In my opinion The Laurels are one of those Sydney bands that have got oodles of chutzpa, they stick to their sound, confident in their own ability. Having debuted their live show almost six years ago, we can finally get our mits on their first EP Mesozoic.
The question is how do they manage time to write music when the reality is they’re just so damn busy? Collectively they’ve played in bands such as The Dolly Rocker Movement, The Astral Kaleidoscope, The Black Ryder, Silver Moon and the Holy Soul. All hard working, respected Sydney outfits – The Laurels are no different – and now it’s their turn in the spotlight.
Some might say waiting such a long time to put out your first major release is damaging for a band, but not when you’re The Laurels; they’re not about to rush things. As Music Feeds discovered when chatting to Piers Cornelius, these guys aren’t interested in being part of a scene where bands come and go. The Laurels are no passing fad and the proof will be in the pudding – their debut effort Mesozoic – six brand new songs that you’ll be hearing exclusively for the first time this week on Music Feeds before the EP is released this Friday July 8.
Music Feeds: You guys have played in quite a number of other bands and now The Laurels are finally releasing their own EP. Why the long wait?
Piers Cornelius: I think because we played around quite a lot and in all those bands it made things hard and we did have a bit of financial trouble with making a record as The Laurels. We really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t regret any of the recordings – that and we still owed a lot of money to the guy that produced us. We’ve noticed a lot of bands have changed their sound over their formative years, so I guess we wanted to show we could come out with consistent sounding stuff, instead of jumping around all over the place.
MF: Did you ever think about self-producing your record?
PC: It probably would have been quite hard because we have a pretty basic set up, which we record all our demos on. We’re pretty lucky one of our friends, John Hunter – who plays in the Holy Soul with Kate our drummer, offered to record us for free in his studio, which meant we could record whenever we could find time and money. The majority of the songs on Mesozoic were recorded at very different times and, as it’s turned out, we’ve been able to do things in between commitments. The thought of recording at home is quite daunting, you know waking up housemates and that sort of thing wasn’t hugely appealing.
MF: You’ve named your debut EP Mesozoic, a particularly momentous period in geological time; explain the reason for this.
PC: We went through a whole list and it’s actually the name of a song that we have that we’ll probably record at a later date that doesn’t feature on this album. We all sort of liked the sound of the word and how it looks, you can take a lot of meanings from it – tectonic activity occurring again and again over a long period, we’re all into repetition and history repeating that sort of thing.
Music Feeds: To this day, how long would it have been since you played your first show as The Laurels?
PC: Just after I moved to Sydney, so it would have been about five years ago now. So we’ve been playing around for a bit. We played our first show at the Annandale supporting a band from Perth. When we got to the show there were actually more people there to see us, so they switched the bill around and we ended up playing the headline spot. It was kind of embarrassing but definitely a memorable first gig. I seem to remember snapping the neck of one of my guitars…
MF: You guys have supported some bands that I’m guessing might be heroes of yours: from Swervedriver to Low and more recent guitar bands like A Place To Bury Strangers. How do you hope to be a part of this guitar revival; does it piss you off being labelled as shoegaze revivalists or do you wear that label with pride?
PC: I guess we were really lucky to play with those bands because we all really love them a lot. I’m not sure about our sound; a few years ago we were more conscious of trying to do the same sort of stuff as the bands we liked. Although over the past couple of years we’ve expanded our musical tastes, we’re happy to fit in wherever we fit in, we’re not really as conscious in trying to sound like another band anymore. We really love Low and we were a bit embarrassed to play with them because their music feels like a kind of reaction against the sort of music we play, but we really love them and it was an amazing experience. When we get compared to a lot of those loud guitar bands it’s probably because we’re just trying to play louder than each other on stage so we can hear ourselves. It is nice to have people telling us that we remind them of certain bands. I guess we would like to sound like The Laurels, but sometimes your influences do come out and show themselves.
MF: When describing your music one could be forgiven for name checking a record like Loveless but are there other less obvious influences forming this record? Tell me what records you were listening to when you wrote Mesozoic.
PC: All those songs were written maybe one or two, some even three years apart, so I guess we were listening to heaps of different albums. When we first started writing songs we were more into The Beatles and The Birds, that kind of laid back, harmony based, chiming guitar sort of music. When we first started playing thought, we were really into Black Angels Passover when it came out and that was really heavy, so I guess we listened to a lot of stuff really. You know stuff like Elevators, Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground…
MF: You must be excited about releasing the record this week. How has the process been; you guys have done a couple of 7 inches to date; how has putting together something in longer form been?
PC: We have been a bit stressed thinking about how we would release the EP. I mean, it’s been almost two years since a lot of the recordings on the EP were done. It was really fun to make though and we’re really looking forward to recording another one. Our friend has set up a label – it doesn’t actually have a name yet – but as soon as they do it will be out on that distributed through Other Tongues.
EP Launch Tour dates:
Friday July 8th, The Lansdowne, Sydney w/ Sounds Like Sunset, Kill City Creeps and Ghastly Spats
Saturday July 9th, Repressed Records, Newtown
Saturday July 16th, The Workers Club, Fitzroy