PRESS CLUB

PRESS CLUB AREN’T THE DIY DELIN­QUENTS WE DE­SERVE RIGHT NOW, BUT THEY’RE THE ONES WE NEED. MATT DO­RIA DIVES HEAD­FIRST INTO THEIR HEAD-SPIN­NING DE­BUT WITH GUI­TARIST GREG RIETWYK.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

Dive head­first into the mind-melt­ing de­but al­bum from DIY delin­quets Press Club.

It wasn’t even 18 months ago that Press Club played their first ever gig. Since then, they’ve taken to club, theatre and fes­ti­val stages all across the coun­try, in­clud­ing a 32-date run with genre stal­warts The Smith Street Band. And then there’s the lit­tle mat­ter of their de­but al­bum: the raw ’n’ ravenous LateTeens.

Writ­ten in the fam­ily home of bassist Iain MacRae and thrown to­gether over a sweaty six days (dur­ing which front­woman Nat Fos­ter down­right shred­ded her voice, lead­ing to some beau­ti­fully grungy vo­cal takes), the record is an am­bi­tious feat for the Melbourne quar­tet. But, thank­fully, it’s one they pulled off with­out a hitch. We caught up with gui­tarist, pro­ducer, en­gi­neer and all-time leg­end Greg Rietwyk to ru­mi­nate on what’ll surely end up as one of the year’s big­gest break­out hits.

It’s a lit­tle mind-blow­ing that we have a full-length al­bum this soon, given how fresh Press Club still are to the scene. What made you want to pump this record out so quickly?

I think we just had a good plan for it. We ac­tu­ally recorded it in Jan­uary of last year, so we’ve been sit­ting on it for a while. We just wanted to build a solid fan­base in that in­terim – we didn’t want to just drop an al­bum to no-one. It made sense to do a full al­bum as well; we’ve al­ways wanted to give peo­ple a proper body of work.

Have the four of you writ­ten much new mu­sic in the past year?

We’re con­stantly writ­ing! We’re just worka­holics in that sense. I think the song­writ­ing process is where the four of us en­joy spend­ing most of our time, so to get straight back into that once the al­bum was done was su­per im­por­tant for us. Ob­vi­ously, it’s been a bit dif­fi­cult be­cause we’ve been busy on the gig front, and it’s go­ing to get even harder as we come into the next few months of tour­ing, but we’re try­ing to write any­way. We’re not ex­actly sure of the fig­ure that we’ve got right now, but there’s about 20 or 30 “struc­tures” of songs that are be­ing worked on at the mo­ment.

What was your creative vi­sion be­hind the DIY record­ing process of LateTeens?

The whole kind of ethos be­hind it was to cap­ture how we sound play­ing in a room to­gether, and ob­vi­ously, the best way to do that was to ac­tu­ally play in a room to­gether, record it live and just let it all pour out nat­u­rally. We’ve had some ex­pe­ri­ence in mak­ing mu­sic like that be­fore, but this was to­tally us go­ing, “Let’s just see what hap­pens!” We wanted to see if we could cap­ture that raw en­ergy with­out click tracks or any­thing like that – just feel it and play it ’til the song sounds right. There were very min­i­mal over­dubs; for some of the gui­tar parts, I per­son­ally just like the way it sounds when it’s a lit­tle more full, so some of the stuff is just dou­bled.

When I had my first lis­ten to the al­bum, my im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion was, “Holy shit, I’m back at BIGSOUND watch­ing Press Club tear The Foundry up with sweat drip­ping down the walls!” Do you think record­ing live was es­sen­tial in cap­tur­ing that char­ac­ter?

To­tally. In my opin­ion as an en­gi­neer, there isn’t a way to do that later on – there’s just some kind of magic that hap­pens when you’re ac­tu­ally play­ing to­gether. Even the tiny things, like a vis­ual cue from your drum­mer: those are what sort of dic­tates the en­ergy. I think a re­ally im­por­tant part of it is the fluc­tu­a­tions in tempo, which were in­ten­tional on our part – we could be sec­tional about things and be like, “This part needs to be pushed a lit­tle more.” That kind of thing hap­pens nat­u­rally with a lot of bands when they’re play­ing live, but they’ll fail to cap­ture that on a record be­cause once you’re in the stu­dio, ev­ery­thing is sud­denly quite clin­i­cal; you’re record­ing to a click track, and you might not even be play­ing at the same time as the drum­mer. I just wanted to avoid those kinds of pit­falls. We did record to a dig­i­tal for­mat, which was Pro Tools, but when we started record­ing, we said, “Let’s just treat this like it’s a tape recorder, in that you can’t go and edit ev­ery­thing.” We weren’t go­ing, “Let’s be purists and record to tape, and ev­ery­thing we use has to be stuff they used in the ‘70s,” but some of the ways we thought about record­ing an al­bum were very old school.

Let’s talk gui­tars! What are you shredding on at the mo­ment?

This stuff al­ways changes, as it prob­a­bly does for any per­son that plays the gui­tar [ laughs]. My setup at the mo­ment is an ’89 Rick­en­backer Maple­glo 330, which was ac­tu­ally gifted to me last year – or the money for it was, any­way; all of my friends and fam­ily chipped in and raised the cap­i­tal for it on my 30th birth­day be­cause my girl­friend knew that I was pin­ing for a Ricky. It was just a lucky eBay find, re­ally. And I re­cently got a ’79 Prince­ton Re­verb – it’s only a small one-by-ten combo, but it rips, man!

So that wouldn’t have been what you played on the al­bum, would it?

I didn’t have the Ricky then, so that would’ve been my ’52 Tele­caster reis­sue. That was like a mid-2000s gui­tar with a Bigsby on it. I do kind of miss the Bigsby – that’s the only fea­ture that the Ricky doesn’t have! And then the amp I played on pre­dom­i­nantly was my mate’s Match­less Phoenix 35. Any time we needed a lit­tle over­dubbed gui­tar on the record, I found that just plug­ging into that and crank­ing the shit out of it gave us a re­ally cool sound.

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