“Chevelle still lives in Portland, Chris is moving to Los Angeles and Jordan and I both live near Phoenix,” explains Powell, calling from his home during some brief touring downtime. “To get from Portland to Phoenix is a two or three-day drive, so it makes it all really hard to properly practice. Sometimes when we’re playing shows, that’s the only time we actually see one another. We’ve taken to flying out to our dates a day early so we at least have a chance to go over what we’re going to play. It’s not easy – we’re all in our own world – but there are times where we just rock up and go for it; and sometimes it’s more fun that way. Obviously, I don’t get to see the rest of them as much as I used to, so it’s nice to all fly to the same place.”
May last year saw the release of Darling… It’s Too Late, the band’s second studio album. Since then, the band have hit the road fairly extensively, taking the van across their native land and flying out to select headlining dates. A constant companion in their touring of late has been The Gooch Palms, the Novocastrian garage-rock duo that relocated to Los Angeles in 2015. According to Powell, the band were told incessantly that they should team up – and that they did, resulting in a tour poster in which all five collective band members were photoshopped to look like the Power Rangers.
“We found out about those guys when we last came to Australia,” explains Powell. “It’s funny – we came all the way to Australia, and they were over in L.A. at that point. All the people we were meeting in Australia were telling us that we needed to hook up with these guys – I mean, they were in our part of the world; it only made sense. When we got back, we ended up being on the same bill for a couple of shows. We immediately became friends – they’re super cool – and we asked them to come out on tour with us because we knew it would be so much more fun if we had them around. It was awesome – I think that our two bands are a really good match. We’re not exactly the same musically, but we’re close enough that it makes sense. We’re both fun rock & roll bands, and when we get together we play fun rock & roll shows – it’s pretty simple.”
With touring in full swing since the release of Darling… It’s Too Late, it would have been understandable if the band were primarily focused on simply touring that record until the cycle ran its course. On the contrary, however: the band is striking while the iron is hot, and Powell is already hard at work on what will be album number three.
“I’ve been at it for most of this year – I’ve been writing and recording demos, and hopefully we’ll be recording properly once we get back from Australia. We were just talking today, trying to figure out how we’re going to do it – we have to get together and learn the new songs and we wanna play them live. We’re trying to work out where we wanna record, too, so it’s all still coming together. It’s probably too early to say what it’s going to be like, but I’m already feeling really good about it. I think it’s going to be a cool album – I’m definitely sensing it’s going to be quite different from our other albums.”
Last month saw the band return to Australia for a run of headlining dates. An appearance at Sound of The Suburbs in Cronulla highlighted their stay, where they shared the stage with the likes of DZ Deathrays, Alex Lahey and Big White. Given the overwhelmingly positive experience of their last tour, Powell and co were itching to return.
“It was insane,” says Powell of their previous visit. “Originally, we were just hit up through Facebook to see if we might be keen. It was a no-brainer for us – we were like ‘of course!’ The thing is, though, we’ve always gotten messages from randoms wanting us to play in weird cities. We kinda go along with it, but then realise it’s not happening. That’s kind of what we thought was gonna happen with Australia… Then the flight tickets came and before you knew it, we were in Australia. It was such a trip. The guys bringing us out ended up being super rad, and all the shows that we played were with such stoked audiences.”
Darling… It’s Too Late is out now via Create/Control and Suicide Squeeze. For more details, head to guantanamobaywatch.bandcamp.com.