If you’ve been wondering why Allday hasn’t uploaded any of his home-shot, how-to, 24 Hour Discount Buffet videos to YouTube lately, it’s because Clancy’s in Mexico on the Sea Shepherd. “I wouldn’t do it without him,” he says of his good friend and “beautiful boy”, who usually films the singer-songwriter in the kitchen, whippin’ up vegan eggnog and alkaline pancakes with his own rather pancake style of humour to a breezy muzak soundtrack.
And although nobody can ever take Clancy’s place, Allday’s found a couple new friends in enduring Aussie pop duo The Veronicas to kick off his stellar new album, Starry Night Over The Phone. The track, Restless, features a soprano saxophone – one of those erstwhile cheesy instruments, like the flute, which Allday has successfully brought into the midst of this softly undulating, mid-paced diamond of an opener. “Honestly, [the sax] happened because a guy who I met is just an amazing sax player – he also plays flute, funnily. We had him play on everything, and [for this song] it just worked.” During recording, Allday discovered that OMI (of hit song Cheerleader fame) was in the studio below him, and suddenly wondered if his own newfound love for sax could be some sort of OMIsmosis.
But Allday’s humour (check out the WordArt-filled Genius Verified rip-offs he’s created to explain the meaning behind his songs) belies the sensitive, carefully assembled arrangements to his hip hop/ pop material, like the plaintive piano of What Do You Think, the sunken beauty of See You When I See You, and the way his use of simple melodic shapes repeated over different chords create subtly shifting colours.
Thematically, Allday looks at perplexing love and complicated relationships – including his own sibling relationship, which he sings about in stand-out Protection. He wrote the track about his younger brother, who struggled to find his place in their hometown of Adelaide after Allday moved to LA two years ago. Allday says that in order to write something so personal, he tries to keep to a particular adage: Write like your parents are dead. “You can’t worry about the reaction of people, otherwise you’re not going to be free to say the things you have to say,” he explains. “But the thing about Protection is there’s nothing in it that I was worried about what he’d think.”
It’s something even the most established artists grapple with, but Allday has a pragmatic approach. “I saw this thing with an underground rapper, who said ‘You don’t really have anything to say, as a rapper, until you’re 28.’ I saw that when I was 20, and I was like, ‘I don’t know, how could that be true?’ So many young people have written the best songs ever, but I do feel like for me, I wasn’t one of those brilliant kids who had all this magic perspective on stuff. My perspective is getting better as I get a bit older.”
Starry Night Over The Phone by Allday is out July 12 via ONETWO.
Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.