tracks ready to go and we decided that we wanted to follow it up as soon as possible to keep going on that momentum that we got and make the most of it.

Do you see much difference between Gardens and Overgrown?
I think thematically I would say that I feel like they’re all of the same vein. When Sam answers this question he sends tends to say that Gardens was us figuring out how to enter the adult world and do that kind of stuff. This one looks at how to sustain that responsible adulthood and looking forward. Sonically I think that we were a lot braver with Overgrown. We were more interested in trying out some new things and seeing what we could come up with. Working with Parko on that was really good in pushing us in directions that we wouldn’t normally go. I think it is definitely a bit of a step up both in terms of production and what we are doing on the tracks.

There definitely seems to be some very subtle differences and maturing of the Sly Withers sound. Is that how you see it?
I think so, we had a lot more time in this record to be a lot more careful with what we wanted to put forward with a lot more attention to detail went into it and crafting the sound that we want to have, which I feel like we’ve got pretty close to on this one.

With some of the ideas you mentioned were hanging around with Gardens, did that take a bit of re-working and re-jigging or was it easier to start afresh?
Sometimes, yes! A lot of the tracks once we got in there, it was actually our first time ever having the time in the studio to really like rip us on the part and bring it together again. Before it’s always been we rehearse up to the last rehearsal and that’s what the song is and then we go in and record it, whereas this time it was working through on a track-by-track basis what the album didn’t have yet and what we thought it needed to try and tick as many boxes as we could. Songs were completely flipped on their heads from the original ideas that we went in with and that was both songs that had been around for a while and the fresher ones as well. It was really just a start from the beginning on each one and see what we ended up.

Was having the luxury of time a curse as well in terms of being able to let go and move on to the next song?
Yes and no. We actually had a good process, that we actually ended up having nearly ten weeks that we were in the studio. That was doing nearly eighty-hour fortnights. Each week we would do the tracking day with everyone on the Friday, then all the drums on the Saturday and that would be for three songs. Sam and I would have the week being there full time while the other boys were at work to layer the guitars, track vocals and all of that. Then we’d start from the Friday again with the next three. It was a good way to have the time to delve into each one, but there’s always that Friday creeping up where you got to start the next three to keep on track. That was the most efficient way that we’ve done it so far, I think.

What was your reaction when you sat back and saw how the album was starting to take shape particularly as these songs were being finished?
Definitely very proud. We were stoked with what we were able to achieve in there and I think at the end of that “Garden’s” run, when we went into the studio when we were working on these songs, we’d been playing a lot of shows and everyone was on their A-game with the individual, we did the absolute best that we could on these songs with Parko’s help. We’re all just really proud.

Did you feel like it all went to plan?
There’s always challenges and there’s always going to be differing ideas that people don’t necessarily line up on. We’re pretty good at finding the compromises in those situations, but in terms of the overall time in the studio, everything went as good as it could have gone and sometimes it’s when things fall apart that you find the other ideas. The one challenge was the amount of time that we were in there, long days and you feel absolutely drained by the end of it, um, but wouldn’t have any other way. So it’s a good day job!

When you finished the album did you to let it sit for a week or so and then come back to it to see how you feel about it?
We had discussions about the track listing and once we had all the mixes back it was an ongoing process of refining the eventual track list that we ended up on. We didn’t say that’s enough, I don’t want hear it again for a while!

Collectively were there any significant influences for the album?
I was definitely listening to a lot of Spacey Jane. We really wanted to get a much lusher, prettier sound on a lot of these songs and I think Spacey are really good at how they layer simple parts and like get the most out of a verse, which was something I was really interested in. Also that Turnstile album absolutely flawed us and we wanted to sort of capture as much of that power as we could. A lot of the ideas and the stuff that we came up with was more a product of the four of us working in the room with Parko. Then I would say it was sort of drawing on individual influences for each song, it’s more just a couple loose ideas that came from here and there.

Is it too early to have a favourite song from the album?
Oh, it changes. I think at the moment it’s probably Something or Last. Those two I think are going to be really fun to play as well.

How do you celebrate release day?
We haven’t planned anything yet. I’m not sure if we’re going to have some kind of launch party on the night or whether it’s just the five of us having drinks or we do a bigger thing and include the general public, I think either way we’ll be drinking a few beers and having a laugh.

Are you looking forward to the tour and playing at The Gov in Adelaide?
Yeah, it is super exciting. It’s the first ever run doing theatre shows, our biggest headliners so far. We are blown away that Moaning Lisa are coming on as much of the run as they can. We’ve got Tyler Richardson from Luca Brasi, which is an absolute spin out to have him on board. Adelaide’s own Towns are coming over for the Perth show. It’s going to be a good time. I think this is going to be a really fun album to play live as well.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Sly Withers on the following dates, tickets HERE

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