I Am The Agent – Speaking In Volumes

I Am The Agent are travelling down to perform MUM @ World Bar on the 8th April, Michael from the band gives us an insight on the band, the concept behind the EPs and why we should check them out this Friday.

Music Feeds: Tell us all about I Am The Agent?

I Am The Agent: I Am The Agent is something I started back in 2006 when MySpace was still popular. When I first started my University degree in music production, I needed somewhere to put my musical ideas and ‘portfolio’ style assignments so my peers could see them so I that’s where I put them.

Toward the end of 2007 I wrote three songs that I thought were really different sounding, and found a new way to play my guitar which led to countless other songs. One of those songs was on the first EP Volume One (Melodramatic Popular Song).

From there I started a band with my best friend Daniel and his brother John and we’ve been playing shows around Central Coast and Newcastle ever since the middle of 2009. We won a Newcastle band competition in 2010 and found a new bass-player (Joseph Bourke). All up we’ve played about 55 shows, and we’ve just released our second EP Volume Two to a fairly enthusiastic Newcastle crowd.

MF: Give us a rundown on the new EP Volume 2?

IATA: Volume Two is the second in a series of three EPs, made up of four songs each. It was mostly recorded across a single weekend in November, 2010 at our awesome rehearsal space in Niagara Park. We did all the recordings ourselves from tracking to editing to mastering and duplication.

The artwork is hand-made by Vanessa McCurry, with a little help from Daniel and myself. The artwork is based around rope and different types of knots, and is basically created using a large ink-stamp that she designed and then carved out of a sheet of lino.

MF: Why was the 3 EP concept decided on instead of releasing a full album?

IATA: In 2009/2010 we had enough songs for a full album, but it took a long time for us to record each of our songs and we wanted something out as soon as we could. We also try to pay for everything the band does out of money we’ve made as a band – like a self-funded hobby. Back when we started we couldn’t afford to pay for studio hire and duplication costs, so we decided to do everything ourselves. The hand-made artwork idea has worked, because it makes each CD unique (hand-made with love). We eventually decided on the 3 EP concept as an experiment really. We don’t have a manager or a label to answer to, so we can really do whatever we want at this point.

After Volume Three is finished – we’re considering doing a bundle of the three EPs so it seems like a multi-CD album or possibly just throwing them all onto one CD as a collection.

We will eventually release a full-length album with songs that are not featured on the EPs, and hopefully we’ll be able to fund it properly and go through the full professional duplication process, with plastic cases and mechanically printed artwork, etc.

MF: Talk us through the writing and recording process?

IATA: Just about every song has started out with me on an acoustic guitar in my bedroom, using the dictaphone function of my phone and/or Garage Band and/or Photo Booth and/or Pro Tools to keep track of my ideas. Once I’ve got a general idea of my guitar parts, lyrics and melody I’ll start thinking of lead lines for Daniel to play, or how I want the drums to sound and that’s when I’ll try to send demos to the other guys in the band. Then I’ll sit down one-on-one with Daniel and we’ll really work things out and make everything work.

This writing process has only changed recently for two songs that won’t even be on the EPs – where I’ve recorded every instrument myself as an experiment, but that’s another story. The majority of songs featured on the EPs all came out of a brief period of enormous inspiration – from when we first started jamming as a full band. The songs have evolved over the past year and a half, due to discovering things during improvisation in a live set, and due to our ever increasing collection of guitar effects pedals.

MF: You’re coming down for [email protected] World Bar on the 8th, what can we expect from your set?

IATA: We’re playing upstairs, and we’re playing late. The last set we played went for an hour and left us exhausted and voice-less, with various cuts and bruises – and some questionable blood stains on our equipment. We do a lot of improvisation and noise-jams when we play live – and things are a little bit more grungy and loose than on our recordings.

Last time we played at World Bar, we kind of rushed our set so we could see La Dispute play at the Annandale (which we missed, gosh-darn-it).

This time we aim to make up for that a little bit.  You will definitely be rewarded for staying out late, and climbing those stairs.

MF: What lies ahead this year now for I Am The Agent?

IATA: After we wrap up these couple of launch shows for Volume Two, we’ll hopefully be planning our first tour of the East Coast. We also aim to get into the studio and use some of our band competition winnings to record Volume Three, which should be really good – since it has a couple more of the ‘crowd favourite’ songs planned for its track-listing.

MF: What would be the first song you’d put onto a mixtape?

IATA: The first track on the Volume Two is Blood Brothers, which was one of the more popular songs when we were playing in the band-competition. It was written for a friend of mine and the main riff kinda sounds like the break down from a Thrice song called The Messanger – which is technically by accident, but a few people have picked up on that.

It’s a quick listen, one of our ‘heavier’ songs, simple repetitive lyrics and guitar parts, but also uses some really interesting textures, especially about halfway through the track.

I Am The Agent play [email protected] Bar this Friday night along with Bang Bang Boss Kelly.

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