After shows in Newcastle and Sydney over the weekend, Melbourne’s Have/Hold will next set their sights on Bendigo, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane as they continue to launch their fantastic new EP ‘Calm Your Blood‘. To find out more about the release, Ryan from the band this week answered our On The Record questions. Expand this post to take a read of his answers whilst streaming the EP and seeing those remaining tour dates which resume later in the month.
Tell us about the release title.
‘Calm Your Blood’. I’m not really too sure how it came about. Luke was toying around with the word ‘Blood’ I think and ‘Calm Your Blood’ just got thrown out there in the rehearsal room.
Tell us about the artwork.
The artwork throughout the CD is by our singer/guitarist Luke as well as our very good friend Michael Cusack. There are a few themes that run through the EP that are kind of personified by the mouse. Things like life, death, love and change. The mouse was Luke’s idea. He found the little guy lying in the kitchen in his house in North Melbourne and I think it kind of resonated as a metaphor for what the EP is about.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
The EP is available digitally on Spotify, iTunes and our Bandcamp page (havehold.bandcamp.com). You can also pick up a CD of the EP at our shows and on Bandcamp. It’s a recycled card digipack and it comes with a free download of our cover of one of our favourite Something For Kate songs, ‘Hallways’.
Who will it be released through, and when?
It’s self-released coz we’re heaps D.I.Y. and it’s out now!
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there? / Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
We recorded with our friend Cassidy Van Bloom who we’ve known for years. He mastered our 7″ for us last year. We wanted to work with someone who really knew us, knew our sound and who we could really communicate and flesh out our ideas with. He’s really on the same wavelength as us and really knew what we were trying to achieve. We recorded most of the EP at 400 Acres, which is a studio out the back of a house in the suburbs on the fringe of Melbourne. It’s a space where we could be isolated and just really work on nailing takes, tones and so on. We were really determined to make it sound like “us” as in like how the songs sound when it’s just us in a room, playing our hearts out sort of thing so 400 Acres was awesome coz it let us really nail that sound. The rest of the EP was finished off at Wrangler Studios and Cassidy’s house in Richmond.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Not really because the EP is a combination of old songs and new songs we’ve written since the 7″ come out last year. The songs were written either by just Smithy, Luke and myself, just Luke, or the three of us, and also a song or two that was written with our old bass player Chris. When we decided to do an EP though we spent a lot of time reworking the songs, polishing them so that they worked together as a five song entity. We wanted to make sure they flowed together, had unifying themes and were really indicative of where we are at this point as a band.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
As a band we have really diverse taste in music so there’s kind of a multitude of bands/records that might be sitting at the back of our minds when we’re writing/recording that we kind of draw inspiration from. Luke is a fan of the greats, I suppose so he’d be listening to anything from Kate Bush to Tom Petty to Liars. Smithy and I have pretty similar taste in music so it’d be anything from Modern Life Is War to Adventures to The National and so on.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Yeah there was actually. I mean in terms of drums I wanted a nice natural reverb so something along the lines of the Queens of the Stone Age room sound and really washy cymbals like the last few Thursday albums. We always seems to reference Brand New in terms of sound production so their last two records come up a bit when were talking about tone and feel and stuff like that.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
All up we might’ve spent a bit over a week or two but that was spaced out. Like we’d do a day here and there, an afternoon, a weekend etc. But yeah all up around two weeks.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We were just a lot more prepared this time. Like it’s one thing to know how to play the songs well and play along with a click track but another thing to know exactly what it is you need to do to make it sound the way you want it to. We spent time working out exactly how we wanted it to sound and how we were going to achieve it. Like for the guitars and bass – really mapping out tones/gear, with drums I used a few different snare drums in different parts and a few different cymbal combinations. So yeah just being 100% prepared made it all so easy and really fun!
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Yeah last time we recorded we just did three songs so we had heaps of time to play around with the recording process and just take our time finding the sounds we wanted and everything. Whereas this time we were doing six tracks and we had everything really well mapped out prior to going into record so we were able to get what we wanted and still had time to be creative with the recording which was great.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Yeah the incredibly talented Lucy Wilson does guest vocals on ‘Monuments’. Her voice is just second to none and she really brought a lot to the song. I don’t need to tell you where it is, you’ll know it when you hear it! We’re really stoked she agreed to come in and with how it turned out. Just awesome.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Yeah there’s some keyboards in there as well as mixed percussion like tambourines and so on but yeah no mellotron or anything like that!
Any memorable studio moments?
We recorded through Summer, so I just remember it being quite hot in the room coz the air conditioner broke a few days before we got there!
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
There’s just a bonus track you can download when you buy the CD. It’s our cover of our favourite Something For Kate song ‘Hallways’. We sent it to Paul and he seemed to really like it! He seems like the nicest dude though so maybe he just didn’t wanna hurt our feelings.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
I’m keen on all the songs but in particular I’d probably say ‘Drunk Letter’ and the first song ‘They Kicked Me Out Of The Empire Mama’. They’re really fun to play. I also like playing ‘You’ll Be Smoke’ coz it’s one of those songs that kind of changes every time you play it. Sometimes it’s really moody and maudlin and sometimes it’s really a groovy and heavy kind of thing.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
It’s a lot more of a mission statement. Like the 7″ was us experimenting and testing out how we’d go in the studio and this EP is more like us saying this is Have/Hold, this is what we do.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
Just that we’re really proud of it, we worked really hard on it these last 6 – 9 months kind of thing and so we’re super stoked to finally have it out! I hope everyone likes it as much as we do. Please buy it! Haha.
HAVE/HOLD – ‘Calm Your Blood‘
Available now independently.
Grab your copy now [Here].