West Thebarton Brothel Party have been on their ‘Four More Years’ tour since the beginning of the month, bringing hectic singles “Red Or White” and “Dolewave” to life alongside a now-beloved swag of music down the east coast. Having just played Adelaide mini-fest Stonecutters over the weekend, the seven-piece have this week off the prepare for their next jaunt of the tour, this time hitting The Old Bar in Melbourne on Friday night and then the Chopped Festival in Newstead on October 1st.
Before they head back out to Victoria (and ahead of the tour’s final date, a hometown show in Adelaide next month), the boys take us behind the scenes and into the studio, documenting the recording of the recent “Red Or White”/”Dolewave” 7″ release.
In early 2015, we were approached by Clarity Records to perform at the very first ‘A Day of Clarity’. The seven of us felt giddy at the prospect of playing in the Exeter Beer Garden, which had self-retired as a venue as we starting gigging with our respective bands. It followed with an offer to put out our next release, which was incredibly humbling given our fondness for the local record store.
The offer seemed strange at the time, given the scope of Clarity’s previous releases but as we’ve come to know Footy and his love for the first wave of Australian punk, I think we’ve managed to put our finger on it. Luckily, releasing a song or two had already been on our minds, so we pulled up our socks and sleeves to hit the studio again.
Drive down Grange Road for 10 minutes or so until you hit the water and you’ll find our good friend Ali Wells along with his studio, Grinch Records. He’s a curly haired fellow who looks a bit like Albert Hammond Jr with the minor tendencies of a sour house cat, but we love him all the same.
We tracked the songs in a couple of days at the height of yet another scorching Adelaide summer. After recording our EP at Grange over the previous summer, you’d think we’d have learnt a thing or two about tracking in a house with no air-conditioning whatsoever.
“Red or White” was written during one of our rehearsals for some upcoming tour dates with Bad//Dreems. Nick [Horvat, bass] was passing time with that rolling bass line and Brian[Bolado, guitar/drums] was fumbling around on the drums as the rest of the band filed in to set up their gear. Sure enough, we’d mapped out the bones of the song within half an hour. We hadn’t written a bold, fast number in a while but it felt like a strong live song from the start.
I’m pretty sure Ray [Dalfsen, vocals/guitar] adapted the lyrics from a separate song called ‘”Task List” and threw in a Pixies reference for good measure. The idea to list off things from our personal task lists during the bridge instrumental was scrapped but made for a glorious resurrection in the film clip.
For those playing at home, that’s [Josh] Battersby playing the lead guitar line during the choruses. He’d written most of his lines at the studio when it came time to do his tracking. Other personal highlights include [Josh] Healey’s consistent guitar chugging and the way Ray says ‘Yeah’ at the end of the song.
Tom [Gordon, guitar] introduced the chords and riffs for “Dolewave” sometime after we recorded our first EP. Out of the two songs on the 7”, this one certainly went from strength to strength as it went through the recording process.
It was our endeavour to include some form of saxophone freak out in the middle of the song, despite not actually knowing anyone that could play saxophone for us. Luckily, Dave Blumberg (High Beamers, Men with Chips, Cowboys of Love) was able to come in and get weird with his bass clarinet. This was an obvious highlight.
Despite not actually being in the band at the time, the chorus hook is credited to Hugh [Black, drums] and he asserts his great contribution at every possible opportunity. It took us three or so sessions to get some vocal takes that we were happy with but in the end, a majority of the vocals on the 7” were Ray’s guide vocals.
Images: Lewis Brideson.
The “Red Or White”/”Dolewave” 7″ is out now through Clarity Records. Check out West Thebarton Brothel Party online HERE. Catch the boys playing the following venues:
September 30th | The Old Bar, MELBOURNE
October 1st | Chopped Festival, NEWSTEAD
October 14th | Jive, ADELAIDE