Track By Track: Sydney's OSLOW take us through their powerful self-titled debut LP
An insight into an album that tackles a range of themes.
Last Friday saw the release of Sydney post-punk outfit OSLOW's debut, self-titled LP - a record that comes after the band formed some five years ago, gigging fucking hard, releasing rad music and supporting the likes of highly respected indie, punk and hardcore heavyweights like Title Fight, PUP, La Dispute and Balance & Composure.
To mark the release, which was created with the help of producer/engineer Dylan Adams (DMA’s, James Blake), Dylan and Jacob from the band give us a rundown of all 11 tracks, and you'll no doubt here plenty of them live when they launch the record Saturday 11 March at Newtown Social Club in Sydney, supported by Cat Heaven and Recovery Room (tickets HERE).
1. Asleep In The Hallway
The first song we wrote for the record after getting together for jams after a little break. I struggled a lot with the vocal melodies for this song, as what became the verse was such a foreboding riff. I nutted it out in my head listening to a shitty iPhone demo over and over on the way to and from work, and the first time I sang the melodies was during preproduction. It initially had this long outro ‘Head in the Ceiling Fan’ worship but we scrapped it during preproduction. The song is about not having any direction once you leave university.
Jacob: The opening riff in Sewing was one I had been playing around with for a while before I brought it to the band. It came together a lot easier than some of the other tracks and being one of the first tracks wrote really set the tone for the rest of the record early on.
Dylan: The lyrics are almost tongue in cheek in their bluntness but aim to convey the narcissism that is promoted within the education system and in greater society.
3. Cold Dark Space
This was one of the last songs we wrote for the record. It came together really quickly and we were all really stoked on it immediately. It’s definitely something different for us; we recorded some synth using this 70s Juno, which just sounds like a finished recording. Super fun song to record and really pushed our boundaries musically. I wrote the lyrics for this song during a very short stint at a call centre. The intensity of the anxiety you get before going to your shitty job can be overwhelming and it sends your mind to dark places.
4. Los Croydos
We had the first few sections around for a while but didn’t finish it until close to preproduction. We really discovered how important jamming is for our writing process on the release. All being in a room together, nutting it out, really made this song what it is. It’s a song about how regardless of the known effects humans have on the environment I still hand out plastic bags like candy at my retail job.
5. Everything Etc.
J: This song came together one afternoon jamming in our living room while we were trying to write for the album. The basic structure came together pretty quickly. It took a few practices to get our parts finished but it was basically written as a fun jam.
D: I asked Jake to sing the first verse of the song as I really liked the honesty in his vocal approach. The lyrics follow the shedding of ignorance, looking around and being critical of everything.
6. Nothing Yet
Jake had the intro riff kicking around for a while. Nothing really came from the initial jams until we realised another riff, slow jam thing we had been working on would work perfectly with it so we put them together and the rest of the song came easy. The song title was put forward by a friend of ours during a conversation we had about not being confident when settling on track names. I tried to express the longing to do something positive in this song, and how we all struggle to be honest with the people around us.
This song took us a while but is now a mainstay in our set lists, as it’s just super fun to play. We talked about leaning into pop structures and melodies before starting the writing process and I think this song is an example of that. Initially it only had two choruses but after heavy debate a third one snuck in just before recording. I wrote this song about the sharing of pain and life experiences.
8. Deer In The Works
This was a song from our previous release, Days Are So Bright Now, from a few years ago. We were really not into that idea at all but Dylan Adams convinced us to give it a go as we had more time than expected at 301. The vibe when we were recording the drums was when we came around to the possibility of having it on the record. Once it was mixed and Dylan added his touch there was no question is would be on there. Even though it is a song with a different context lyrically, I still feel like it belongs on the record as it’s nostalgic and hopeful and pretty naïve. Themes which I feel like encapsulate most of the record.
9. Black Light
We had the idea for this song to be fairly low key from the start, and centre it on the hook in the chorus. We had tried to put in a crescendo to anticlimax in other songs and it hadn’t worked but ended up suiting this song really well. The lyrics explain the realisation that selling your time is pretty shitty and we would be better off if we didn’t have to.
10. Straight Through
One of the later songs we wrote. We realised we hadn’t written any shorter, upbeat simple songs as yet so it was born from that idea. The vocals in the outro and the lead line at the start came spur of the moment during mixing after everything else for the song had been recorded.
11. Wide Eyed
J: Wide Eyed was one of the most difficult tracks to write for the album and was the last to be finished before recording. The opening guitar line was one we wanted to use but working out where to take the song had us rattled for a while. After hours of jamming we finally got our shit together and finished it up and I feel it was a nice track to round out the record with.
D: When I said hopeful and naïve being the main themes of the record this song is probably the best example. We knew it was going to be the last song on the record before I wrote the lyrics so it was written in summary, a blatant but weak attempt at tying things together.
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