Music Interview: World’s End Press
Melbourne-based three-piece, World’s End Press are heading around Australia in support of their latest EP. Frontman John Parkinson talks to us:
Hi John and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. Would you say that your new EP, Tall Stories, is a straight evolution from your previous releases or a completely separate beast that doesn’t share much in common with its predecessors?
I would say this time round we have gone for something that is hinting more at clubs with a pulse so it can be considered more of a dance record. We can’t seem to shake the pop sensibility that we have always had but I guess in terms of where we go to see music, Tom (Gould), Rhys (Richards) and I go to more dance festivals like Let Them Eat Cake and Chihuahua Town where it is a lot different to where we started. It is an evolution I suppose because we are still carrying over things that we used to be into but it is always developing on what you had before so it’s quite different.
In working on your latest EP, did you take any leads from what is happening globally in the music scene and trends from certain genres or artists?
Not really. Personally when I am in writing mode, I have my head in the sand a little bit. It is one thing to listen to music, take it all in and it is another thing entirely to produce and create. Usually in that creative mode, you live in a bit of a vacuum. I never compare the tracks as a reference to check the mix or anything when I am working on songs. I just try and get the thing done and then have a break from the creative mode and take in some new music. I suppose I was drawing on music I heard when I was much younger. I was as a teenager really into bands like Underworld and of late I have just seen a lot of dance music out and about.
In regards to your processes, can you describe that moment when inspiration strikes and you enter your creative zone?
Well it is something that is ongoing, part of my daily life, the actual making of music. There are some days it feels like a complete waste, it is useless and I am going nowhere. Then the next day just as you are ready to throw in the towel, it is just the most pleasure you can possibly have and it is usually in those moments that you get the feeling that you are creating something that is good and worthwhile but it inspiration doesn’t really work like clockwork, it just takes you by surprise.
What does your new material say about the stage you are at in your life at the moment?
Interesting question. I suppose the role music plays for me in my life at the moment is a form of escapism because we all have to do things to pay the rent and do stuff we don’t want to do and the actual process of making music is a free terrain with infinite possibilities, so I suppose what it is saying about my life is a different question entirely, it is a reflection of personal relationships and personal tendencies I have.
Were there any weird and wonderful experiences that you had which helped shaped some of the lyrical content for your new tracks?
It’s an interesting one with the lyrics because I am not the person who walks around with a journal and writes down observations and keeps things back for great lyrics. A lot of the words in the songs are put there just for their sounds really, you know, mumble into the microphone and find a way to chisel out actual words and meaning from things that phonetically sound good and match the music.
I would say that the experiences I have find their way into the music but in more of an abstract sense. I invest a lot of attention into the production. To me a tone in a synthesizer has just as much expression as a word and just as much of an evocative quality and is less literal which is a good thing.
There is a certain anthem quality about your songs, is this something you try to achieve from the outset or quite simply create solid dance tracks that you yourself would like to hear in clubs?
Well I love a singalong and as I was saying before about not being able to shake the pop singalong aspect of our music, some of the most fun I’ve had recently was watching The Stone Roses at Festival Hall and it had been ages since I had seen a band where I could belt out the versus in a live context. That felt really good to be arm-in-arm with your mates just singing and loudly and as obnoxiously as you can and was great to connect like that so I guess that is why intuitively there is choruses in our music for that reason.
Was there a greater sense of confidence in recording and producing this EP with it being you’re fourth release?
Yeah, what is on the EP is the material that passes that idea stage and that gives you conviction because you have chosen these songs for a reason, so it is full of confidence and pleasure as it is a fun process.
On a technical level, what’s in the kit?
Well I try and use all outboard sounds. Looking at my synthesizers right now, I have a Yamaha DX7, Sequential Circuits Prophet 8, Moog Minitaur, Korg drum machine and it is all passed through a beautiful pre amp our sound guy has made for us. We went out to Altona and picked up this organ with features on one of the tracks, Love Tears, a big heavy organ with these amazing bass pedals.
You always have such vibrant video clips, is this something you directly have a hand in or is it a case of conveying your ideas to film directors and they materialise the concepts in your mind?
I’d say in most cases the directors we work with have taken the idea on and it has been a process where the band, on the day, gets filmed and it has always been up until this new film clip, the vision of the directors. The video clip we have done for Tall Stories has much more of a dialogue between Alex Baden and myself. My girlfriend is a contemporary dancer so I am involved in the contemporary dance community by proxy so I managed to involve lots of her friends who all did solo’s for the film clip. Looking for a location for the film clip was a process Alex and I went through so we were much more involved in this film clip and it felt really good to do it this way.
You are about to hit the road again. Do you find touring to be inspirational whereby it helps you write and create more material or are you so focused on the task at hand that writing and creating new material takes a back seat?
I love the feeling of being up in a plane. There are a lot parts of touring that are boring like waiting for sound check so there is a lot of wasted time on tours. Recently I have been really conscious of that and I am really prepared for that so I bring books and stuff that will stimulate the mind as things get a bit dull and blurry until the moment you play which is awesome fun. I always use the time when I am up in a plane to write stuff down while flying through the clouds, it’s crazy sitting in a metal tin looking down at the earth.
What has been one of your most memorable gigs to date and why?
I would say Meredith and Golden Plains, those ones are always so much fun. It is a brilliant atmosphere and there is so much love. A recent one which we have done that was new territory for us which was basically a bush rave called Chihuahua Town and it is in its second year. It was new terrain for us because it was a rave and we were the only band playing in a weekend full of DJs so we were nervous to see how that translated but it worked out for us and was a great feeling at the end.
Check out the Facebook event page for more details of the band’s upcoming tour.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.