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A Family of Strangers is the new hard-hitting rock project for Glenn Esmond (The Butterfly Effect). During the down times between writing records with TBE, Glenn was constantly coming up with different musical ideas that never seemed to fit within the context of what the band was trying to create collectively. A Family of Strangers became the perfect vehicle for those unruly songs.

Initially there was some hesitation because, let's face it, on the whole, the history of the 'side project' concept is a very mixed bag. Despite the risks, it was decided that that the songs were too compelling and too much fun to be left aside and needed to be set free. If only for Glenn's sanity. A recording session was undertaken at Albert's studios in Sydney at the end of last year with producer Dean Belcastro with Glenn and Dean contributing all the basic tracking themselves. The resulting EP, called 'New Techniques for Beginners and Champions,' is released on November 12.

A Family of Strangers has been a fantastic opportunity for me to go back to basics and create something from the ground up. I wrote and recorded the songs, I’m promoting the music and I'm managing myself. The satisfaction of heading back to the beginning, trying some new ideas and building it up from a grassroots level is pretty immense. The idea of these songs being heard and resonating with an audience is exciting to me and so, more than anything, this debut EP is about paying dues and getting out there to people one on one and connecting.”

The live band, featuring some of Brisbane's best players, is heading out on the road around Australia in November to introduce the project to everyone and to support the forthcoming EP.

Glenn has taken the time to give us a track by track insight into the debut EP. While having a read, why not open up their MySpace page [Here] where all of the tracks are currently streaming for you to check out.

1. Lovely (The House at Number 23)

With writing, I generally always start with the music. A few years ago I was obsessed with this program called Rebirth. It features, among other things, an emulation of an old 80's TB303 bassline pattern sequencer. I wrote the intro riff of this song on rebirth and did a demo of the song but when I wrote the vocals, I discovered that the key was too high but had neglected to save the original rebirth file, (not to mention that rebirth has been discontinued as a computer program, although it exists as a iPhone app, funnily enough) so I had to take the demo synth and pitch shift it into the new key which gives it that funny sound. I kinda like that though. You don't often hear acid synth in rock music but I like the 16th note pulse it brings and it's synth/rock hybrid that doesn't sound like either Muse or The Killers. The lyrics were written before I realised what it was about. Strange how that happens. 'The House At Number 23' was the house that I lived at with the girl that the song is about. We lived there for a week before breaking up. It was that kind of relationship.

2. Don't Forget (03.03.03)
My girl and I had been in a long-distance relationship for 5 years and sometimes that shit gets hard. The lyric was written as kind of a message to her to help keep her spirits up. Like 'everything seems shitty now but keep positive, it'll get better soon.' The music has many of the elements I love in a song. A gang vocal, a Dominant 7 chord turnaround in a minor key in the verses, a big major chorus and a ninth chord at the end. Dean, the producer and drummer, came up with the idea for the drums and guitar bit in the intro and the quiet first verse which are now my favourite bits of the song. Killer drum tone too.

3. Here Without You
A simple acoustic ballad written from the point of view of guy who never really appreciated what he had until it was gone and then when he wanted it back it wasn't there any more for him to have. So there's really no other options, you have to just move on and perhaps write a song about it. It's the same old story. The guy's not me now but I've been in his shoes a few times in the past. I was going for a Coldplay / U2 thing with the interplay between the acoustic and clean electric guitars. I like how it still peaks out at the end even though there's no real big last chorus. Fun to yell my arse off live on this one.

4. Silly Love Songs
Another song about the tyrannies of distance. When my girl and I were considering moving in together and ending the long-distance part of the relationship, I was kind of having a little freak out at the idea of losing my own space and time (typical guy stuff) and so we were fighting a lot. This was my reminder to her and myself that we shouldn't be worried because I was sure I'd deal with it just fine after I had some time to get my head around it. Which I was. It began life musically as a mid-tempo 4 on the floor type song with this outrageous tapped bass delay thing and every time I'd demo it, it would get faster and faster until it ended up where it is now.

5. The Velvet Divorce (Follow)

This was one of those rare jams where I started playing a version of the intro piano riff on my bass one day completely off the top of my head at a Butterfly Effect rehearsal. Clint sung the melody and the chorus almost completely as it appears in the final version off the top of his head and within 5 minutes we had a song. We hit record and had a demo version finished. It was that quick. The other two guys thought it was a bit soft for a TBE song but I thought the potential was great. The middle section was originally this quiet drop out but I had the idea whilst jamming it that it should be this big bombastic drum fill extravaganza. Dean did an amazing job with those fills. Simple and powerful but never over played. There's something like 15 guitars in that section too. 'The Velvet Divorce' is what the break up of the state of Czechoslovakia at the end of the communist era is sometimes called. I love the image of a revolution that whilst bloodless, still results in dissolution. I have had a few relationships like this. The smiling face coupled with the stabbing hand.

6. Farewell, Mr Hooper

The bassline was the genesis for this song. I originally wrote the chord progression as an electric piano / Wurlitzer type thing over the top of the that. The chorus was not really working so I stole the outro progression and popped it in there instead. The original lyrics were inspired by seeing Leonard Cohen and just loving the wasted American, dustbowl, late night diner landscapes that he creates. It eventually ended up as a musing on life and death and taking time to smell the flowers and realising just how great everything is. The title comes from a classic episode of Sesame Street where the actor playing the shopkeeper (the eponymous Mr Hooper) died and the producers chose the opportunity to bring up the topic of death on the show. The episode, whilst a dim memory for me, was totally emotional and my first experience with the subject matter. It still sticks with me until this day.
DEBUT EP
A FAMILY OF STRANGERS
New Techniques for Beginners and Champions
AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 12TH
via MGM
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY TOUR
NOVEMBER
5th - Hard Rock Cafe, Surfers Paradise [18+]
6th - X&Y Bar, Brisbane [18+]
11th - Bended Elbow, Geelong [18+]
12th - Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne [18+]
13th - Pelly Bar, Frankston [18+]
For more information, visit
facebook.com/afamilyofstrangers
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