THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS - ROSS CHANDLER
It looks like we’re in for a real treat London. Winter is more than halfway through and The John Steel Singers have just revealed that they are coming to the UK. If anyone can make you feel like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, then it’s these five dudes from Brisbane, Australia. They took care of the production side of things with their second LP Everything’s A Thread, before placing it into the capable hands of Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Wild Nothing, Dirty Projectors) for mixing. The end result - a magical yet diverse hit of grimey funk to get you pumped up for the warmer months. We caught up with drummer Ross Chandler to see how things are tracking.
Your sound has evolved a lot since the early days. Are you at a point where you feel satisfied with the music you’re putting out?
We are all really proud of our album ‘Everything’s A Thread’. I think we are a bit braver now to go into different territories, and to not shy away from making things really gritty by escaping a clean pop sound. Many of the new songs are coming from jams as a whole band and dissecting them into structured songs - which I think has definitely played a big role in the direction of the band’s sound. We’ve gone through a lot of bass players in the past, but Scott who has been in the band from its genesis has taken up bass duties now. His bass lines have been giving us all a lot of inspiration and appreciation.
You all come across as pretty damn fun. What are the live shows like?
Under-rehearsed, awkward in-between song banter, extended jams and polite audiences that clap after each song.
Why did you decide to do the production side of things on your own? Pros and Cons?
I think there was a stronger sense of what we wanted from this album and we weren’t restricted by studio costs so it seemed like an obvious move. We recorded the album at Luke’s parents house and our old rehearsal room over the space of about a year. There’s always a lot of ideas flowing with five people in the band, which can sometimes get a bit crazy. A producer is great as a person outside that bubble, but it meant we had more time on our side. Although at times it was tough, it was a positive decision which we’ll keep pursuing for further albums.
What were some weird instruments you used while recording that took you by surprise?
We used an organ that was a roadside pick up find, along with a super cheap synth and a $10 talkback mic.
Can you give us a couple of artists (old and new) that you have been listening to lately?
Goat, Mac Demarco, Cave, Captain Beefheart, Television, Sly & The Family Stone.
You were tucked away in the studio for a long time. Any moments of drunk delirium/genius you’d like to share with us?
A few hours of Balinese flute that the world isn’t ready for yet.
Finally, what’s on the radar for 2014?
UK touring, late night studio sessions and trying to pay bills.