Press Club, from Late Teens to Wasted Energy
Introduction by Carina Ortiz, Interview by Abby Strangward
Melbourne group Press Club have been one to watch since their first album back in 2017, Late Teens, thrust them into the Australian and European spotlight, earning them festival slots all over both continents, plus a swathe of high-profile support slots (Japandroids, DZ Deathrays, Joyce Manor, and more). Playing over 50 live shows a year since then, they can be recognised through their insane work ethic and signature live, DIY process to putting together their albums.
Now, they’ve come out with Wasted Energy, their second full-length album. Wasted Energy is an expression of angst that’s hard to resist. Right off the bat, vocalist Natalie Foster makes her presence powerful in the opening track, Seperate Houses. “I keep on pretending that I’m getting better,” she sings over and over again in the last few lines; you can hear the frustration in her voice as she follows the chords on. As track two kicks in effortlessly - Dead or Dying - I can’t help but picture this being played live. The vocals and instrumentals are powerful in how they transport you elsewhere.
While the first tracks might come off as good ol’ punk rock, track three and four - Thinking About You and Chosen Ones - give the album an edge, fluctuating between Press Club’s typical sound, and a more mellow edge. “Obsessing” is the more obvious sadder one of the bunch; written about literally obsessing over somebody and truly only wanting to make them happy despite whatever it is you feel. “I can wait while we wait for things to settle down/Cause I like it, like it when you tell me what is wrong/ Tell me what you're thinking/ Everybody's looking at me/ I can't make it out of this dream,” selfishly, this track is my favorite. I found myself jamming out to it as I replayed it repeatedly before I continued with the rest of the album.
We’re all obsessed over something or someone, tangible or intangible. It’s the human in us, which is exactly why this track is probably the most relatable on the project.
You can feel the raw emotion in each song, even as you progress further and further through the album. Ultimately, it’s filled with personal sentiment, which is to be expected of any piece of work - however, the style in which the band presents it is something special that sits with you even after upon the very first listen. I found myself replaying select songs over and over again, just to dive deeper into the lyrics, and essentially, I found the album to be a perfect representation of the myriad emotions we attempt to deal with as we navigate through everyday life.
This album release comes with the announcement of a huge Europe/UK tour, and later this year, a massive national headlining tour that’ll take them across every state of Australia. Press Club celebrated the release of the album with an intimate, one-off show at Oh! Jean Records in Fitzroy, where they played the album from start to finish. We were lucky enough to catch up with lead singer Natalie Foster just before the show and talk all things Melbourne, the new album, their approach to live shows (arguably the most impressive element of the band), and what advice they’d throw out to local teens looking to start their own band.
So, how are you guys going? You’ve had an absolutely insane couple of years!
Yeah! I feel like the last 2 years were huge for us, at least in Australia - we played like 50 or so shows each year, which is pretty intense.
Yeah, the drive and the work ethic you have is unbelievable. How do you keep that up?
I think we’ve been really fortunate to get a lot of recognition from all the hard work we put in. Every bit of work and effort we’ve contributed has come back around and given us a bit more success in return, so we’ve been super lucky – we’ve never really had a lull. We’ve been able to keep pushing on and diving in.
You guys grew up just around here, didn’t you?
Yeah - so we’re standing just behind Oh! Jean Records right now in Fitzroy, and I… I live in East Brunswick, Ian’s in East Brunswick, Frank’s in West Brunswick now, and Greg lives in Collingwood. I actually grew up in Ballarat, but Ian and Frank both grew up around here and I think Greg was out in the western suburbs.
How do you think Melbourne, as a city, has shaped how you’ve grown and developed as a band?
It’s really impacted me in the musicians I’ve been able to meet. You know, I’d never have met these guys if I wasn’t in Melb – I came here to study music, and that’s how I ended up meeting Ian, and then the rest of the guys.
I know a lot of young musicians from around here who are moving overseas to pursue music, but I - personally - love the scene here. I think it’s so vibrant and busy and alive at the moment.
Yeah, you can definitely make it work. Honestly, I think people are probably moving away because they just want to move away, especially when they’re young. I would’ve done the same when I was younger, if the right opportunity had come up. But I always had things that kept me back here – every band I was in before Press Club I was always so driven to be in and doing things with. My whole life has kind of revolved around not going on holidays and that kind of thing, in case a band I was in was doing something.
“Honestly, I probably would’ve [moved overseas] too when I was
younger, if the right opportunity had come up.”
Which just comes back to your incredible drive and work ethic.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I still fit holidays and stuff like that in, but I’m just really flat out - we all are!
Recording your debut LP, Late Teens, was a very DIY process - you did all the recordings live and yourself, did the art yourself - has that changed with this new album?
Well, no. But yes.
A bit of both, I guess. We did everything ourselves again - Greg is an incredible studio engineer, so we recorded it all at our Woodstock studio, with a couple of assistant studio engineers that helped us throughout the process, and then he mixed the whole album. And we definitely still recorded it as live as possible - a lot of the vocal takes are the ones that were recorded at the same time we were doing instrumentals. And then the artwork, yeah, I did that again myself!
So, in Australia, we’ve released it independently again, and then over in UK/Europe we have Hassle Records, which is how we’ve been able to set up two tours over there this year! It absolutely makes a difference, having that. I suppose the biggest difference is we have other people we need to work with, now.
“I think it’s just that we’re not quite ready to relinquish the money and
the rights and all that stuff, everything that comes with signing to a label.”
Do you find recording and releasing your albums that way, so independently, just gives you more freedom? What’s the reasoning behind it for you guys?
I think it’s just that we’re not quite ready to relinquish the money and the rights and all that stuff, everything that comes with signing to a label. And, well, because we do actually have the ability to do it ourselves, it’s like…
You might as well!
What do you think influenced this new album most? Was it other music, events in your life, each other…?
I guess the first album we recorded, we weren’t even playing together yet, or really playing any live shows at all, so we were bringing a lot of different influences and ideas to the table. Whereas with this one, we’ve all been playing shows every weekend for the last however-long, so I guess… we’ve been together for a while now, and that’s sort of influencing it. Our influences are kind of merging into one.
Kind of inspired by each other?
A lot of my friends saw you guys at New Slang the other month and were raving about the performance & the energy, especially you, Natalie. Your shows seem to be kinda infamous for that - is the live aspect really important to you guys?
For sure! That’s always been one of the most important things for us. That’s why we do all our records as live as we can, too, so we can capture that energy, and re-create it live and on stage. Which is always - you know, we always have a difficult time trying to capture that live moment in albums and recordings. I do think we’re pretty lucky, though, to be able to try and capture as much of it as we can.
“That’s why we do all our records as live as we can, too, so we can
capture that energy, and re-create it live and on stage.”
I reckon a lot of the teens in the crowd tonight probably wanna start their own band, or are even in a band - what advice would you give them?
Just to write heaps of music. And when you think you’ve written a great song, write more. Our first album – and our second album, actually – have both been cut back from about 30-40 songs down to eleven or twelve. You can always write better. And also to play heaps - as much as you can. Go to gigs and get inspiration from people. If you see someone that you like - well, what do you like about them? Take bits and pieces from everyone, and take constructive criticism, always.
What’s one thing you could do as a band - an achievement, an award, a show, a festival, whatever - that you could do and feel like, that’s it, we’ve well and truly made it.
Honestly, for me, it’s just so exciting every time we play a big festival that we haven’t played before. You get this buzz, and then you move on and you do the next one. There’s always another step.
Always the next thing.
Yeah! I don’t know what the next one is, but we’re just taking each day as it comes.
CATCH PRESS CLUB LIVE ON THEIR UPCOMING TOURS:
UK/EUROPE TOUR DATES
Thu Aug 22 - The Parish, Huddersfield UK
Fri Aug 23 - Reading Festival, Reading UK
Sat Aug 24 - Leeds Festival, Leeds UK
Sun Aug 25 - Greenbelt Festival, Northamptonshire UK
Tue Aug 27 - Redrum, Stafford UK
Wed Aug 28 - Bodega, Nottingham UK
Thu Aug 29 - Surf Cafe, Newcastle UK
Frid Aug 30 - Broadcast, Glasgow UK
Sat Aug 31 - Night People, Manchester UK
Tue Sep 3 - Annie's, Worcester UK
Wed Sep 4 - Bermuda Bob’s Hi-Fi, Norwich UK
Thu Sep 5 - New Cross Inn, London UK
Fri Sep 6 - Prince Albert, Brighton UK
Sun Sep 8 - Cinetol, Amsterdam NL
Tue Sep 10 – Haldern Pop Bar, Haldern DE
Wed Sep 11 - Sonic Ballroom, Cologne DE
Thu Sep 12 - Alte Hackerei, Karlsruhe DE
Fri Sep 13 - Dynamo, Zurich CH
Sat Sep 14 - Strom, Munich DE
Sun Sep 15 - Cross Club, Prague CZ
Wed Sep 18 - Stengade - Copenhagen DK
Thu Sep 19 & Friday Sep 20 - Reeperbahn, Hamburg DE
Sat Sep 21 - Vera, Groningen NL
AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
with special guest Johnny Hunter
Thur Oct 31 - UC Hub, Canberra ACT
Fri Nov 1 - The Lansdowne, Sydney NSW
Sat Nov 2 - The Cambridge, Newcastle NSW
Thu Nov 7 - The Gaso, Melbourne VIC
Sat Nov 9 - Hobart Brewing Company, Hobart TAS
Fri Nov 15 - Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC
Sat Nov 16 - The Westernport, San Remo VIC
Thur Nov 21 - Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
Fri Nov 22 – Pelly Bar, Frankston VIC **
Fri Nov 29 - Sooki Lounge, Belgrave VIC **
Sat Nov 30 - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Thu Dec 5 - Dunsborough Hotel, Dunsborough WA **
Fri Dec 6 - Lucy’s Love Shack, Perth WA
(** Johnny Hunter not appearing)