Augie March frontman and principle songwriter Glenn Richards is having trouble with his two warring cats when we check in with him on the progress of the much-loved Melbourne band's latest record, their second since coming back from an indefinite hiatus.
"These cats were the reason we got kicked out of the first studio we had in Hobart. We'd just finished the fit-out and we were having some friends around for a party and the landlord showed up unannounced, and the cats shot between his legs and that was that. It was meant to be a pet-free house. He was a bit of a dick, an ex-cop or something. The place we're in now is great though, so maybe it was meant to be."
Tentatively titled "Bootikins", the record has been percolating since Augie March finished a brief tour for their triumphant return record 2014's Havens Dumb, with Richards recording ideas between his Hobart studio and Melbourne.
"It's not ideal, but it's necessary from an economic point of view. It allows a hell of a lot of freedom doing your own overdubs at your own leisure. This time around though, because I'm here in Tassie, it's hard for us to get any sort of groove together. I go over there [to Melbourne] and rehearse and then pretty much the next day go into the studio and record. It's just not the same as having been on tour for a few months. We do OK but it's not the same thing."
In an effort to get their groove back, Augie March decided to work on the record in blocks, getting on board legendary Aussie producer Tony Cohen (the Birthday Party, the Cruel Sea).
"This time we decided to go into a nice old studio called Sound Park in Northcote. Tony Cohen has always wanted to do a record with us so he pretty much said, 'Look, if you guys are cool with me coming out of retirement then let's have a crack at it.' We decided we could handle that."
Richards says that recording with Cohen in an analog studio was a familiar feeling, "Doing tracks to 2-inch tape and pretty much live, it's a bit of a return to how we started out. We try not to do over four or five takes, which might be laziness, but you play with a bit more of an edge."
"We were thinking of recording a couple of EPs but I think there's enough songs for a new album. I'm not really sure how it's supposed to work [with release formats] anymore, so when we realised we had enough for an album we thought, 'Let's just do that'. Because we'll press to vinyl straight away, that's the way we're imagining the record. We'll try and keep it economical, 5 tracks per-side or something. We're visualising it that way."
Richards laughs when we Google the title and come up with hits like "Torture" and "Caligula". "That sounds about right!"
Augie March are playing a rare show at the Corner Hotel in Richmond as part of Leaps and Bounds Festival on July 13.
Top photo: Augie March and producer Tony Cohen (centre).
Topics: Augie March