Having turned heads upon the release of their fiery track ‘God Complex’ earlier this year, Melbourne slacker punks OKAY DANE returns with a second serving of expertly crafted rock music time in new single, ‘Headache’. Taken from their debut EP ALIENATION – released November 29th – the sounds fit perfectly with what we’ve heard from Okay Dane already this year. Fast paced, anthemic and rooted in fun and energetic rock territory, the new music from the band is a great indicator of what is still to come. When they make it out west they’re definitely worth checking out.
Wanting to know more, but feeling a bit slack ourselves, Around The Sound had Okay Dane vocalist and guitarist, Jake, and bass player, Liam, write us a letter. Here’s what they wrote …
The initial idea’s that led to our new EP Alienation started to take form in the weeks before embarking on our tour off the back of our single ‘Pretend’ earlier in 2019. We wanted a brand new set for that tour that showcased our new-found sense of identity that came along with ‘Pretend’ and so we went to work writing and came up with about 6 new songs to take out on the road. We set off to write songs that would evoke different feelings in our audience, in particular we wanted a thrashy punk opener that would get people going, and Liam and I brought in different versions of this idea. Liam had this frenzied bass line that he wrote after a Bakers Eddy binge that had heaps of fast changes and attitude, I brought in an energised punk riff that I’d written after listening to nothing but early Green Day and PUP’s ‘Morbid Stuff’, these two song’s became ‘Headache’ and ‘You’re Sick’, which we would alternate as openers for that tour. The only song on the EP that wasn’t written for this tour is the closer ‘Weak’, this song was born out of two song ideas, a down-beat and bummed out groove that Liam had written, and a tired fuzzy grunge demo that I had put together. We found out in the studio from producer Jon Grace that these two ideas when combined made a sparse and moody backdrop that felt like Pixies and Silversun Pickups had a baby that was raised by Billy Corgan. This ended up becoming my favourite song on the record as it’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been from both a lyrical and vocal performance standpoint.
The recording process was the most fun we’ve had as a band, it was extremely satisfying to watch all these song ideas we had brought in take shape and evolve in to their final form. Jon was instrumental in bringing the best out of these songs, whether it was trying unorthodox methods to get the best takes, meditating with us on a piece of music for ages to find the right melody or lyric, or messaging us at 2am with ideas he’d sing in to his phone. It was truly a collaborative effort and Jon put as much of himself into the record as we did. Tracking guitars on this EP was also a blast, the tones we pulled were colossal and the experimental nature of the recording led to some spectacular results.
Our song-writing process has been pretty consistent for the whole time we’ve been playing together. Generally one of us will bring the guts of a song to the group (normally a verse, chorus, and bridge) and we work on arranging it together. With this approach we manage to achieve some really unique music, with each member coming at a potential song with a different approach and different vision on what the song should be. Mine and Jake’s song-writing style seems to really work well together, with one person’s strong point being the others weakness. The whole EP with the exception of ‘Weak’ was actually written quite hastily in order to have some fresh material to perform for our first east coast tour. The trial by fire seemed to work however, as of the 20 demos we brought to the table for potential recording, all four of the tour tracks were chosen.
The real secret to us not sounding painfully amateur is our resident engineer/producer/cat enthusiast; Jon Grace. As well as being yet another pair of fresh ears (he’s basically a member of the band by now, he knows too much) his approach to re-arranging the instrumentals and melodies, as well as getting good takes out of us, was insane. Everything from dancing while you’re playing, to getting your ear licked at an unexpected moment when recording a guitar solo, nothing was off the table if it meant getting the perfect take.