FROM: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA | FOR FANS OF: MARMOZETS, JOYCE MANOR
WORDS: ZAK SLOMAN
Despite having only been in existence for what has been a relatively short period of time, Press Club have already gained quite a reputation for themselves with a hard work ethic, having played over a hundred live sets across their native Australia, and an indie-punk sound that seems to truly speak to a generation who are maturing in what is currently a volatile world.
And next month, the four-piece will be embarking on a tour that will see them perform their first British and European dates, which is something that they are all very excited about. “We can’t wait!” says bassist Ian “Rufio” MacRae, who, along with vocalist Natalie Foster, has taken the time to speak to us directly from Down Under, “I’ve been to the UK before, but for Natalie, Greg (Rietwyk, guitarist), and Frank (Lees, drummer), it will be their first time ever.”
The tour is to promote the collective’s debut album, ‘Late Teens’, which came out towards the end of January, and has so far had overwhelmingly positive feedback, which has led Kerrang! magazine to declare them as one of their hot tips for 2019.
“I think there’s an element to punk in that you mean exactly what you’re saying, and there’s no bullshit involved”
Press Club’s journey began in Brunswick, a former industrial suburb of Melbourne which has now become the city’s go-to destination for creative types, where the four members were all born and bred. All meeting at their local school, they bonded over a mutual love of music that spanned a wide range of genres from Motown to thrash metal, however, it would be punk that ultimately drew them closer together. “We would all go to these underage shows at bars and clubs across Melbourne, which were full of punk bands,” recalls Rufio, “and we were drawn to the honest expressions of emotion, be it frustration, helplessness, anger, whatever.”
Natalie adds to this by saying, “I think there’s an element to punk in that you mean exactly what you’re saying, and there’s no bullshit involved either, so I think there were, and still are, a lot of kids out there, us included, that wanted to believe what the bands were saying, and feel something as a result of that.” Despite this, Natalie is keen to point out that the outfit are not, and never have been, wholly punk, the case being that “they happen to play punky music.”
Although they had already become a tight-knit unit, the young Aussies elected to join other collectives on the Melbourne underground music scene, and it wouldn’t be until 2016 that Press Club would start in earnest, with Rufio explaining how that happened. “My mum was going away on holiday for six weeks, so she let me and the rest of the band move into her house. We brought all of our musical gear with us, and so we decided to have a few jams, which eventually became full-on songwriting sessions.” And from those emerged 40 tracks, which the band then whittled down to the 11 that would form the album’s playlist, with Natalie joking through stifled laughter, “We had to sift through some real shit to find the songs that we truly liked!”, to which Rufio quickly adds, “It was a disgusting process, but we got there in the end!”
“…I would end up on the ground each time, almost in tears….”
The following January, the band recorded the album over a five-day period in the midst of a sweltering heatwave. Rufio recalls, “It was 42 degrees outside every day, and the studio had no air conditioning, and no ventilation.” Despite what must have been a very uncomfortable experience, the four-piece soldiered on, starting early in the morning and working long into the evenings. “We all just bashed everything out,” Natalie says, “and if we didn’t nail a take, we would just keep going until we had gotten it exactly right.”
All that, as well as dealing with personal, emotionally-charged lyrics, did take its toll on the quartet, especially on Natalie. “With ‘Golden States’, I really wanted to make sure that my true emotions came across, but I had lost my voice. It was a real nightmare to record, and even after three or four takes, I still wasn’t getting it right, so I would end up on the ground each time, almost in tears.”
However, Natalie and Rufio both agree that this helped to effectively capture the raw honesty that can be heard throughout the record, and even though the outfit have already accumulated much success and acclaim, they certainly won’t be resting on their laurels, what with all of the band members in full-time employment (Natalie working in graphic design, and Rufio running a pub), and lots more planned for when the upcoming tour concludes.
Natalie finishes things off by saying, “We will be releasing more music, playing more shows, as everyone in the band, myself and Rufio included, want to be in this for the long-haul.”
CATCH PRESS CLUB AT GROEZROCK 2019: