The city of Newcastle, NSW is home to some of Australia’s greatest rock acts, with bands like Silverchair and The Screaming Jets paving the way for future indie rock acts. Meet Dave the Band – the three-piece making their way through their hometown, gigging around the local pub scene. While they may be seem like that lowkey, humble band proud of being from Newcastle, the band have some pretty high hopes, like recording their debut album in the USA with legendary producer Steve Albini.
We caught up with Dave enthusiast and songwriter Noah Church to gain a little more insight on the band, their big recording adventure stateside, their DIY work ethic and their lowkey life being… er, slobs. By the end of the interview, you’ll kinda want to know a legend named Dave yourself!
Hey guys! Congrats on releasing your new album, Slob Stories! First up, let’s clear up the air in the room – who is Dave and why are you named after him?
There’s a little Dave in everyone. Sometimes he frustrates you with his unbridled exuberance and enthusiasm, but most of the time he’s the friend that you turn to after a long and shitty day.
Slob Stories was born out of an adventure to the US to record the album with legendary producer Steve Albini. Tell us how 3 guys from Newcastle ended up making a record in the US?
We sent an email to the studio, saved up all of our money and booked it. Since high school, Gabe and I had fantasised about recording with Steve Albini. One day, we realised that we could actually make it happen, so we did.
Love a band with big goals and ambition! So how did Steve help you in making the record you wanted to make?
He got out of the way and let us be ourselves. It was one of the first times we’d worked with someone who wasn’t interested in adding their personal touch to the recordings. It helped us make a record that accurately represents us as a band. Nothing was a hassle for Steve and he was only interested in serving the songs and our vision.
Writing the record, what were you influenced by?
Albums that Steve had recorded at Electrical Audio were obviously a huge influence in our decision to go there. Cloud Nothings’ Wasted Days and Songs: Ohia’s Magnolia Electric Co are standouts. Built To Spill are probably our biggest influence as a collective. We’ve spent countless hours driving up and down the M1 with their CD’s blaring.
Which song on the album pushed you the hardest as a band?
Most of the things we do happen in an organic and instinctive way. We have the mentality of “the more you think, the more you stink.” ‘Endstart’ is the song that probably took us the longest down nail down when we were writing the album back at home. We went through a few different versions with varying structures until we found the one that felt right. ‘Sadsack’ also pushed us in terms of its vulnerability. If we’d done the album a few years earlier I probably wouldn’t have shown it to the guys.
And did you guys get to play any shows in America whilst you were over there?
Yea! We were a little wary of booking shows in America because we were travelling on tourist visas, but a few days before we left, I sent a Facebook message to a dive bar called Phyllis’ Musical Inn. I found them because the Chicago Lonely Planet said they were a venue where “the quality could be hit or miss” and they “gave up-and-coming bands a go.” I thought they seemed like a great fit for us! We played there the second night we were in Chicago and they asked us to come back the next weekend. We also booked a show in Brooklyn in a similar fashion.
Fuck yeah! Your DIY ethic is inspiring! How are you looking to engage your fans with your music in the COVID musical landscape?
With a shit-hot album, of course. Also trying to be more present on social media. It’s something we’ve never been too fussed about but have found it a great and meaningful way to stay connected during isolation.
What’s one positive you’ll take from the year 2020?
That the Penrith Panthers are going to win the comp.
So let’s close out with this… which one of you is the bigger slob in the band?
We’re all slobs in our own special way, but it’s gotta be Max.
While I won’t hold your choice in footy team against ya, it was a pleasure getting to know you lads. Stay safe out there!
Interview By Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Dave the Band’s new album, Slob Stories is out Friday. Pre-order here
Dave the Band – Slob Stories tracklisting:
2. Where You Are
3. Footy Socks
4. Get Smart
10. Eating Me Up