Behind the Scenes: Young Monks dive into their new album, Swamp Creek

Young Monks have brought some bright new music out of Canberra with the release of Swamp Creek. Self-produced, the album is a hefty dose of indie mixed in with lashings of psych-pop and funk tones that in all, produces some excellent hits.

Over 22 tracks, the listener is taken on one heck of a sonic journey – let the band tell you more about the album themselves!

 

The Flow & The Motion

As most of the tracks on the album, sonically this track was created a few years back when we were starting to discover new influences and ideas. The song developed further with the introduction of lyrical ideas, toying around with impossible situations like driving through an ocean, the buoyancy and surrealism of an aquatic landscape passing by the passenger window was too attractive an idea not to explore.

Awake On The Moon

Awake on the Moon might be the oldest track on the album, meticulously crafted and carefully constructed by Sam, this track comes from a period of solitude that lead to an epiphany of musical and critical awareness. Washed out but still sharp instrumentally, this track lead to a new form of production for Sam, elements of which were crucial to the development and feel of Swamp Creek.

Aliens Of Babylon

Perhaps one of the most experimental tracks on the album in terms of energy, this track was brought to life during a trip to a place of heritage to our bass player Thom. Berridale was the setting, a rural township in NSW, the home of a property that has been in Thom’s family for generations. Backing itself onto a former sheep shearing barn, farmland plains set the scene for lyrical and emotional output during a stay for the Monks.

The track deals with the idea of the transient nature of human beings, being in one place one day and going the next, not truly knowing the people around us. As we settled down into our tents for the evening, thoughts of those who once inhabited the now rusted over and forgotten place would drift into our minds. Feeling like strangers in a place unknown, aliens amongst the cool country breeze and the clear starry night.

Supersonic Melodies

“Cigarettes and Chocolate It’s my Valentines Day”, the lyric that would birth this track. Coming off the tail of Valentines Day that year, Steve and Matt improvised a bit of guitar work and those lyrics to have a bit of fun. From there, posted onto Instagram as a fun insight, the snippet garnered a bit of attention and praise from our friends and fans. Further developed during a trip to Bundanoon NSW, this psychedelic melter of a pop track is now one of the albums most energetic and frantic moments.

Swamp Creek

After a solo trip to the beautiful Yarrangobilly, NSW, I was alone in a 6 bedroom house with my computer and some rainy winter weather, I set my keyboard up and started playing some pretty laid back notes. At the time, I was inspired by the chill hop neo soul music that I had surrounded myself with. Once I got home, I decided to take myself to a different headspace with hallucinogenics and this is where the song was really birthed, it took on a new character with sax and saturated guitar lines, holding its foundation with that piano line that pulses through the song. It takes me to nature and I relate it to the exact place and time every time I hear it.

Bayside Suicide

The first verse of the song was based off a dream one of the band members had, we explored the idea of being in a dream-state, a sense of altered reality. We wanted to develop and explore the idea of the unconscious mind linked to the spiritual being. The song itself is not a story or one solid idea that’s been finalised, rather, it’s the journey through the curious and odd parts of perception.

 We chose to shoot the clip in the woods on an extremely cold night in June. We braved the -4 degree weather alongside our friends to strip down and paint up in all the UV paint we could. As we collected our actors and placed them in front of the UV lights, disaster struck; 6 out of the 8 lights were not functioning. The actors were devastated, but as luck would have it, a solution was there and his name was Matthias.

We had organised a car for this videoclip, but the night before the shoot it fell through. Tommy was out having a drink with mates when he met a guy that might be able to help. Matthias was a guy with an amazing car, and once he spoke to Tom, he was in. Not only did we get an amazing car for the clip, but he fixed all 8 lights by hand, without tools, out in the cold.

Told You So

 One of, if not the first track uploaded to Triple J Unearthed, I can clearly remember playing this track during our first Young Monks gig. I hadn’t sung in front of a crowd before, and even though it was only a small house party, I was nervous for it. Freezing cold in the middle of winter, we opened our very first Young Monks set, outdoors, in the sleet, with “Told You So”.

I will never forget the feeling of being so afraid, then finally letting go and embracing the song and the moment.

Jarmin In The Dark

One of our most popular tracks, this song is written in a way to juxtapose its sometimes heavy lyrical content. The melodic dream pop overtones contrast lyrics of concern and uncertainty about your place in life, with an outlook of optimism for things to change.

Regardless of where we were at that point, or where we wanted to be, the songs bares its main refrain as an anthemic assertion of pride. Proud to be in the moment and alive, Proud to be progressive and carefree, Proud to be just “Jarmin in the Dark”.

Bad Bad Freddy

All-time greatest day of recording for a videoclip. The original idea had us driving about an hour out of town, filming the clip in a wooded natural park, utilising hand-crafted puppet versions of ourselves (which took days to create) as the centre plot-driver. That was until I got into Thommy’s Van.

We had loaded up drinks and some of the musical equipment into the back of the van and began driving, we drove for about 40 minutes until we realised we may have missed a turn, so we decided it would be best to turn around, and give it our best shot at making it to the location by sunset. The rest of the band was already on location, a location without cell reception, when our van more than an hour away, broke down. Five hours later and a few drinks less, we found ourselves dancing around inside an acquaintances business, hardly utilising those damn puppets. Best clip.

Trippin’

This song sprung from a late night jam in one of our home studios in Murrumbateman. After spending the evening indulging in psychedelics and sitting by the warm fire we decided to have a cheeky jam. The bass line came first and the rest followed quickly. It was always a favourite of ours because it took us back to a time that we cherished.

It captures the essence of nature by the feeling of coming up and being able to let go of everything. Having a time signature change makes you feel like you elevate into the chorus, which carries a special vibe. All in all this is a special song to us for many reasons and we hope you feel the same.

Lakes

First created during a small recording stint, “Lakes” is a track that saw a new approach taken to vocal recording. Quieter and softer singing led to a fresh take on how we wanted to play around with harmonies, pacing and tone. Lyrically this track delves into the idea of choice, how one can deal with regret, and the limitations that the idea of control has on our lives.

Finally the track crescendos into a harmonic amalgam that retrospects the entirety of Swamp Creek, bursting through to a phonaesthetic climax that emerges like the morning sun from the ocean. “Lakes” is the promise of a better time we make to ourselves, Another Day Another Rising Sun.

Food Of The Gods

We wanted to take a trip down trip lane with this song. Its basically a representation of feeling what is experienced whilst under the influence. We wanted it to be a slow and steady rise all the way to the ending. No vocals just straight up instrumental that tells a story through sound. Close your eyes and let your imagination take you on a visual trance into the unknown.

YOUNG MONKS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Tickets available here

July 13th | Bloodhound Bar, BRISBANE
July 15th | Cambridge Hotel, NEWCASTLE
July 20th | Workers Club, MELBOURNE
July 21st | Brighton Up Bar, SYDNEY
July 22nd | Rad Bar, WOLLONGONG
July 25th | Roundhouse Beergarden, RANDWICK
July 27th | The Park House, MONA VALE
July 28th | Waterfront Hotel, MORUYA