EP Walkthrough: Perth favourites Sly Withers chat their new EP, Gravis
The rising indie-rock favourites share a career-best EP (... so far), with dates across much of the year remaining.
Header image by Shannan Stewart.
Since their jangly early work put them apart from the rest of Perth's live music scene way back in 2016, Sly Withers have come to grow into one of our city's most exciting and potential-bubbling new acts; finding them closer and closer to a greater, national-wide domination with everything they put out. Take the last twelve months for example - they've signed to Universal Music sub-label Dew Process; worked with Carla Geneve on Lately; and have generally etched towards a wider acclaim with everything they've done, signalling the arrival of a band whose 'no-introduction-needed' status is soon going to be valid nationally - not just in Perth.
Today, that gets taken to the next level with the release of a career-best (so far) new EP Gravis, an expansive six-track release that captures the band's loveable indie-rock and how its grown and evolved over the years; shaped through extensive time in studios and live stages alike, while also teasing exciting hints of the future. From Lately to Sad Guy, the EP's two pre-release teases, to the moments otherwise unheard in recording, Gravis is an EP that summarises Sly Withers for everything they encompass - packing their brand and sound together in a tight collection of tracks that broken down, only prove more intoxicating.
Whether it be soft indie or blistering, punk-infused duets, Gravis is a release that showcases Sly Withers' multi-faceted versatility and range as musicians, proving that they're a band not willing to be boxed or held within a genre - even if much of their work is connected by a slight, Sly Withers touch which makes it all come together at ease. It's slick and polished, yet raw and shaded with hazy DIY-ness simultaneously, linking in their past as a bedroom indie-punk band quickly becoming known amongst the local live music circuit, and how they've transformed and blossomed into something remarkably special - something Gravis' slickness welcomes openly.
"We’ve been working real hard on this shit for six years,” says guitarist and singer Sam Blitvich on the EP. "We’ve learned to write together, we learned to play together, and we learned to play live shows together and be a band. We’ve done everything for such a long time and we’ve put the work in over the years and it’s really nice to get the pay-off for all that hard work."
With a run of dates - including many with Amy Shark in regional centres - taking them across the country throughout much of the rest of the year, dive into Sly Withers' captivating new EP Gravis below, with a track-by-track EP walkthrough covering the album's creation and themes. Check it out:
Jono: This is the first song we wrote in this batch of recordings and I'd say that makes it a bit more sentimental for me. The song came together real easily when we started jamming it and it's always felt super comfortable to play live. It's nice that it can be used to start off a set nicely or give us a break later on and we all love that some lovely crowds enjoy singing it back to us cause that makes us feel special. Sad guy's about the end of relationships and the realization that life goes on and the world has a lot to offer.
Lately (ft. Carla Geneve)
Jono: I still can't believe we were able to get Carla to feature on this one and im so happy with what she did with the song. As soon as we heard her track the parts we knew she was going to smash it. Lately is about two people doing their best to keep up with what the other person wants them to be and truth is they're both better off being honest. This one usually feels like the high energy point of the set and is always a lot of fun, especially when we get to feature different artists across shows to tackle Carla's parts - shout out to Anna and Scarlett from Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers for smashing it at BIGSOUND.
Sam: This was the most recently written tune to make it onto the EP. Some of the themes it explores include insecurity, relationships and anxiety. I try not to consciously write about specific things, instead letting things fall out of me as I’m writing and that often helps me better understand my own feelings about stuff going on in my life. This one kind of fell out of me late last year and it delves into a fear of not being enough for people (“take me away from here, we’ve got a good thing going, I wouldn’t wanna ruin it”) and the idea of facing a problem that you know the hypothetical solution to, but lacking motivation/will-power when it comes to actually tackling it head-on (“I know every step of the way but I can’t get my feet to the pavement”).
Sam: Canine is a just a big ol’ vent at the world for me. The chorus has a line where I say “I'll stop singing bout staying in bed once I find a better way to clear my head” which references the fact that I feel like every second song I write has a line referencing not being able to get out of bed. Most of those tracks never make it out of my iPhone voice memo library but hey, I felt self-conscious about it and thought I’d take control of the narrative I guess? It also covers the fact that I hell worry about babbling on too much when I talk to people (“I'm so sorry that I chew your ear”) and I’m probably doing that right now so I think I’ll just leave it there for this one.
Good Days Bad Days
Sam: I went on a trip to Europe with my lovely Mum in mid-2016 for a family reunion type thing and decided while I was over there that I should try and find a cheap acoustic guitar to do some writing on. I bought a dope little nylon string in a bookshop (!?) in Rome and took it around the place with me, hoping that I’d write a song worth the 59 euros I spent on it. Good Days Bad Days was the song that made me sure it was worth it. I had a pretty crappy day headspace wise about halfway through the trip with lots of neg feelings and anxiety hanging over me. The next day, I was feeling mostly better but ended up overthinking myself into a pretty shitty state after having a bit too much time on my own just dwelling on things. The opening lyrics felt like they really hit the mark on how I was feeling that day when I dwelled myself into a hole despite knowing that I’d feel better soon enough (“There's good days, there’s bad ones too, and I am between the two, but I don’t have much to do so I’ll just dwell until I come unglued”).
Jono: Checkout can be a lot of fun to play and can also feel ridiculous and over-theatrical. but it was a step away from simple song structures and I guess it's always been an interesting one. Some of the lyrics feel a bit cheesy to me at times but it's also a really accurate representation of the time period it's written about. I'd say the main narrative is about going out of your way to create chances in life but never following through.
** (supporting Amy Shark)
Thursday, October 3 – NEX, Newcastle, NSW – SELLING FAST!
Friday, October 4 – UC Refectory, Canberra, ACT ** – SELLING FAST!
Saturday, October 12 – Here Comes The Sun Festival, Margaret River, WA
Thursday, October 17 – C.Ex, Coffs Harbour, NSW ** – SELLING FAST!
Friday, October 18 – Venue 114, Sunshine Coast, Qld ** – SELLING FAST!
Friday, October 25 – Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT ** – SELLING FAST!
Thursday, October 31 – Stay Gold, Melbourne, Vic
Friday, November 1 – The Cube, Wodonga, Vic ** – SOLD OUT!
Saturday, November 2 – Costa Hall, Geelong, Vic** – SELLING FAST!
Thursday, November 7 – Odeon Theatre, Hobart, Tas ** – NEW SHOW!
Friday, November 8 – Odeon Theatre, Hobart, Tas ** – SOLD OUT!
Saturday, November 9 – The Foundry, Brisbane, Qld
Thursday, November 14 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA
Friday, November 15 – The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW
Friday, November 22 – YMCA HQ, Leederville, WA
Saturday, November 23 – Badlands, Perth, WA
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