Track x Track: Irregular Heartbeats - 'Memory::Loss'

Track x Track: Irregular Heartbeats - 'Memory::Loss'

British India bassist takes us through his impressive debut solo album of emotional and experimental indie rock, track by track

Image credit: Kane Hibbard

For over 20 years, William Drummond has been a staple of the Aussie indie rock scene, being a founding member of local legends British India and holding it down on bass guitar. He also crafts some complex yet catchy compositions under the moniker Irregular Heartbeats, who over the last few years has been busy crafting his debut album. Those years of hard work have paid off with the release of Memory::Loss - a 12 track album that showcases his abilities as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

The Irregular Heartbeats project was born out of tragedy, with Will initially writing as a form of relief after losing his mother to cancer. With beginnings in his windowless, asbestos filled garden shed, Drummond soon linked up with producer and musical director Michael Beslar (G-Flip, Hayden James) to bring the songs to life.

I would spend everyday writing songs in an old warehouse that was both my bedroom and my studio. During my first session with Michael I instantly knew that we were a good creative match. He could see the vision I had for the album and brought his many varied talents to the project,” explains Drummond.

Featuring a range of tempos and styles, the energy of Memory::Loss ebbs and flows, with elements from alt-folk, pop and even a hint of EDM shining through the broader indie rock sounds, resulting in a diverse yet cohesive record with a satisfying sense of progression. To celebrate the album’s release, Will was kind enough to take us through it track by track:

The Sun Part 1

This song was written in 30 mins. I picked up the guitar not knowing it was in drop D and started strumming the opening chords and started singing “There’s not alot to….” and changing the ending each time. It’s really a song about the breaking down of friendship, communication struggles and feeling pretty grim in general but knowing that it’ll pass in time. I’d recently fallen in love with playing around with Mellotrons which get a good feature on the album.

The Sun Part 2

It was getting late in the day and putting on the finishing touches on “The Sun Pt 1” in the studio, we weren’t allowed in the studio together because of the lockdowns in Melbourne, and the curfew was rapidly approaching. I suggested to Michael Belsar that we start the next track sampling myself to create the intro. From there we wrote and recorded the track, hardly stopping to draw breath. It was comical at points, as we raced the clock we would plug a guitar straight into the patch bay with a 15cm long lead and record the idea we had. It’s a great example of using the first ideas. We tried to re-record the vocals later down the track but there was no point, what we captured in that hour was the song and the moment.

Sweeping Up My Shadow

This was written in the wake of my mother dying from cancer and the communication between everyone in my band falling apart. I would spend everyday writing songs in an old warehouse that was both my bedroom and my studio. During my first session with Michael I instantly knew that we were a good creative match. He could see the vision I had for the album and brought his many varied talents to the project.

Heavyweight

This is my ode to hospitality. To the unbreakable friendships made, nights that seem to drag on forever and others that disappear in the blink of an eye,” explains Drummond. “To the feelings of stagnation and yearning, to hot blooded heartbreak. To all the people who fight vehemently for us even when we are bringing them down.

No More Oxygen

I wrote this on Christma Day 2019, my Dad was in South Sudan, training teachers and it marked the first Christmas spent without either of my parents. At night I sat in my house alone and cobbled together this track. My Mum passed away in between Christmas and NYE and it was a pretty lonely and weird Christmas in 2019. Melbourne was covered with black smoke from bushfires around this time. It’s a song about grief and how hard it is to live your normal life after you are confronted with the death of someone close.

What’s The Problem

The last time I spoke to my Mum she was in a hospital bed and I was driving to Barwon Heads that evening to play a gig. We held hands and as I let go to leave, she said “That felt so nice, have a good gig”. I sat in the back of the tour van knowing it would probably be the last time I would talk to her. I watched the sun disappear over the horizon and the sky turned a static pastel colour.

Small

Small is Michael’s favourite track on the album. He did a mega job on the mix. I wrote the end before the start. I was waiting for my friend Charly to get ready and she couldn’t find her lip balm so I started singing “Don’t you worry Charly, You’ll find your lip balm you’ll see”. Working backwards was fun, I went back to the start and then wrote a “song” in a very different tempo. Creating the bridge in between the two tracks and making it seamless was difficult but really enjoyable. My friend was walking past the studio, I’d never heard her sing before, but I invited her in and quickly scribbled the lyrics “There’s someone thinking of you” and sang it together.

Jesus At The Door

I woke up one night from a dream where Jesus was my uber eats delivery driver and I wrote “Jesus At The Door” onto a piece of paper next to my bed. It was a late addition to the album. It’s a song of late teen suburban living and first going out and figuring out where you fit in and what you like. There are so many times when you go out and wonder why the hell you went out in the first place. Matt O’Gorman from B.I appears on drums on this one.

Talk Talk Talk

I wish I had more to say about this song. Alas, I have nothing haha.

I Said Too Much

Another track about the breakdown of communication. I wrote this on a left handed guitar so when I did the double of the track I had to do the double on the left handed guitar, not that you would ever be able to hear it. Just an easter egg for myself.

Dark

This was written and recorded in a bedroom that didn’t have any windows. When you closed the door it was pitch black. I bought a fretless bass when I was drunk in the pub one night but didn’t realise that I had to pick it up on the Central Coast. It seemed excessive to fly to Sydney and drive to Gosford but I did. And now that bass appears on this song. It’s a lot of samples that I had from various recordings and my friend Jean Serge gives us the spoken word parts.

Nothing But The Echo You Left Behind

This track was written in 2020 in a shed in my backyard. Nic Wilson, ex British India guitarist, sent me some riffs when we weren’t allowed to leave our houses. I spent a day looping the start of one of these riffs and wrote a string ensemble part to kill some of the endless time we had up our sleeves. I ended a long term relationship and we were living together. One day I came back and all of her things were taken from the house and everything sounded different, I could hear nothing but the echo that was left behind.

          - William Drummond, April 2024

Irregular Heartbeats' new album Memory::Loss is out now

Memory Loss Artwork fotor 20240411162915

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