Latest: New Muse Album Will Deal With World War III And More

Children Collide – A Monument-al Year

Written by Marc Zanotti on 23rd July, 2012

Image for Children Collide – A Monument-al Year

A new single, a new record, a 16-date Australian tour, a change of drummers, two more singles and another upcoming 25-stop national road trip: it’s been a monument-al 2012 for Children Collide so far. In addition to all the band-related adventure, 2012 has also seen Children Collides’s guitarist and vocalist Johnny Mackay make the personal journey to relocate to New York.

Crossing the equator and setting up home in a land far away from the rest of the band might not seem like the most conducive move for an act as currently active as Children Collide, but as Mackay explains, the change of scene was quintessential for the sake of musical expansion.

“I remember the first time I went to Melbourne: Heath (Crawley) and I hitchhiked down there…and it just felt like home. It felt like the place I needed to be at the time…and I get the same feeling every time I go to New York,” compares Mackay.

“(New York’s music scene is) quick to innovate and accept innovations … not a lot of places are like that really when it comes to music; it’s more about emulation all the time. I’d personally rather surround myself with people enjoying weird and new things.”

For Children Collide new things include the band’s latest single lifted from their recently released third studio LP Monument. With a self-described ‘weird’ vocal during the title-invoking chorus line and an unlikely musical influence, Praying for Sunshine represents the artistic transformation Mackay continually seeks.

“(For) the song I had like about five or six things open that I was listening to at the time. I was tying to combine the feeling of a bunch of different things: everything from Simple Mind to Jack Ladder, and there was all kinds of stuff in there that I was kind of mucking around with.”

“The guy who wrote Umbrella (performed by Rihanna) used an Apple loop for the drum beat the whole way through. He must of just thought it sounded good in the final mix and didn’t bother replacing it,” Mackay continues, “I thought it’d be cheeky to try and write a song with the same loop and we did leave it in there for little bit as well, but it’s mostly Ryan (Caesar) playing.”

Behind songs like Praying for Sunshine, Black Lemon and Summer Assassin, Children Collide have expanded the possibilities of their music while still remaining embedded in the band’s now established rock-a-delic sound. However, Mackay is quick to dimiss any notions of maturing as a songwriter to explain Children Collide’s sonic development, instead attributing any shifts in direction to his previously mentioned desire to innovate as opposed to emulate.

“We just never really want to write the same song twice…so we’ll always explore songs from different angles.”

“I guess the thing with this album [Monument] is that we knew it was going to probably be a bit of a shock to some people’s ears. It’s a bit more, maybe, sophisticated than our earlier stuff and it’s a bit less obvious. Some of the songs are completely groove based whereas we’ve always had these songs with these big choruses that kick in.”

“And we might go back to that or…the next album might be three-chord punk songs, I don’t know. But we don’t ever really want to write the same song twice and make the same album twice, so it’s all about keeping it interesting for us.”

“I think all the bands I’ve ever liked have changed over time and evolved. Whether you like it or not they’re at least exploring and I think that’s the essence of what an artist is: it’s an explorer whether that’s inwards or upwards,” Mackay muses.

Aside from representing Mackay’s desire for musical exploration via song structure and instrumentation, Monument also stands as a testament to Mackay’s devotion to lyricism. Prussian Blue embodies both the darker themes found throughout Monument and Mackay’s propensity for subtle levity, a tendency that Mackay himself has noted as often being missed by listeners.

Paying homage to both Phil Collins and Rowland Howard with the opening line, ‘I’ve been contemplating su-su-sussudio’, Prussian Blue’s humours intro quickly gives way to more weighty matters.

“I wrote that line before the song and then I came up with the groove when I was jamming around and… I was flicking through my lyrics and I have kind of all these one liners written down… And that just stood out to me and immediately came to me and I started singing over it and it felt like a real revelation,” Mackay recalls.

“It was also around the time of the Fukushima disaster and Prussian blue is a dye they inject into people that have had radioactive poisoning and helps release the toxins out of the body.”

“So that’s why I called it (Prussian Blue) and also I guess I was referencing other musicians… I’m tying to talk about music being a catharsis and I was trying to flush out some weird negative craziness out of myself at the time. Music seems to do that but it also seems to fill you back up with it again, I’m not sure how that works.”

Following suit is Monument’s closing song Tired Eyes, where once again Mackay’s talent for dense storytelling is on display, overlaid against the backdrop of expansive guitars and galactic settings.

“That song started out as a lullaby and then…as I went along I sort of turned it into this song about euthanasia.”

“I was imagining this couple, old couple that were very much in love and one of them was terribly ill and wanted to pull the plug and the other had to pull the plug. The one staying alive is singing to the one that is dying, saying, ‘let me know what it’s like when you get to the other side’.”

“David Walsh has got a euthanasia machine (on display at MONA, Tasmania)… It’s a really intense experience, I actually went and saw it after I had written the song. I’d really like to do a video actually and just have a couple using this suicide machine,” reveals Mackay.

A more cheerful video concept is that of recent single Cherries. Shot during Children Collide’s Sword to a Gunfight Tour, which took place over March and April of this year, Cherries music clip is comprised of photos taken by fans during the band’s live performances.

“We didn’t end up using it, but I spent that whole tour also taking photos of the crowd every night. That was really fun coz’ I’d take a photo of the crowd and then later on in the week I’d flick through them and I’d zoom in on people’s faces, and they (pull) some hilarious faces when they’re screaming out of the crowd at you.”

The Sword to a Gunfight Tour also represents the final go-around with drummer Ryan Caesar. Having released an official statement to inform fans of the impending split, Children Collide have since replaced Caesar with the services of skins-man Mitch McGregor:

“It’s really exciting; Heath and I are really happy about it and very excited and feel a sense of rebirth I guess. Mitch is just a really easygoing down-to-earth happy dude. We’ve had some good jams and we’ve done two shows with him that have been four songs. That went well, so I guess that’s a good start.”

McGregor marks the fifth drummer in the band’s seven-year career. Careful not to impugn the roles of drummers past, Mackay admits that the stress of parting ways with a bandmate has lessened with each departure.

“I think it’s gotten easier every time… not to reduce or lay down the role our previous drummers have played; they’ve all been great in their own ways and then we part ways for different reasons as well, very different reasons each time,” Mackay prudently considers.

“But I think it does sort of get easier as we’ve gone through it; I mean every time I talk about it I just can’t not think of Spinal Tap.”

McGregor will have plenty of time to become better acquainted with his new band during Children Collide’s upcoming national album tour. The 25-date Monument Tour will take Children Collide through capital cities and regional areas alike. Although those native to each environment may consider themselves different from their urban or regional counterparts, Mackay assures that when it comes to crowd reaction – location has little to do with anything.

“It’s been really random over tours, like we’ve done shows that have been really violent and then we’ve gone back to that same town and it’s been the best crowd ever and vise versa; you can never really tell.”

“The weirdest thing that happened on the last tour was in Coffs Harbor where I was leaning down over the stage and… I’ll get someone from the crowd to help me and be a part of the song, so I grab their hand.”

“While I was doing that I felt a finger go up my ass and I turned around and this kind of bogan dude was kind of grinning at me so I tried to kick him and then jumped back on stage.”

“Weird stuff like that happens a bit actually, but you can never tell where and when it’s going to happen.”

Monument by Children Collide is out now.

Watch: Children Collide – Praying For Sunshine

Watch: Children Collide – Cherries

Children Collide – Monument Tour – Dates

Thursday 2nd August
Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Friday 3rd August
Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Friday 4rd August
Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Wednesday 8th August
Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849
Venuetix: http://www.venuetix.com.au / 8th 8225 8888

Wednesday 9th August
Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849
Venuetix: http://www.venuetix.com.au / 8th 8225 8888

Friday 10th August
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
The Corner Hotel: http://www.cornerhotel.com / 03 9427 9198 / Venue Box Office

Friday 11th August
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
The Corner Hotel: http://www.cornerhotel.com / 03 9427 9198 / Venue Box Office

Wednesday 15th August
The Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849
The Republic Bar: http://www.republicbar.com / 03 6234 6954 / Venue Box Office

Wednesday 16th August
The Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849
The Republic Bar: http://www.republicbar.com / 03 6234 6954 / Venue Box Office

Friday 17th August
The Standard, Sydney NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Friday 18th August
The Standard, Sydney NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix: http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Wednesday 22nd August
Lismore University Bar, Lismore NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Bigtix: http://www.bigtix.com.au / 02 4968 39th3

Thursday 23rd August
The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba QLD
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Friday 24th August
The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Friday 25th August
The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Sunday 26th August
The Hotel Great Northern, Byron Bay NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Wednesday 29th August
The Stro (UNE Armidale Uni), Armidale NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Bigtix: http://www.bigtix.com.au / 02 4968 39th3

Thursday 30th August
The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Friday 31st August
The Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Saturday 1st September
Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Bigtix: http://www.bigtix.com.au / 02 4968 39th3

Sunday 2nd September
Zierholz, Canberra ACT
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Wednesday 5th September
The Crow Bar, Wagga Wagga NSW

Thursday 6th September
The G (CSU Uni), Albury NSW
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Tickets via: CSU Wagga Wagga

Friday 7th September
Yahoo Bar, Shepparton VIC
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545

Saturday 8th September
The Bended Elbow, Geelong VIC
Tickets via: Oztix: http://childrencollide.oztix.com.au / 1300 762 545
Moshtix http://www.moshtix.com.au / 1300 438 849

Read More

Related Media

Join Music Feeds on Facebook

Latest Features

Around the web