Melbourne’s Freak Wave released and launched their debut full length ‘Don’t Let Me Down‘ on Poison City Records last week. This week they hit the road and you’ll be able to catch them at Black Wire Records in Sydney on Friday night. On Saturday they’ll play Crowbar in Brisbane and a free all ages in store at Tym Guitars in Brisbane on Sunday. If you haven’t done so yet, you can order your copy of the album on Black or Port Wine coloured vinyl [Here]. Also available digitally on Bandcamp [Here]. This week they took the time to answer our On The Record questions telling us all about the album. Expand this post for their answers.
Tell us about the release title.
We had some truly horrible ideas for LP titles. Happy/Sad, Saudades, Just Like Medicine, Shoot For The Cure, Useless Things and Freak Wave II. In the end we settled on Don’t Let Me Down mainly because it actually sounded like an album title. It’s got a nice classic ring to it.
Tell us about the artwork.
The Art was done by Matt Green, a local Melbourne artist and skater. We just pretty much left it up to him and just said see what you come up with. He ended up putting the wilting sunflower on it that tied in the first record. It’s pretty different, I like it. He did the cover for the Magic Dirt EP Signs Of Satanic Youth
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
Like our self-titled record, it will be released on LP through Poison City Records. We just don’t see the point of CD’s. Fuck, I haven’t bought a CD since about 2002. We’ll have some t-shirts and stuff too. Mike’s Hot Sauce are doing a special FW batch for the release as well.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We chose to record it in the big bandroom at the Reverence. Mainly because it was a comfortable environment for us – it’s essentially like recording in Matt’s lounge-room… that just happens to have a bar, stage and full PA. It’s also close to Olympic Donuts at Footscray Station, best hot jams in the world.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
We recorded with Fitzy again because he’s a mate, and he knows how to get a great sound. We basically record whenever he’s just about to go on tour, so we can give him some spending money to take with him. He’s great though, we have a laugh and get the results we want. He knows exactly what sound we’re after, and how we go about it.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Yeah, we always do. We just decide we’re gonna record another batch of songs, then we just do it. Not much messing around, if it sounds good, we record it, and if it doesn’t, we just push it to the side for a rainy day. Mike and I will come up with the main guts of a song, we’ll bring it to the other guys, and then we just bang it into shape.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Bands like Wild Moth, Small Black, Dads, Solids, Deep Heat, Iowa and Tape/Off have all been Freak Wave favorites of late. But we’re always really influenced by Guided By Voices, Superchunk, and Archers Of Loaf. That’s pretty obvious though.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
We really just wanted to try and get a similar sound to the first record. We were so stoked with how that turned out, we really wanted to stay in that neighborhood. We were very sure about wanting to keep it a really raw and honest documentation of what we were doing at the time. There’s a real sense of urgency about the songs on this record that we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose, with an over produced, unnatural sound. I think a lot bands make that mistake of going too big, when they’d actually sound better with a more honest, stripped back sound. It’s rock music, not a fucking beauty pageant. In this day and age, If you’re spending big money on studios and post production, you’re not doing it right folks.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
All up about three days. One full day tracking drums and some guitars, and another couple half days doing Bass and guitars at the Rev. Then we did vocals in the sticks at my place in Bacchus Marsh in one night. We not hear for a haircut, we don’t mess around. I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending a week (or weeks) recording.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We basically just set up in the big room at the rev and recorded the drums with everyone else playing as a guide for Matt. Then the guys will record all their bass and guitar tracks after the beds have been laid down. Then I just go off with Fitzy and do all the vocals at home. Fitzy’s always experimenting and finding new ways of placing the Mic’s around the room. We pretty much leave it all up to him. Matt will give him a fair bit of help as well.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Nope, we’re creatures of habit. If it worked the first time, do it the same again next time! We’re actually recording again early June for a mysterious split 7”. Only difference this time around is that we’re recording with someone new, as Fitzy is super busy with The Smith Street Band.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Bec Keenan played some amazing feedback/distortion solos that we used throughout the record. It’s was her first time playing guitar too. Bec is a champion. She puts up with us jamming and writing in her lounge almost weekly, so we thought, let’s get her to play on the record.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Just lots of microphones really, we used pretty much the same gear we use live. You know what guitarists are like though, they always have to bring all the redonkulous pedals that they’ve been saving up just for the right occasion. They live for that shit.
Any memorable studio moments?
It was pretty boring stuff. Mike and Lombi discovered the joys of Cavallaro & Sons in Hopkins St Footscray. They make the best Cannoli in Melbourne, if not the country. Those sort of memories last forever.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Mike and I keep trying to squeeze in our electronica disco tunes onto the records, but the other guys keep coming up with lame excuses not to put them on. Like….saying that their shit, and stuff like that. That’s why we’ve been forced into starting our side project Peak Wave. We’ve got a fair bit of interest on the Euro scene. We’ll probably be all over the summer festivals this year.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Falling Apart. We’ve got fresh newbies we’re looking forward to playing too.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Pretty similar really. A little varied in the delivery and attack, but still the same vibe. It’s just the vibe really.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
It’s surprisingly edible.
FREAK WAVE – ‘Don’t Let Me Down‘
Available now on Poison City Records.
Order on Black or Port Wine coloured vinyl [Here].