PLAYLIST: Melbourne's School Damage Show Us Their 'A to X'
Last month, Melbourne’s School Damage released their sophomore LP ‘A to X’. It’s an addictive hit of charming DIY pop that keeps you coming back for more. Because they’re as kind as they are talented, they’ve put together one hell of a playlist to jazz up your Friday (and/or weekend). It’s a unique playlist of all their favourite tracks, starting from A and ending at X. We also had a mini catch up with Carolyn Hawkins to chat about the new album, said playlist and the tour that is happening right now.
Press play to get yourself in the mood (and discover some goodies).
Your latest album is an infectious collection of explosive, catchy tracks. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process?
Thank you! We recorded it quite a while ago now - March 2017 - over a weekend with Billy Gardner (of Ausmuteants / Living Eyes / ANTI FADE Records fame), who recorded the first album. He's super easy to work with, and we recorded it in the house that Dani was living in at the time - a dreamy warehouse situation in a North Fitzroy alleyway. I remember it being pretty stress-free, and we got Moroccan Soup Kitchen for lunch (yum). Against Billy's advice, we decided to use the same temperamental eight track recorder (although it's more like six tracks because two inputs are broken) that we used for the first album, but I think we also ended up recording quite a bit directly into the computer (I don't know heaps about the recording process - does this even make sense?!) so I think the sound is less crazy wobbly than the first album. Maybe we'll shed the questionable 'wobble-pop' descriptor after all.
What’s the School Damage creative process like? Who writes the songs?
Generally, Jake or I will make a demo, and then show everyone. The way the song ends up sounding once everyone joins in is often radically different to the demo, which I am eternally grateful for, and is a testament to the importance of collaboration. My demos are often just two tracks anyway - singing, and keyboard/keyboard drums - so I need help from everyone to make it into something actually worth listening to! In terms of who writes what: it generally seems to be the case that the songs I write, I sing, and the songs Jake writes, he sings.
What was one of the weirdest instruments or recording techniques you used while making the album?
I just went through the whole album then and there is literally NOTHING weird in the recording of this album. No unorthodox techniques, no strange instrumentation, not even percussion! I guess we'll have to trash a hotel room or something when we go on tour this weekend, or else risk going down in history as 'World's Most Boring Band'.
Who are some local Melbourne bands that everyone needs to know about?
I think my absolute number one fave at the moment is THIBAULT - which is Nicole Thibault from Minimum Chips' current band. School Damage got to play with them at our Melbourne launch last weekend and it was just so good. My favourite album in the past year was The Green Child LP, I just have not stopped thrashing that. Primo, Big Supermarket and Matt Harkin are my other recent favourites. And of course, Terry - who we're lucky enough to be playing a bunch of album launches with really soon. I love their new single 'Bureau'. And I got to see Spiritual Mafia and The Snakes last weekend, both really good!
What does a song need to do to in order to make it on to one of your playlists? What’s the criteria?
I can only speak on behalf of my choices (all four of us picked songs for this playlist), but I don't exactly have a very strict selection process (why it is that I like the things I like? No idea). For this one we just chose our favourite songs starting from letters A to X. I picked some songs I've loved forever (‘Feel Flows’ by Beach Boys, ‘Tell Me Why’ by the Golden Dawn) and some ones that I've been getting heaps into only recently (‘Headcheese Heartthrob’ by BB Eye, ‘Plastic Sword’ by Exek). I love making playlists with Dani, Jeff and Jake because I always discover something new - my favourite discovery from this playlist is Dani's choice of 'Waiting Time' by Ya Ya Choral. It just has the most perfect feeling.
What would be the ideal place, time or scenario for people to press play on the below playlist?
I guess it’s a pretty eclectic playlist, so it's hard to say. Just make sure you're not in the middle of a family dinner or something when ‘Erotic City’ by Prince comes on.
A to X is a high energy album, which generally means the live show will be too. What do you want people to feel when they walk away from a School Damage gig?
Hmmm well since I'm the oversensitive-approval-seeking type, I guess I would want them to like it. But in terms of wanting the audience to feel something in particular? Hopefully they feel something. Hopefully it's good. Maybe something like this:
A to X is out now via Chapter Music. You can get involved at the below venues:
Friday 21st September, Vic on the Park, Sydney (with Angie + Display Homes)
Saturday 22nd September, The Servo (afternoon show), Wollongong
Saturday 22nd September, Polish Club, Canberra (with New Age Group + Cure)
Sunday 23rd September, Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth (with Frag)
Saturday 29th September, The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart (with Smooth For Radio + The Pits)
Thursday 11th October, Reverence Hotel, Footscray (with Terry)
Friday 12th October, The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine (with Terry)
Saturday 13th October, Barwon Club, Geelong (with Terry + U-Bahn + Bananagun)
Sunday 14th October, Bahas, Rye (with Terry)
Friday 19th October, Bloodhound Bar, Brisbane (with Lexicon + Scraps)
Saturday 20th October, Bad Habit Records, Ipswich (with Glen Schenau)