Dappled Cities are recharged, relaxed and ready to roll on album #5, |||||
Their luxurious new record finds Dappled Cities in a very chill place.
Five years after the release of Dappled Cities' last album, on the fifth day of the fifth month of this year, Australia is blessed to receive the group's fifth LP, ||||| (pronounced FIVE). And when I say "blessed" I don't mean it in the like, #blessed way whatever influencer you follow on Instagram said it this morning as they posted their third cup of coffee for the day. I mean it in the sense that ||||| is a brilliant new album from one this country's finest indie-rock outfits. It shouldn't come as a surprise really, given the group has been kicking around for the Australian music scene for almost two decades, consistently releasing some the country's music.
|||||, as guitarist Dave Rennick will explain in more detail below, finds the five-piece super relaxed and recharged, the album so clearly the work of a group very self-assured of who they are, what they do, and the music they want to make: "We’re a live band, so we just needed to embrace what we’re good at."
And the results more than speak for themselves. With most tracks rolling in around the four to five minute mark, ||||| is an ultimately luxurious listen, arresting in its ability to swallow you up in a world of laidback groove and wistful harmonies, replete with some sexy af guitar work, tapping into the timeless qualities of forebears like David Bowie and Roxy Music. So chuck it on, and read up on my chat with Rennick below, as we delve into the Byron Bay recording process, electronic music vs rock music, and the hopeful optimism that we can take from Sydney's current lockout laws.
Dave Rennick on Dappled Cities' new album:
We wanted to record it very live and very naturally. Altogether in a big purpose-built studio with a big live room. So we just recorded the songs as long as we felt in the room. A lot of them have long outros and that’s just us deciding on the fly what felt right.
On the current Australian musical landscape:
I guess looking around us and looking at the landscape of music at the moment, it’s very much occupied by producer music and electronic music, and it makes us ask ourselves what we’re all about. And the answer was pretty obvious – we’re a live band. So we just needed to embrace what we’re good at. Electronic music and band music are very different art forms. Not that one is more integral than the other, they’re just different. We just do what we know.
On if the band ever considered throwing in the towel:
I honestly don’t think we’ll ever break up. We have spoken about it before, and always come to the conclusion that we don’t see the point in breaking up... We’re gonna be happy releasing records forever. But we did just need a bit of breathing space after that fourth record. That was a very intense 10 years of work. Sailing the highs and lows of being a band trying to make it on the world stage. We just needed that time to get a bit of perspective to be honest.
On being in a relaxed space to record |||||:
That was such the mantra going in to the session. Just to be relaxed and to be content and not ooze desperation. Like I hear desperation in so many emerging artists, you just gotta chill you know? And that’s when you produce your best work and I know that’s very much easier said than done. It took us to be in a very certain frame of mind after that hiatus to come back together and realise that. When we were on the same page and those feelings, the record just wrote itself, and recorded itself.
And recording in Byron Bay:
That was part of the recipe. It was summer as well. We just said, 'Let’s record in January for three weeks and treat it like a holiday', and so we were like where can we go that has a giant, luxurious studio that’s on the beach that’s the epitome of good times and the answer was Byron Bay... We’re gonna follow the same recipe for the next record.
Releasing an album now versus in 2012:
It’s so fucking differnet! I have no fucking idea how to release a record now. Because we’re working with new partners and label and management. And they turn to us and ask us how we want to do stuff. And I keep doing really bad faux pas. Like suggesting media outlets that shut down five years ago. I’m like what about Channel V or Drum Media, what are they doing these days? It’s weird releasing a record in a world where literally the only things you need is Facebook and Spotify. Everything else you can just do what it needs to do. But it’s just two checkpoints at the moment, and I’m not totally comfortable with it so I let young people handle it.
On their upcoming Vivid Sydney show:
It’s gonna be next level. I dare say it’s gonna be the best live thing we’ve ever done. The amount of detail that’s going in to the visual side and the audio side, there’s a whole lot of surprises we’ve got lined up. Some guest musicians, the visual collaborators, it’s gonna be great.
On Sydney's lockout laws:
I’ve got a pretty optimistic outlook on the scene here to be honest. I totally agree the lockout laws that the government have brought in are hypocritical and shortsighted and just plain ridiculous. And I really feel for the businesses that have been affected by them. I can’t imagine owning a business and then one day a government passes legislation that effectively makes your business earn no money. That said I feel optimistic on the scene. I’m always surprised to see new venues open up and be like whoa this venue is really cool. Like the Chippo Hotel or The Landsdowne just re-opened. And all the venues over in Marrickville. I guess I’m not afraid of change – Surry Hills is gonna be full of wankers soon. So cool people are just gonna have to go somewhere else. And they are. It’s not like musicians are just gonna hang up their hat and be like, ‘Oh well we can’t make music in this town I’m just gonna be a lawyer.” They’re gonna find ways to make music and play it to their friends. I have faith.
On the rest of 2017 and beyond:
More shows across Australia. We’re looking at overseas. But the big thing I wanna do in January is make another record. That’s on the chopping block. Another summer record.
SAT 6 MAY | HOWLER, MELBOURNE w/ Red Riders & Darling James
FRI 12 MAY | THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE w/ Red Riders & Rolls Bayce
SUN 4 JUNE | CITY RECITAL HALL, SYDNEY w/ Red Riders & Tyson Koh DJ Set (Vivid/Keep Sydney Open)
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