City Calm Down's Jack on Echoes in Blue
“It’ll be interesting to see what the response is! It’s definitely the most personal songs that we’ve released, or the most personal to me, writing the lyrics. I wouldn’t say that my experience is uncommon, taking this sort of uncommon challenge. I think a lot of the things I’m writing about, are quite common to a lot of people.”
“I wasn’t necessarily trying to write the lyrics with that in mind, I was just grappling, trying to work out what I was feeling and use that as a starting point for the lyrical narrative. I guess if people identify with that, that’s great, but if not that also is fine. It was almost a therapeutic process for me, going through that.”
Last Friday, City Calm Down released their new album, Echoes in Blue. It’s a stunning piece of work packed to the brim with genuine emotion and touching tracks. We caught up with vocalist Jack Bourke to talk about the album and the band’s upcoming tour.
Echoes in Blue is the long-awaited follow up to In a Restless House, released in 2015. The band actually started writing shortly after that album’s release.
“We just got cracking straight away, which was really good.”
“By the time it got to producing, we’d had enough time to really think about how we wanted the record to sound and what we wanted to do differently from a production point of view with Echoes in Blue.”
So when it came to setting up sessions, we split everything up over about four or five months which allowed us to go in for a week or two and take a break for a couple of weeks and then finish it and do a verse, or two or three a day over the next few months so we could listen back to what we’d done, make some changes, do some extra work at home. I could finish writing lyrics.” he laughed.
“So that’s sort of how Echoes in Blue came to life. It was a much more prolonged process than the writing process for In a Restless House. Even though In a Restless House was three years after the EP prior.”
The album saw the band returning to work with Malcolm Besley, who also produced their debut album. He’s someone who Jack speaks fondly of due to his ability to bring a certain levelheadedness to the recording process that the band don’t posses themselves. Jack credits Malcolm for drawing out their best ideas and helping City Calm Down create works like Echoes in Blue.
“You do need a certain level of distance, you need to have a bit of distance. But, if they have to much, then they don’t fully commit tot he making of the record, which you always need in a producer.”
Alongside the production, you can always expect musicians to be influenced by their own taste in music.Jack let us in on what he was listening to while City Calm Down were peicing together Echoes in Blue.
Listing Bruce Springstein, Radio Head and Preoccupations as artists he was listening to at the time, Jack also said that The White Drug’s recent release was ‘fantastic’.
“I guess as we go through the writing and recording process, we pick up little ideas or sound pallet ideas from songs and records we like.”
That’s why you might pick up on some Radio Head-inspired tonal sounds in the title track’s drums. An ear might also be able to pick up on some Cranberries or The Smith’s vibes in other tracks.
City Calm Down’s tour has solidified itself as one of 2018’s most anticipated tours.
“We’re definitely going to play a lot of new material. There’s been a few songs on the record that have been really challenging for us to execute live but we’ve finally finished it, pulled it together. So, we’re really excited to start playing some of those songs. Particularly the final track, Echoes in Blue, that’s been a massive effort to get that up and running. Just because there’s so many layers, and the time signature change, all that stuff going on. So yeah… a very different kind of writing and design. We’re all feeling very excited about it, so we’re just going through all that.”
City Calm Down have an incredible 10 years of touring under their belt. So, we were interested to in finding out about how the experience of life on the road has changed over time. Jack explained that the guys have a better appreciation for how to engage with their audience and working their sound into a live environment.
“We’re definitely far more organised now than we were when we first started out. You can’t learn [how to play live shows] in a book. You’ve just got to do lots of it to know how it feels and how you want to connect with your audience.”
We’re proud to say that the Brisbane leg of Laneway festival is a time that Jack notes as a touring highlight for the band, with the biggest crowd they’ve played to across the tour. So Brisbane fans, you have a challenge on your hands; to top that highlight.
You can keep up to date with all of City Calm Down’s news here.
What: Echoes in Blue Tour
Where: The Tivoli Theatre, 52 Costin St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
When: Friday, June 7th 2018, 7:30pm
How Much: $43.59 + bf
More Info: This is an 18+ event