Good Times With Eagle And The Worm

Recording an album in a bedroom/ home studio featuring eight plus musicians sounds like a big mission to me personally. When chatting to Jarrad Brown from Eagle And The Worm about recording the album, GoodTimes I was expecting to get at least a little bit of a whinge about the trials and tribulations of being in an 8 piece indie band. But Brown sounds very happy with the processes and the end result of the band’s debut LP. Upon hearing the new single Too Young, I can understand why he’s happy. The Beach Boys-esque single follows the upbeat tracks Futureman and triple j hit All I Know. All 3 tracks feature on the new album which has just hit the shelves but if what we’ve heard  thus far is anything to go by, GoodTimes won’t be staying on the shelves for too long…

Music Feeds: Eagle and The Worm are made up of such a large group of musicians who all seem to have other really good projects going at the same time, whether it be solo careers or playing in other bands, how did you all come to start playing together? How does the song writing work in such a large group?

Jarrad: Well, it is more often than not the case that people in bands play in other bands. Most people I know in bands, play in 1, 2, or 3 other bands, it’s just generally the case that one is more well known than the others. People ask me this question a lot, but from my perspective, it is the norm to play in more than one band. Everyone in Eagle And The Worm was friends or friends of friends, but it wasn’t until our first full band jam that everyone got to know each other, I pulled the band together out of my mates, so I was the link in the chain to start off with. The songs on the first were written by me, before we had done a show. You’re right, writing songs with 8 people throwing in ideas would be tough.

MF: How do you tour a 9 piece band? I would imagine flying is out of the question but I also can’t see you guys squeezing 9 people and all of your gear into a 12 seater van, to be honest it blows my mind a little bit.

J: We did a few shows as a 9 piece, but Ben, our then synth player, was pretty busy writing an original symphony arrangement for 36 players. So we let him go do that, and stuck with the 8 piece. Flying is the only way. The whole money argument starts to become redundant when you drive because every major city is so far apart in Australia, you waste 2 whole days driving to and from a gig if you tour in the car. We fly. Its a bit more dollars on the band account, but saves dollars on the life account. We borrow backline everywhere we go, got a few tricks up our sleeves to save cash etc.

MF: Having a horn section to record and tour with seems like a bit of a luxury for a musician, when and why did you decide to add the horn section to the band?

J: Um…yeah….I grew up playing with horn sections, studying jazz, playing in ska bands, and swing bands. I can’t hack to much guitar. Need to balance it out with other things. The horn section of Eagle And The Worm is an integral thing, especially for this album. The album and the show was built around the idea of a bigger band, full horn section. I love all those bigger pop bands from 60s and 70s that had horns etc. The E street band, Bowies bands…. they all had horns. No one does it anymore.

MF: Who were the sort of bands you listened to as a teenager? What influence has it had on you?

J: I listened to my bros record collection- when I was 13, he was 19, and listen to Blood Suger Sex Magik, Tom Petty, Hendrix, Nirvan, Guns n Roses…and lots of America. I still love all that music. Its my childhood. Mum and dad had shit record collections, but Travis my bro had a real good one.

MF: How has it changed from what you listen to now?

J: It has all changed now. It has changed for everyone. Like Brain Eno said “all music is now”…every piece of music ever recorded is basically one click away if you want it. It is scary. I don’t go hunting much. I tend to stumble across stuff as I go. A lot of people show me new music, or burn me discs, or say dude check this out. That is how listening to music goes for me at the moment.

MF: The band have a reputation for being all about parties and good times, excuse the pun, but the latest single is more chilled with a Beach Boys vibe, what kind of stuff can listeners expect from the new album?

J: It’s a bedroom made record, so like most bedroom albums, there are a lot of different sounds. It’s a fun way of recording. In the big Studio you have a huge filter (the studio and the engineer/producer). But at home, you don’t have that, you can just keep saying YES and layering more and more, or not worry about the song going for 10 minutes etc….

It’s a different process, you kind of have more control, but less control of self editing. You have to be a really good self editor to do a record at home, or things can get out of hand. I spent a lot of time being objective and questioning my own ideas, re writing songs a number of times, just to see…what could happen.

MF: The cover art for the new album is pretty crazy with the animals partying on it, who came up with that?

J: I am so into the Eagle And The Worm GoodTimes artwork. I wanted something that was really fun and handmade, so I decided on illustration as a good format to communicate those ideas. I met our Artists Tony and Allen Jackson via an art forum on the internet where I was posting up ideas for Eagle And The Worm , they are based in Philadelphia, and are very talented people. They have done work for Ween, Pavement and Black Keys. Tony heard our music and got in touch straight away.

MF: It sounds like you guy recorded the album on a shoestring budget with the help of a lot of friends. If you were given $100,00 to record the album again, would you do anything differently?

J: GoodTimes is done. The key to making albums, is making albums. Know what I mean? Money doesn’t dictate the quality of art, and it never will. People can do anything, the budget for our record was standard for most independent artists. I had a few pennies saved up to pay for some studio hire here and there, Steve Schram helped out with some sweet deals for me.

MF: Have you recorded any other bands in your home studio, or is just Eagle And The Worm so far?

J: Not really, I don’t have a real interest in recording other people. I spend most of my time experimenting with my own music. Just writing, recording, and whatever else comes out. There is a certain sense of freedom doing that. You can’t get that trying to record other people’s music. It is a different art, a science as well.

I work with Steve Schram, he does most of my mixes, and I’m really happy with that at the moment, he is happy with that. He is a talented mofo. Steve has got some amazing ears, and great taste. Creatively he is the last stop on the line before the song sounds like it should.

MF: You’ve got your album launches coming up in Sydney and Melbourne, what are the next plans after that?

J: I guess we will just keep doing our thing. The most important thing for me is to get people to hear our record, and play shows that connect with people. I think the album is a vehicle for that.

As well as doing a national album tour in August/September, we will be planning some summer shows and releases focusing on some regional places. I want to see how people in smaller communities are connecting with live music. Australia has a lot of opportunities for bands to connect with smaller regional communities. I’m looking forward to that.

Eagle And The Worm are launching Goodtimes at Cherry Bar in Melbourne on Thursday 9th June the album is out now through Cotillion Records.

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