City Calm Down vocalist Jack Bourke is calling from Richmond's Bakehouse Studios, where he and bassist Jeremy Sonnenberg are doing some additional tracking on a song from their as-yet-untitled second album. The Melbourne quartet's follow-up to 2015 debut In a Restless House is, he thinks, about "80 per cent complete", saying that "all the songs for the most part are written, so what we're working out is just production elements and how we want them to sound".
Earlier this year, the band spent 10 days at Soundpark studios in Northcote and another 10 at Rolling Stock Recording Rooms in Collingwood with producer Malcolm Beasley (who helmed their debut), laying down the bones of the album. All that's left now is to finesse and flesh out the record at Bakehouse and in their home studios.
Given that it took them seven years from forming in 2008 to release their debut album, work on the follow-up has been surprisingly swift. "One of the things we went through with the first album was just learning to write songs," says Bourke. "We spent so much time dicking around on the computer, we were obsessed with sounds, but we hadn't really worked out how to write a song. Through putting that first record together we realised there's a method to writing songs, and there's an approach you need to take where you're trying to create an arc of a song, and we just got better at feeling our way through those arcs. Our intuition is better, so things have come together a bit faster."
Song titles are yet to be determined, though lyrically Bourke says themes concerning the "pace of modern life" and "expectations that what we're doing should be very meaningful, [driving] you to go a bit too hard and put too much on the line" are emerging. One song also essays a "bike accident happening in slow motion".
Musically, Bourke promises a few tracks that are "very different from the first album", while he refers to one song in particular that was a "monster" to wrangle, with the band spending "at least 30 or 40 hours trying to work out the instrumental arrangement for the final part".
"It turned into a nightmare, we kind of went off the deep end," he laughs, "but now we've been able to hear it come together, so we're all pretty stoked with how it's sounding."
From issue #787 (June 2017), available now.
Topics: City Calm Down