THE SMITH STREET BAND

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With the suc­cess of their 2013 EP Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams gain­ing an influx of new fol­low­ers, it’s dif­fi­cult to place Throw Me In The River as a follow-up to that release or it’s pre­de­ces­sor full-length Sun­shine And Technology. 

“I’ve never really thought about it like that,” Wil says. “We recorded Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams live in a cou­ple of days. It was all quite imme­di­ate, with recent songs all about the same topic. That was because we didn’t have time to make a record. That seems like a fun thing we can do – an album one year, then a live-recorded EP the next year when we don’t have time to make a record. I think this is the first full-length we’ve made with the band we’ve had for the past cou­ple of years, where we’ve been a four-piece. We haven’t actu­ally made a record like that. I wouldn’t con­sider it a follow-up.”
 

The the­matic ele­ments of Throw Me In The River often touch on darker ter­ri­tory, how­ever imbued by a per­spec­tive of past tense – with tri­umph win­ning out both lyri­cally and in songcraft.

“I have quite bad anx­i­ety and depres­sion, and I’ll write when I’m in a bad state as a way of deal­ing with it, like a ther­a­peu­tic kind of thing. I guess a lot of the dark­ness comes from dark times. There are a few things I might not have been that com­fort­able talk­ing about on past records – sad­ness and depres­sion – but I feel I should talk about it, because I’d like to make our music hon­est. Maybe other peo­ple can relate to it. It’s def­i­nitely darker. There are things on the record about a spe­cific break-up, so that might be a case of look­ing back. I’m older and more expe­ri­enced, so you’re writ­ing about past expe­ri­ences more rather than about going out and get­ting fucked up with your mates. There is more sad­ness on the record, but that also comes from being on tour so much and away from home. I’m some­one who needs to be alone some­times. Oth­er­wise I can be an arse­hole to every­one around me for no rea­son. I grab those chances on tour where I have ten min­utes to myself to pound some­thing into my phone or scrib­ble some­thing on a servi­ette. Some of those darker lines might come from when I’m desperate.”
 

Main­tain­ing a steady pro­lific streak, Wil man­ages to write when­ever the oppor­tu­nity arises, even under duress. “I def­i­nitely strug­gle with writ­ers’ block. I try to write every­day, a por­tion of a song, either a verse or a cho­rus. But even if I’m writ­ing some­thing, and it’s shit, it’s still good to keep up that habit so when some­thing good does come, a riff or a cho­rus idea, I can make bet­ter use of them, like stretch­ing before a game of footy. You need to have those mus­cles ready when you have that moment of inspi­ra­tion where it’s like “Fuck, I need to get these lyrics down now”. I tend to write quite mani­a­cally. A lot of the songs on the record started out as fuck­ing ten minute sto­ries with two chords under­neath them and then I’ll whit­tle them down. There was one song that was so long I split it into two things. Every idea I have I try to write down. I’m always try­ing to fig­ure out new ways to play chords, there’s always a gui­tar within arm’s reach all day. I would write as much as I did even if I wasn’t in the band. It’s my hobby as well as my job. I fuck­ing love every­thing about play­ing gui­tar,” Wil says. “I’m lucky that I enjoy it all as much as I do.”
 

Record­ing in an idyl­lic Otways hide­away in the com­mu­nity of For­rest, the band rel­ished their sur­rounds, bring­ing with them fully-realised songs to put to record. “We actu­ally did the drums before we went out to For­rest. You can do every­thing in a tem­po­rary stu­dio except drums – you need a lot of space and micro­phones. We did the drums at Sing Sing in Mel­bourne, which is a really nice stu­dio, then took those tracks out to For­rest. All the songs were writ­ten, maybe a few lyri­cal changes hap­pened. But the envi­ron­ment and amount of time we had was a mas­sive thing. You could fret over a gui­tar part for two hours, then you could just walk up a hill, look at a kan­ga­roo, then think ‘fuck, who cares?’, instead of freak­ing out at 3am in a stu­dio about a gui­tar part you know you can play, but can’t at that moment for some rea­son. Record­ing is so fuck­ing stress­ful if you let it be so fuck­ing stress­ful. It was such a beau­ti­ful space, the whole town was incred­i­ble, giv­ing us baked goods, let­ting us ride on the local fire truck. It was just crazy, it couldn’t have been a bet­ter coun­try town expe­ri­ence. I think we’ll try and record every­thing we do now in that house,” Wil says. “It was perfect.”