In writing Quiet Ferocity, you apparently derived inspiration from Hemingway’s essay How to Write Better – did you try his “write drunk, edit sober” lesson? What about the article influenced you most?
I’ve tried all things while writing: drunk, stoned, late at night, all sorts. For me what really worked – and something I got from his essay – was starting at a set time in the morning after exercise. Sounds boring, but it really worked. It stopped me over-thinking, and also forced me into a routine that eventually got me working clearer and longer. It also got me into a mindset that less romanticised the idea of writing, but made it a job that I looked forward too. It also became a thing I could turn off at the end of the day, so I could relax, even if I didn’t necessarily get something amazing done that day. It turned it more into a building of ideas, as opposed to an ‘everything has to be sick right now’ thing.
What are you playing at end-of-day downtime?
I’m listening to Parallel Dance Ensemble. I just stumbled upon them and can’t stop listening. I’ve been listening to a lot of Fouk, a cool house duo from Holland. Lots of Little Dragon, Lindstrom, YACHT, and Chairlift.
You had roughly 25 songs on a long list before narrowing it down to Quiet Ferocity’s 10 – are the discarded ideas whole, complete songs, or did you pick elements from here?
I did three listening parties for the band and our manager. Everyone would come to the studio and sit on the couch with beers. I’d put some sh-tty disco balls and lights around too, because just listening under a bright light would be weird. Anyway, I always love doing these, but it’s so f-cking nerve-wracking too, since you just want everyone to like it all, but you can’t win every time. Also it’s interesting how you can hear the songs differently once someone else is listening. We picked favourites from each listening party, and eventually we had the album.
The album artwork is interesting – is there a ferocity in geometry? What inspired that arrangement of objects?
A friend sent me some cool photos of some art galleries. [They were] really visually pleasing, and seemed to match the aesthetic of the album. I guess it speaks to the idea that behind regiment or static exteriors, there’s a whole other world bubbling away.
A Facebook post mentioned y’all were “thinking of changing [your] rider to just 10 bags of goon – and a female English backpacker – and a crocodile” – how successful have you been in implementing these changes? Any other last-minute rider necessities?
We used to be really into putting little games and cards and stuff on the rider. At the moment it’s just a bunch of booze and cheese. Might be time to mix it up again. Jesus, one day maybe a ping pong table, if we’re allowed.
Speaking of which, what can we expect from the upcoming tour?
This album’s pretty condensed arrangement-wise, so we’ve actually had a really good time turning it into a live set. We’re playing with a few new ideas too, a different stage plan, some props, and we’re gonna go all out with some cool lights. A friend of mine has been designing a strobe light for my guitar for ages now, hopefully he’ll get his bloody sh-t together and finish it this time.
Quiet Ferocity is out independently on July 7.