HABITS break down their vulnerable and experimental new EP, SALTY
The six-track release arrives ahead of a brief east-coast run of shows over the next week.
Header photo by Anita Shao.
HABITS' second EP SALTY isn't for the faint-hearted. The Melbourne duo's six-track release is confronting and left-field experimental in the best of ways, contrasting industrial bass lines and commanding melodies with eerie and subdued vocals, which range from angelic and light to firm and powerful on tracks like the feature single SELFIE. However, while the music itself may seem distant and 'too much' for some, the vulnerability and emotional expression on SALTY give it a relatability many may find comforting. The duo, known as Mohini and Maia, tackle ideas of identity and representation, exploring the notions of self-worth and acceptance through their lyrics that often cut through the charging, thick instrumentals that make up the bulk of SALTY.
The duo are touring the Australian east-coast over the next week or so in celebration of the single, and to better let you grasp the EP and its creation and themes, we got them to break down SALTY for you to dive into while you bask in its glory below:
This is the oldest track on the EP. It used to be a lot slower and less energetic because we made it when we were just producer babies. We rearranged it using all the sounds from the old version and kind of vaguely modelled it off Nocturna by Damn Kids. It has a really obvious uncleared sample in it that we’re not going to name so we don’t get in trouble.
This song started with those sung chords at the very beginning. We had a choir of talented hunnies sing with us at Camp Nong a few years ago and they sang those chords over our track Gerger. We thought they had a real sad haunting vibe, so we recycled them for this. The track happened organically around it- it’s a pretty generic grindy beat, but sometimes that’s the most gratifying thing to play with, especially when the bass tickles your bum bum.
Mo came up with that intro exactly how it appears on the final track. They sent me a video of themself singing that cascading vocal line like ‘is this anything?’ and I was like "yes bitch, it is". We got together and developed it. I’d just had a break-up, so the lyrics came out like vicious diarrhea. We were listening to artists like Sudanim and Sevdaliza at the time, and I feel like that comes through in the final outcome.
We were rehearsing one time and the project file for Reverend Mother was open and I just idly hit some of the pads on the drum-pad and it made that bass riff that opens the track. We just shared that glance that’s like ‘um yes’. I liked that synth sound because it kind of reminded me of Forces? It’s probably the most fun and organic thing to make a dance track which rises and falls so I couldn’t break it down for you, it just kind of happened.
Shame / Desire
I recorded that vocal loop in the opening in like 2012 and a few years later we wrote the song with a really slow meandering R&B beat. We had long put it to bed when I downloaded a sample pack which we got obsessed with which contained that hit which makes the instrumental hook in the drop and basically every sound in the new beat. We felt it was a good song and it needed a second life.
This track also started with the sung chords at the beginning. We wanted the track to turn in on itself and shift dramatically in tone, so we went for something mean sounding in the drop to contrast with the tenderness of the first verse. That scream sound is just us screaming into an iPhone. We also took a sample from ‘This Weight of Gravity Is Unsafe’ by Beige Rainbow who were a sick Melbourne band.
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