Fran Keany of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever talked us about their new record, The French Press, out today on Sub Pop.
You've recently signed to Sub Pop for your first full length record. How does being signed to a big label change your creative processes either for songwriting, recording, or production?
I guess the main thing is we're just writing heaps more. Joe, Tom, and I are all bringing new songs to the table and they're clicking into this overall theme we've got. It's exciting. Also, I suppose you just naturally become a bit more conscious of what you're saying - previously we would write about all sorts of things. But now with some people listening (other than blood relations) you think a little more about what you want to say. So I guess the writing is changing a little bit in that way.
But overall it's pretty much the same - the way we write hasn't changed - one of us will come up with an initial idea independently, bring it to the band and see what happens with it.
We're starting to think about the plan for the recording. We've done the last two EPs in the room where we rehearse. I'd say we'll look to venture out of the rehearsal room for the album! But wherever we go will have to have some nice couches.
Can you explain the family connections within the band? How does this dynamic impact the songwriting and connectivity between you guys?
Two of us are brothers and two are cousins. I guess there would be the potential for family spats but that hasn't really been the case. We're all good friends and enjoy each other's company, and know each other well enough to know when to leave someone alone, all that stuff.
Three of us (Joe, Tom, and I) have also played together in various iterations for years, so there's a bit intuition when it comes to working on each others' songs.
What influenced you to write the songs on The French Press?
I think with all of our stuff we try to paint a snapshot of a person in a certain place, not necessarily us. I and the others really like songs that paint vivid portraits of a character. An Australian band, The Triffids did that really well. I guess we have taken inspiration from that. On this EP, two songs are Tom's, two are Joe's and two are mine. One song is about an early twenties girl at a supermarket in Geelong. One is about two brothers one a Skype call. One song is a break up at a caravan park. One is about a selfish person/country.
How has your material changed from the first release by Rolling Blackouts?
When we first started we were less rhythmic. The songs we had initially written were written on acoustics, away from a band, so it was a case of the drums and bass playing along to the guitars. But after we played live more, and writing together as a band, the songs started to find a pulse. As we develop more and more as players and writers we're refining our idea a bit. Other than that it hasn't drastically changed. We'll always be a band of guitars, bass drums, no plan to change that.
You guys had overwhelming positive reviews for your first release. What pressures did you feel following this critical success for your Sub Pop debut?
It was a real surprise for us, because we'd initially just put the EP out ourselves. It never occurred to us to even send it to any labels. We really just put it out for the fun of it. We tried to approach this EP in the same way - a few songs from each of us, recorded in our rehearsal room. We didn't want to change too much really, wanted to keep doing what we enjoy doing. I think we'll slightly change things for the album, looking at that at the moment, but will want to keep the same spirit there.
What type of things provide you with the most motivation to create new material?
Old books about new ideas.
42 degrees in Brunswick.
Can you explain the origin of the band's name?
We were initially just Rolling Blackouts, but then when we started taking things a bit more seriously, it was going to be too confusing to continue, because there are other bands with the same name, including one that came to Australia a few years ago. So we just extended our name with a few more words - our first song (before we had a name) was Rolling Blackouts, which was about when Tom was holed up sick in a hostel in Cambodia. The full name is melodramatic and a bit silly, but we're all ok with that.