Premiere: MOD CON flex a new direction on scuzzy new single Do It Right Margo
Plus read a chat between them and label mates Fair Maiden ahead a split 7" release.
MOD CON is the new collaborative project of Erica Dunn, Sara Retallick and Raquel Solier, who after originally rocking out some serious alt-country croons as Palm Springs, decided to switch things up and look toward the rock'n'roll lifestyle. Friday 27 October will see the three-piece release a split 7-inch with Fair Maiden on Poison City Records. MOD CON's side of the deal is the track we're excited to premiere for you today - Do It Right Margo - which also serves as the group's first track under their new incarnation. It's a whirlwind couple of minutes of scuzzy, old school rock and roll, and we're vibing immensely. Take a listen below, pre-order it HERE, and read a great interview between both band while you do:
FAIR MAIDEN ON MOD CON:
FM (Ellen Carey): Tell us about your band name update. I first saw Palm Springs solo in 2013! It's been exciting witnessing the gradual dynamic shift from solo to band. How did this lineup come together? Did having band member change your song writing or did your changing songwriting demand a band?
MC (Erica Dunn): Well, I’m the original Palm Springs (please stand up)… I’m a manic person and my palms sweat when talking to people or… just most of the time, so Palm Springs was my name when I started mucking around playing solo about five years ago. I was living with Raquel at the time and she joined me on drums and we played as a duo. When Sara joined the band it was a catalyst to start writing in a different way. When an album's worth of stuff was written, it was very clear that the project had to be split into two. The split allows us to be more true to each writing style. Palm Springs isn’t dead; I have another album in the can that will come out some time next year that really pushes into minimal folk territory. MOD CON reflects the new direction. It’s faster and louder, duo vocals, tough bass and syncopated drums at the core.
FM: Members of Fair Maiden and MOD CON collaborate in a bunch of other amazing musical projects. How do you navigate your time between the many simultaneous creative pursuits you've all got going on?
MC. Negotiating time is a weird concept isn’t it? How do we make our lives fulfilling? How do we portion our time to best utilise it? Yeah, all three of us (and all of you) are very busy. I think for us, we all reached a point where we thought, if we wanted to do something we should just fucking do it. I’ve known both Sara and Raquel for many years now, but I feel within the last two or so particularly we’ve all sort of gone turbo. It’s very exciting. We are three very strong women who are inspired by and driven by our individual fields.
FM: MOD CON recorded away from your Melbourne home, in regional Victoria. Where'd you go and what'd you do? What's the significance of "getting out of Melbourne" for your songwriting and/or productivity?
MC: When MOD CON recorded with Gaz, we went up to their place in Nagambie. Being away from home allowed us to fully focus. Recording is a black magic, and so much of it is psychological, really, it’s so weird I reckon. Keeping an idea going, trying to explain yourself to
someone else, so many giant things get distilled into tiny moments, it can be a very strange process. Gaz was great in just letting the tape roll as we started to fire up - he was also good at making actual fires. It’s also great recording in the bush because at the end of a huge day, after focussing on one, very personal (possibly narcissistic) thing, you can have a drink and cuddle a puppy and look up at the stars and all together contemplate the bigger universe.
FM: What formula is used for writing the songsssss?
MC: For ...Margo, I wrote a lot of the parts and early melodies on a four track at home. I got full hermit and spent many nights alone experimenting with by bad recording skills. I also often write long stories and then use small parts of them for lyrics. And I spend a lot of time looking at the wall getting really fucking frustrated and then have small bursts of mania where many knots get tied for better or worse.
FM: What's you're favourite band ritual? Ours is playing Chili Peppers and drinking Bloody Maries.
MC: Pre-gig it's rum and coke. Pre-band prac it's tom yum and coconut rice. I do not believe you play Chili Peppers! The first gig we played as a three piece we did Dragon’s Get That Jive and that, I think, is the only cover we know; if you buy us enough rum and cokes maybe we’ll do it again.
MOD CON ON FAIR MAIDEN:
MC: I can remember getting a compilation from Special Awards records with the Fair Maiden song Lady Of Fortune; on it and I was totally enamoured. What year would have that been/is that when the band first started?
FM: Far out, Lady Of Fortune was one of the first ever songs I wrote for Fair Maiden maybe... 8 or so years ago? Scott O'Hara (Bitch Prefect) wrote the guitar part for me. I was just a solo artist at that point with zero idea how to play an instrument or use technology lol. I'd just pre-record layers of vocal harmonies and sing karaoke style live from my iPod it was a hot mess. Incorporating band members was an obvious game changer.
MC: Would you agree that there is a gothic folk sensibility to Fair Maiden? Is it the melodies or lyric content that is making me think that? Or are you shaking your head right now and thinking, 'Erica, gothic folk is not a genre, you're an idiot?'
FM: No Erica you're no idiot I've heard people say this before, and I think it's cool. It might be a mixture of both the melodies and lyrics, I dunno, it changes from song to song. My influences are folk music, my catholic upbringing with hymns and themes of repenting and guilt etc, and also I have nightmares often, which are a big factor lyrically. This upcoming album is much darker than the last. The lyrics are more daring too, which has been known to make my close friends and particularly my brother feel extremely uncomfortable in the audience (lol, sorry).
MC: When you play live you do some instrument swapping and it's badass to watch. With what configuration was Coal recorded? Any recording stories?
FM: God that's so nice to hear you say that. Nothing makes my palms sweat more than those bloody instrument changes. I worry that it breaks up the mood a bit and then I have to talk to the audience, which is always the worst. I gotta say though, aside from showcasing the band mates many talents, those instrument swaps are totally worth it for Steph's onstage banter, she kills me. I recorded a simple guitar part and vocals for Coal and brought it to the group where they completely transformed it. Haymo's guitar solo in Coal is one of my favourite moments on this album.
MC: Any secret warm up tricks Ellen could share for singers?
My secret warm up trick is heavy sippies of mother’s medicine aka a house white before the gig. No beer though the risk of belching during a big note is too high and not bueno at all.
MC: Lucky final question and really the most serious! Who are your top three fair maidens?
FM: Sooo hard! I'll just go with what came up instantly in my head. Buffy Sainte Marie, Julee Cruise and Karen Dalton.
Pre-order the split 7-inch HERE.