Photo: Dan Grant
Continuing their rise from the suburbs, Verge Collection kicked off a national tour last week in support of their newly released single, For The Story, covering Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Appropriately enough, new stories have already been created.
“It's been amazing,” says vocalist/guitarist, Ben Arnold. “We were just shocked so many people on the East Coast gave a shit and we were able to sell out the shows.
“My highlight so far has been the young woman in Adelaide who after the show, with a big vacant grin on her face, began to slowly vomit all over herself from an upright position. Most people would be distressed in this situation, but she handled it as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening and continued her conversation with her friend who was close by. All the best, weirdest shit seems to happen in the smokers’ area.”
This national tour comes forth from the momentum created by Verge Collection’s mini-hit of 2016, the innately conversational Our Place. It was a local favourite at gigs and via RTR FM airplay before it went national.
“We'd been playing it at our live shows for a while before we released it,” Arnold recalls, “and it was a bit of a fan favourite then so I thought it would get a pretty positive response, but I had no idea of the scale.
“triple j picking it up was a massive spinout and the subsequent offers and gigs we got were absolutely unreal. Even during this tour I was surprised that people still knew it and wanted to hear it… made me feel all warm inside.”
As for the new single, For The Story, it’s pretty clear what it’s about and it kinda does what it says on the tin, but its origins are both fascinating and universal.
“I wrote For The Story as a comment on how young people live their lives with no consideration for the future after my brother told me a story that didn't sit well,” Arnold says. “I don't think I need to go into what the story actually entailed, but I think it’s obvious that this desire to collect as many stories as possible is probably not a great way to live your life.
“I know a lot of people who have done things in life purely to tell other people they've done them, but now regret that attitude.”
From Our Place to For The Story and within, ‘relatable’ seems to be a word used often to describe Verge Collection’s songs. Does Arnold feel relatable?
“I guess I feel relatable in song format,” he responds. “I'm not hugely great at self-analysis, so on a personal level I guess people should just talk to me and make their own minds up.”
Given the everyday-play of his songs, the bands and songwriters that helped shape Arnold’s musicality mightn’t be the ones you’d expect. There are, however, other seeds.
“I think the single greatest influence were bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Vines,” he explains. “I don't think we sound like these bands at all, but it was about the time of those bands that I started learning guitar for the first time.
“Lyrically, I guess, I pinched a bunch of style from Australian authors that I read growing up.”
Verge Collection’s debut album is forthcoming, work of which has been yet another adventure to experience. Arnold is already keen to start album #2 before Christmas, some something must be working out.
“The recording experience has been a little shambolic and I just finished my last vocal part last week, Arnold reveals. “We wanted to do the album as quick as possible, get it out there and start on the next one. I'm stoked with how it sounds now and can’t wait to get it out.
“I think For The Story is a really good indication of the album’s writing and production style. There are a few curveball songs in there, but I think they work with the context of the album.”
Verge Collection round off their For The Story single tour on Friday, August 11, at Jack Rabbit Slim’s (with The Money War and Spring Peaks) and Saturday, August 12, at the Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, (with Pat Chow). More details at https://www.facebook.com/events/236666596840416/