Defined by their music and uncompromising in their honesty, Melbourne outfit Press Club will rock your socks off, literally. Their sound is frenetic, raw, fierce – and yet within the volatility of their genre, the music Press Club have developed remains paradoxically refined and considered. This is more impressive for a band that has only been together for just over a year.
Press Club is the collaborative product of Brunswick East natives Natalie Foster (vocals), Greg Rietwyk (guitarist), Iain MacRae (bassist) and Frank Lees (drums), who came together in late 2016 to produce an album that was “truly independent”. Said album is now almost here, in the form of Late Teens, due to be released March 16, only a year after the band played their first show together.
Iain talked us through the process of making the album, which was recorded at the Aviary studios in Abbotsford, saying “At the outset we made a decision to say we wouldn’t say we’re a punk band or a garage band, an indie-rock band, but we just write as many songs as we can… and let whatever those songs sound like inform what the band was.”
The result was 39 tracks, refined down over six weeks of intensive songwriting in Iain’s garage. This process has created the dynamic track list of 12 that made it onto the album.
Late Teens is certainly dynamic. With three singles already released: Headwreck, My Body’s Changing and Suburbia, the soundscape has already been hinted at – ranging from empowering rock ballads to poignant punk rock. Press Club have approached their songmaking with an overarching theme of personal experience, from displacement, relationships, change and the growing pains we experience in all facets of life. As Iain explains, “The three singles are indicative of the palette of the album.”
But what makes Press Club stand out as an independent band? It’s no exaggeration that it’s all their work; “It’s all done by ourselves, truly independent” McRae told us, and this has enabled their personality and honesty as band to shine through in a unique way.
The foursome met studying music, but have each been playing their entire lives. Their musical tastes are hinted at in their sound, Iain referencing Hüsker Dü and The Replacements as influences. “We work best that way,” says Iain, discussing their “melting pot” approach to production and songwriting. “Everyone is as invested in the music as much as everyone else.” Perhaps this is what makes Press Club sound a little different.
Their ownership of their body of work extends even to producing their album artworks, which all have a story to tell. Headwreck, which captures derelict housing in a wasteland construction site, is a reflection of the transformation and gentrification of Brunswick; a process which has impacted them personally. Iain described this massive urban renewal overhaul as a “neighbourhood flipped on its head”. The urban environment continues as a theme in all their album artwork; My Body’s Changing is a shot of the house used in Beyonce’s 2013 clip, No Angel – an old Nona’s house in the back of Brunswick; Suburbia is the most personal, a snapshot of Iain’s mum’s house in the 1960s, where the band wrote “90% of the music”.
Writing, recording and producing their own album would be enough of a challenge for most bands. Not so for Press Club, who whilst doing this, also played an impressive line-up of venues, support slots and festivals, including Sydney’s The Lansdowne, supporting international acts Cloud Nothings (USA), Iron Chic (USA), Dream Wife (UK) and homegrown artists Polish Club. Their festival punch card included The Grampians Music Festival, Festival Of The Sun, Fairgrounds Festival, Falls Festival, and NYE On The Hill. As I said, impressive. In 12 months they performed over 60 shows, and there’s no sign of rest yet. Press Club are supporting fellow Melburnians The Smith Street Band on their 30+ date tour playing every state in seven weeks – big. This also means it’s likely you can catch them in your city.
We close with the name Press Club and where it came from. Sitting in a pub, naturally. Unlike their songs or their artwork, the story behind the name isn’t one being retold, but the story being created; “… It doesn’t matter; I’m of the opinion that they band defines the name, the music defines a song, not the songs title.” And if this year is anything to go by, Press Club are certainly defining their name like no other.
17 March, Pool House Party, Coburg Velodrome, Melbourne w/ Ceres, Jess Locke, Tropical Fuck Storm, Tired Lion and many more.
Also supporting The Smith Street Band on their national tour.