Ahead of the release, we spoke to the band about their creative processes.
Pop Filter is its own unique beast, serving as a side project from members of The Ocean Party, Cool Sounds and Snowy Band. Their first material in three years, CONO, is out now, and was made in a makeshift studio, the band fuelled by their own creativity as well as hot chips.
Thanks for taking the time! It’s been a few years since Donkey Gully Road, when and where did writing for CONO begin?
We began writing and recording in Febuary of 2022 when Mark “Crowman” Rogers was in Melbourne visiting, over the next few months we would get together with whoever in the band was available and begin working on and developing songs, recording as we went.
This all took place in the small rehearsal space Lachlan built at the back of his workshop in Coburg North.
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What does a (for lack of a better word) normal writing session look like for Pop Filter?
There wouldn’t be a specific normal writing session but maybe a few different approaches we fall into. As we have all played music with each other for a long time we have developed certain habits and ways of working with songs depending on who has contributed the bones of the song.
For example if Lachlan brings some guitar chords in, he would likely have a drum idea in mind already and we would build it up from there. A lot of the time Jordan brings a structured song with chords written out and we work form there. All of us have approaches to writing music and making demos and how we collaborate always changes accordingly. I (Curtis) use Reaper and we used my laptop for tracking CONO, Snowy mixes using Ableton. We’ve got a pretty basic and standard collection of microphones we have accumulated over the years, nothing too flashy and a bunch of SM58s. I think we mostly used a Roland Octa capture for an interface.
How complete are the songs when you start recording?
As mentioned before this really depends on who’s bringing the songs, from one end Jordan often contributes songs that are structured and fully developed sometimes we might just have a bassline or something basic to work with. I think its great having different approaches as the process gives different results, making for a more diverse album. That said, we definitely did write as we recorded/recorded as we wrote with some of the songs on the album.
How do you think the isolated and cramped nature of your makeshift studio influenced the album?
Unfortunately due to all manner of things we never really recorded this album with all of us present in the “studio” at one time, so it wasn’t really that cramped. I’m not so sure that the cramped studio itself influenced the album as much as the duration of time it took to make and us not all being together for every session did.
And what about the timeline, how did the additional time, albeit sometimes scattered with whoever was available, ultimately influence the album?
I think one really cool thing about having made the album over such a long period of time (long for us at least, usually we get it all done in 3 or 4 days), was that we didn’t really hear the finished product collectively until it was close to being finished. I think we all felt like the album was all over the place but it was cool to hear it all come together, sounding consistent but still interesting. Being that not everyone was always present when recording/writing, I think it may have given the album some sparseness it may not [have] had otherwise.
Where does Pop Filter fit into your own musical world?
I think Pop filter now sits in this really interesting place for all of us where we can experiment and have lots of fun collaborating and writing music together. None of us feels limited or worried by how the album will be received. We are also all really comfortable with each other and wouldn’t feel embarrassed to try anything when writing or recording, I think it’s a place where all our musical influences can come through.
Finally, after making CONO, where is the spot for hot chips?
Keep up with Pop Filter here.