– 5 March 2013 –
They scored a hit with last year’s single “Caress Your Soul” , and now Sydney band Sticky Fingers have just dropped their debut record of the same name. We chatted to the keys player, Daz, about the process of crafting the record.
You guys had a hit last year with ‘Caress Your Soul’, did you have any idea it was going blow up like that?
We were quietly confident that it would get some Jplay but we never expected it to get added to high rotation and make 61 on the hottest 100. When we were jamming on the track in the garage, the song was originally a lot slower without lyrics in the chorus – off comes Paddy from the loo and he writes the main hook which gives the song its more pop appeal.
There’s a heap of different genres bouncing around within your music, who do think stands out as being the biggest influence on your sound?
Yeah we’ve definitely got a bunch of different genres bouncing around so I guess it’s hard to draw it down to one influence. I guess our main influences would be Pink Floyd, Gorillaz, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Cold Chisel, You Am I, The Chilli Peppers, but if I had to draw it down to one then I think I couldn’t get away without mentioning local Sydney reggae legends King Tide. We played a lot of shows supporting those cats when we were starting out and so we owe em a few schooners. We were a pretty shit band back then and King Tide have always been the tightest reggae band goin round so we were surprised they wanted anything to do with us! We’ve always aspired to crank tight reggae snaps like the king tide boys, and I think you can hear those in our album.
Your debut album is on the shelves, relieved?
Yeah you know what it is! We’d recorded a couple of EPs before but recording an album was pretty stressful. We had to deal with deadlines that we just weren’t used to so we had to work harder than ever before. I think we each put a lot more pressure on ourselves and each other to produce high quality performances. It was a race to the finish but we got there, and we couldn’t be much happier with our first real body of work.
How did the recording process play out?
Yeah it’s funny looking back on it cos it had its ups and downs. We recorded part of the album at Mr Milk studios and the rest at Linear studios which is where we really felt the heat of recording to deadlines. I remember clearly that we only had one day left to record vocals (this was at Linear) and Dyz came back from the Gold Coast having spent an all nighter celebrating his Aunty’s wedding. We all thought it would be a waste of time and that he’d spend most of the time David Booning on the couch, but with a bottle of JD in his hands he managed to plough through the tracks in very few takes. It was a weird kind of professionalism that I honestly didn’t think existed in Dyz but shit the little prick really surprised me that day! You can hear on some of the tracks dyzza’s raspy vocals which really illuminated the track. I don’t think some of his vocals would sound as good if he didn’t have a bender the night before! Won’t forget that.
Did you start out with an idea of what you wanted it to sound like?
Not really hey. We’d already written some of the tracks like How to Fly and These Girls a while ago so it wasn’t as if all the tracks were written together over a small period of time. We kinda just wanted to put the best tracks and the ones we were most happy with together, regardless of the discrepancies in genre and style. Our producer Dan Hume, was able to build strong unity mainly through the drums and the crazy effects he whipped up but I think if you listen to the album closely, you’ll appreciate the different influences and styles goin on. We owe a lot to Dan for bringing that craziness together into a cohesive album of work. Crazy ass.
Are there any tracks that you’re particularly proud of, or tracks that were difficult to finish?
I’m particularly proud of These Girls. That one was one of the few recorded without a click track and as a live band, so I feel that you can really hear that organic sound. I love the way Dyz sings on that track too and Seamus’ solo is one of his more mellow melodic sounding ones which fits perfectly in the track.
I’d say Freddy Crabs was pretty hard to finish cos we always kept writing more to it even when we were recording! It’s a real jam and I’m stoked with how it came out. Mad to play live as well, can’t hide the crab face on that one.
How do you want the audience to react to it? Any feelings that you wanted to get across?
I just hope they can groove to it! Most of the lyrics are sexual or to do with getting blind so at times there’s no need for further in depth analysis. I just hope that people who enjoy having fun and not taking shit too seriously can appreciate the lyrics and the music the most. There’s definitely some lyrical genius behind Paddy and Dyz’s lines even if they don’t make a lot of sense at first glance, but as long as it brings you a smile bruddaz that’s all that matters!
You’re also heading out on tour soon, any crazy shenanigans on stage that we should be prepared for?
Well, it’s kinda different for every show. We never plan the craziness it just happens spontaneously. All that we can guarantee is that we’ll be pumpin all the album tunes and some old favourites as well. We’ll also be flippin some of the tunes round so that they translate live. We’re predominantly a live band so that’s definitely important for us!
Sticky Fingers debut record Caress Your Soul is out now. Their headline tour kicks off March 22 at Sydney’s Manning Bar.
– 3rd December 2012 –
Currently in the middle of a national tour to promote her fourth record, The Moment, Australian blues artist Mia Dyson remembers the long road she took to get here.
When was the first time you remember listening to music?
In my parents mud brick house in the bush outside of Daylesford. They were always playing records on the record player and dad was often playing guitar in the house too.
You said once that you heard Hendrix and abandoned the piano for the guitar. Which artists do you most admire now?
Lucinda Williams is my favourite singer/songwriters, Gillian Welch is one of my top favourite songwriters. And then there’s Neko Case, The Band, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan…
How did the album develop? Was there a process to it, or did songs just come to mind in the middle of night?
The songs were written over a long period of time. It’s rare for me that songs will just ‘come to me’ but it did happen with ‘Pistol’ on this album. The rest started as ideas – either lyrical or melodic, and were developed and worked on over months or even years. ‘Jesse’ took me years to write as it is a story of forced adoption, imparted to me by a woman at a show. The weight and gravity of the story made it challenging to write.
How many songs didn’t make it onto the record?
Just a couple.
The song ‘Cigarettes’ has a really big Lucinda Williams feel. How big of an influence was she on you, and this record?
Yep, you can hear it for sure. As I wrote above, she’s one my all-time faves. This song is definitely an homage to her.
In ‘Two Roads’, you reference the Robert Frost’s famous poem. How much did ‘the road’ or the romance of the road, shape this album?
I think it definitely has a part to play. Since I began my music career, my life hasn’t been very stationary and so I get to see things from the perspective of someone travelling through. I like to think it helps my song writing to be on the move. And I am definitely still a romantic for the road.
How difficult is it to maintain your signature sound- to keep old fans happy so to speak- whilst moving forward into different musical areas?
I don’t think I really try to do that. I just write what seems to feel good to me and then I don’t have any control over how people will receive it or react to it. Trying to please everybody would spin me in circles.
How do you think ‘The Moment’ differs from your previous records?
I think it’s more honest and direct lyrically and has a stronger, more confident sound to it.
What’s it like trying to balance your creative control with those that also have a vested interest in your music?
Well, I don’t have a record label or a manager so it’s actually pretty easy! Especially on this record. I found the people I wanted to work with, got crowd funding to help pay for the record, and so I had complete creative control.
What was it like recording the album? Did the songs change much over time?
Recording this album was a really wonderful experience. My previous albums were anxious, pretty painful processes. And this one was still challenging and there was always fear, but the producers and players (Erin Sidney, Pat Cupples and Lee Pardini) supported and encouraged me throughout, and pushed me to do my best work. We had a fabulous studio up in the mountains north of Los Angeles and we had Erin’s wife Dariel cooking fabulous meals for us each day…pretty sweet.
Mia Dyson is currently touring nationally. The Moment is out now through Black Door Records.
Read our review of The Moment here