EP Walkthrough: FANGZ premiere new EP But No Thanks, break down its creation
Premiering on Pilerats ahead of its official release this Friday, the group's second EP brings unabashed punk energy.
Header image by Kim Quint.
It was just a few months back when we first met Sydney-based group FANGZ, who at the time, were returning after the release of a sensational, introductory debut EP with something new in Falling Out, the first single they'd release since capturing Australia's heavier rock world attention with their debut release, and a slice of proof that it wasn't just a one-trick thing either. It was a single worth noting for its ability to create authentic, down-the-line punk music, stepping away from the bells and whistles of pop-punk and dance-punk that's seemingly had a bit of a resurgence within the last few years of Australian music, and instead electing for something that was nothing but electrifying in its tone.
"Falling Out is an excellent introduction to the band if you're yet to get acquainted, opening with distortion and a rough-around-the-edges tease that this isn't going to be a clean or overly-polished rock song, and that's true," we said on the track's initial release, and in what they've put out since - the late-March-arriving Drifter - they've only doubled down on their edge, creating raw and unpolished punk music without the sheen and refinement that comes from those going for a more radio-friendly sound (and it's good - it makes them stand out from the pack).
It was the first track of a sophomore EP titled But Not Thanks, which officially premieres on Pilerats today ahead of its greater release later this incoming Friday. But No Thanks is a bursting explosion of tracks that leaps out of the gates from the get-go, with the group launching straight into it with Drifter's abrasive and heavier tones launching things off. From here, FANGZ deliver time and time again: Victims is a little more fast-paced and daring; Don't Forget a little more drawn out and infused with distinctive, blues-meets-grunge growls, while Who Are We Now is kicked off by a drum roll which doesn't really slow down at all.
But No Thanks is five tracks that really showcases what FANGZ do best, presenting the abrasive and unapologetic fierceness that isn't toned down in the slightest, even in the space of five tracks - where artists really have a bit of room to move and do something new. There's something great in that, though. It really shows that FANGZ know what they're doing, know what they want to get across, and are here to do exactly that - present unabashed punk energy that'll leave your neck sore with whiplash, but asking for more when it all wraps up.
"I feel like we’ve all grown in such a short time," says the band's frontman Josh Cottreau, before giving a bit of context into the EP and its creation: "I had only known the other guys for two months when we recorded the first EP. Now that we actually know each other I could really open up lyrically and express things that I’ve never been able to talk about before, life-changing things. This EP covers everything from moving countries, to losing someone close to me and learning to be comfortable with yourself and not caring what people think."
There's no doubt plenty more to come - especially as national live stages begin to open again - but in the meantime, take a dive into But No Thanks below, with an EP walkthrough from the group which break down the EP's inner themes and creation, one track at a time:
Drifter came about after listening to Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes latest album End Of Suffering and noticing it wasn’t as riff heavy as the earlier stuff. Then I listened to our demos at the time and thought “we need more riffs”. The original riff I came up with was nowhere near as good as what Sam (guitarist) Frankensteined it into.
Lyrically, Drifter is about dealing with depression and anxiety as a result of your surroundings and making a change for the better. Being a drifter doesn’t mean you’re running away from your problems, sometimes it means doing it alone and finding a better state of being.
This song was originally called Canada Day. Our singer Josh is Canadian, and I joined him for a day of drinking at Wayward Brewing Co on Canada Day and he proceeded to drink one too many Caesars. Later that night I took him to a friend’s party where he didn’t know anyone, and he just kept yelling “DUDE IT’S CANADA DAY”. So, when I wrote the intro riff (once again made better by Sam) I named the demo Canada Day.
Victims is about that one person in your life that writes their own narrative and believes it. A continual woe is my attitude mixed with a whole lot of self-entitlement. It may or may not be based on a former friend.
3. Falling Out
This song was originally two different songs. One song we called Josh’s Song as Josh brought us the riff and vocals ready to go. The other song was called Falling Out which Sam had written after listening to a lot of Billy Talent. When we went into preproduction our producer Stevie Knight was obsessed with the chorus of Falling Out but wanted the verses to be punchier. I went scrolling through all our older demos and found Josh’s Song and we just cut and pasted around the chorus. It was really weird to play for the first few times, but we got used to it.
Falling Out is about turning a negative into a positive. It follows the story of Josh leaving home in Nova Scotia, Canada and illegally hitching a train to Toronto to start a better life playing in bands and following his dreams which eventually lead him to Sydney, Australia.
4. Don’t Forget
This is a Sam Sheumack riff special. You can always tell because the strumming patterns are really annoying to learn. The drums in this song are so wicked. I was in awe of Woodie (drummer) every take he did! This is probably the most serious song on the record. I asked Josh to give me a quote for this as I don’t think it’s my story to tell:
“I wrote the lyrics to Don’t Forget after my father had just passed away. I was in Australia and he was in Canada. The song talks about our relationship, we were never really that close but everything he said stuck with me.”
5. Who Are We Now
This song was written two days before we went into the studio. We had been consuming a lot of Trophy Eyes and really wanted a big anthemic chorus. The great thing about that is we only realised how high the vocals were later on when trying to track group vocals. Lucky for us we enlisted the help of Ben and Cal from Fox Company and producer Stevie from The Dead Love.
Who Are Ae Now is all about self-reflection. Growing up and making mistakes and growing from them or sometimes not growing from them and dwelling on them. We all have a past and some demons, so I guess, it’s kind of our anthem in a way. Don’t listen too closely we made the chorus happy to fool everyone. We’re fine. Everything is fine.
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