Who Are We Turning Into? Track by track .

It's time to talk to you about our debut album, Who Are We Turning Into? Each day we are posting a track with a few thoughts from the band and comments from our producer, Liam Judson. During the vocal sessions (often a hair-raising experience hearing your voice naked without the deafening hum of amps and drums), Liam would crack us up by slowing the playback speed for a line or two when we least expected it. We want to share the joy of laughing at us and so as well as the original track we've chosen a few tempo-challenged nuggets from the sessions to share. Enjoy!

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Track 1. “Since Forever”

Eve:

Best friends you’ve known since forever, great easy friendships where anything and everything goes, an element of "getting older" and "priorities then versus now", but also keeping things petty and superficial, bratty, “teen4lyfe”. This song started as a simple slow song and Lauren said –“hey let’s make it punk!” So now it’s a simple punk song! Nick gets to do some “sick fills”, Lauren pumps out the down strokes and Pip does a solo that ends up sounds like a metal coil unwinding. We often like to open our set with this song and so we decided it could open the album.

Liam:

Since Forever is one of those songs that is kind of a mash of sound - there's no dynamics, it’s just like "Go!" and off it goes. There was no point trying to create too much separation, there is a wall of gristly bar chord electric guitars and that is the sonic signature of the track and why it's a great opening banger. It's a bit like a rollercoaster entry to the record. 

Nick:

The Saints, Ramones, relentless hi-hats, release into the chorus...

The first song we played together, we instantly clicked. Sounds pointedly angry until you realise it's actually very sweet.

Pip:

I remember when Eve first brought this song to the band, it was a gentle number - an earnest homage to her best friends from Adelaide. Singing “I know how many people you’ve slept with” accompanied by a slow strum can never be anything other than creepy. Lauren came to practice with ideas to make it sound more Radio Birdman and thanks to Eve’s willingness to let us stomp all over her delicate song, the track was turned up to 11 (or, who are we kidding - maybe turned up to 7 to protect our fragile ears!) and has been heaps of fun to play ever since.

 

Track 2. “Best Shot”

Lauren:

Small rooms, wide streets, angry girls, sharp guitars & cows staring mindlessly at the awkward chick seeking inspiration: these are some of the images I associate with the writing and recording of this song. The chorus for best shot came to me while I was cooped up in a spooky old school house recording an album with a previous band. I snuck out of the studio into the field of cows and recorded a voice memo to remember it. I knew it wasn't right for that band and tucked it away for a future project. In the mean time I was listening to a lot of The Jam, Big Star, Patti Smith and Red Kross. Along came Imperial Broads and so I finished the song and we started finding out how to incorporate all those pop punk sounds and shapes into our song writing. I had a lot of fun writing the lyrics which were inspired by a girl I'd known as well as by how I felt at the time 'I'm a fixer-upper, renovator, dream if you dare. I'm marked with one big X and I've got targets to spare' My favourite parts of the song musically are Nick's unlikely and awesome drum fill in to the solo and the end of the solo when Pip does a super catchy bouncy kind of run down and the chords return to the A - F# which always feels really UK punk to me. Like it's tough with a sense of humour.

Liam:

This track has such a 70's New York vibe for me, and so in capturing the recording of it, this was in the back of my mind in how I approached it. I wanted a kind of dead, and yet verby sound. It's like you've gone to a flea market and picked up a weird 45 of a band you've never heard of who played CBGB's a couple of times, then put out one single on a strange label and recorded it at the most affordable studio in Manhattan. Here's that single!

Nick:

There's been a lot of the Phil Spector sound filling up people's phones lately, and we could have gone full-tilt by doing it in that "boom-bom-boom CHICK" way but subconsciously thought better of it. Please don't ever say "girl group" coz I ain't chopped liver.

Eve:

Loz sent me this song as a demo a week before my first band practice with Lauren and Pip. The demo was on acoustic guitar, had a 60s girl group vibe in my mind, and I asked my boyfriend to show me what the chords were because I was still (still am!) learning and I was nervous about rocking up to that first practice and Loz and Pip saying - nope this is not gonna work you can't play. The arrangement had all these gaps in it we kinda had to count out until Nicky came along and filled them in - including in much cooler ways than we could have ever imagined (the trip stumble fill into Pip's solo is a fave). I love playing Best Shot, it's the early days for the band, I play basic open chords the whole time and therefore can actually enjoy it without worrying out about messing something up. I probably stand there smiling like a fool. Loz got a throat infection once and I had to sing it instead of her and almost passed out, I couldn't work out where she took a breath! The woman has lungs of steel.

 

Track 3. “Can’t Grow Up”

Pip:

This song was the first song Lauren and I thrashed out together in my garage in Marrickville. It was originally written as a jam with Tom Warren in his mother's basement in Kiama, straight after I bought my first electric guitar. I was feeling my way around basic open chords and he was calling out: now go to the E! After I drove the coastal road home, I wrote the lyrics pent up in a studio in Redfern, procrastinating from writing my thesis. The song is about throwing yourself into new experiences, and letting the city burn behind you.

Liam:

Can't Grow Up Great riff, cool tune and chunky outro. There wasn't too much for me to try and achieve with this other than to make it sound as cool as it does on stage - to make sure the guitars sound as juicy and that the bridge elevates in that satisfying way it does. This is one of the many songs that show how great the Broads sing together. The chorus's sound incredible.

Nick:

"Pop Crimes" and the bass of Brian Hooper crops up a bit on "Who Are We Turning Into", and this was a concerted effort to channel the late and great Rowland Howard.

Lauren:

Pip started this song with a friend, Tom, who I believe came up with the bass line that I now play. Pip brought it to the band really early when I was just learn my way around the bass and I thought I would never be able to get that line right. I also remember workshopping the outro and trying so many things before we landed on the final version. What a song! I think it’s one of the best sounding tracks on the record and am glad the album title came out of it.

 

Track 4. “Room for Love”

Lauren:

One deeply sad man with a rock'n'roll heart sent me a few lyrics the night before he died. With understanding, love, and an attempt to resurrect him, this song came to be. I completed the lyrics alone in a pub crying over a beer just the way he probably started them. The stark change between verse and chorus in this song feels mischievous and sexy. I think that's my favourite characteristic of the song and the two incredible guitar solos by Eve and Pip capture that same sensation. Liam did an amazing job recording and mixing the guitars and vocals on this track to get that punchy kick for the chorus and the velvet tones of the verses. The laugh in the intro was the final addition; I was overwhelmed listening to the final mix of the track and wanted it to be as much Tim’s as I could possibly make it. Shortly before Tim died I had been drunkenly filming a bonfire at a party while we were all chatting and laughing. I extracted the audio of his laugh and Liam and I overlaid it so his laugh would bubble out in time with the snare roll.

Liam:

This is another track that sounds great live and always gets people’s attention, so once again I felt a responsibility to capture it with the same atmosphere and intensity as on stage. My good friends Dan Pash, who played acoustic guitar on Ephemeral (more on that in a bit) said to me at a show, "the chorus sound like Yardbirds!". I don't think that's what they were exactly going for, but it totally did, and so when mixing it I tried to aim for a "Roger The Engineer" kind of sound for the chorus's production-wise. The rest of the track is reallyspacious with haunting echoey guitars and that's really up my alley - it's like a Ying Yang type of song.

Nick:

Like the Yardbirds crashed the set of "Fire, Walk With Me" instead of "Blow-Up". Switching gears has rarely been this fun.

Eve:

Loz came in with this 'groovy' bass line which is not a word I use often. I had to try and play it on the bass for one quick second in the early days, while she worked out vocal lines, and I had that "ooh I want this part for myself" feeling. 'I've got no more room for love' feels badass to sing yet somehow a bit cutely innocent too, maybe because I like to think of us as adult toddlers. I love playing tag with Pip in the outro. My guitar part was kinda worked out on the fly while recording, with both Pip and Loz trying to make it a little more ...bent - the lifelong ambition of Pip and Loz.

 
 

Track 5. "You're Scared"

Pip:

"You're Scared" was written from a place of sexual frustration. I was interested in a man who wanted to put the breaks on any 'physical activity' so to speak, so I re-directed my, er, 'enthusiasm' into the writing of this song. At the time I was also bored by the coy expression of female sexuality in the music I liked. I wanted to flip the predator/ pursued power relationship and get people dancing at the same time. A cougar anthem for 30-somethings? Maybe.

Liam:

This, one of the earliest Broads tunes, was a challenge for me to make sound as gnarly as what I had in my head. This is the only song on the record where I changed all my mixing signal paths to shake it up. The compressor I was using the get the drum sound for the other tracks was dismissed and replaced with a much cruder device and that created that manic pulsating sound - and what a drum performance from Nick too! I had a great time fiddling with tape echoes, going in and out of the mix, bubbling away between the filthy wall of guitars. Short, nasty, and punchy as hell.

Nick:

From the Flinstones-esque intro to the stop-on-a-dime finish, this is not the way Henry Rollins would describe someone as weak.

Loz:

When Pip played us this demo I was so impressed! It’s one of those tracks with instant energy and atmosphere – picture a super-fast, rickety, wooden rollercoaster on a pier in Santa Cruz (or some other steamy Californian town) that you find just when you are most in need of the thrill. So lucky I get to be on this ride. 

 

Track 6. "Ephemeral"

Eve:

It's somehow both disconcerting and hopeful how much energy people will spend on an invisible link...that's ephemeral. Relationships. I've ripped off some Salter in the lyrics about routines: Weather, dinner time. This is the first song I wrote, I wanted it to be “haunty” and asked Pip to come up with a Shadowsy lead line and she nailed it. I showed Pip and Loz an idea I had for another song and they thought it could work with this one so it became the beginning of the outro. Pip added a cool wailing

guitar line on the end of it. Nick does some ‘secretly cool’ stuff in this song, which I only fully realised when we had recorded it. Liam suggested we add some acoustic rhythm guitar and we asked my boyfriend (Dan Pash) to do the honours with a galloping western strum. I couldn’t be happier with the production of this song: Liam, aka tone master, has achieved a sound that is somehow both a bit post punk, real, down to earth and ... a bit angelic or something.

Liam:

If Imperial Broads ever had a "hi-fi" record, then this would be the closest thing to it. It even has acoustic guitar courtesy of Dan Pash who dropped in one night at the walnut farm where we were recording. He nailed the track played on his lovely Martin guitar in one take, locking in perfectly with Nick’s drums (no  lousy click tracks on this record, no sir!). He ended the track with the career defining comment "Who the hell do I have to screw to get some walnut wine around here?!". This was the only track where the lead vocal was recorded using a tube microphone as opposed to the Beyer 160 ribbon mic (don't know this mic? Look it up, it's a classic) we used on all the others. It was fun to mix and I could really make use of reverbs and delays, as the track has the kind of space that suits such things. Particularly cool are the two guitar solos at the end; one is a kind of Morricone western vibe, then suddenly the second one  sounds like a subway train screaming around the corner.

Nick:

I've never considered us to be a one-trick pony, but when we got this together I felt we were capable of anything. It can be easy to forget how great R.E.M. were in the early days but this reminds me.

Pip:

For a long time, Ephemeral has been my favourite track on the album. It’s a favourite for a bunch of reasons, not all of them related to how it sounds (though I do love how it sounds!). For me, working on this song was the closest we ever came to collaborative arrangement. Because we were still so new to song-writing at that stage, we were also open to other people’s ideas, and prepared to make bolder suggestions than we probably would now. Eve is very flexible and open to outside ideas, and for that reason her songs are always a pleasure to develop. Ephemeral is definitely Eve’s song, but when we play it, it feels like our song – all our parts ducking and weaving around each other to make one Broads-y whole.

 

Track 7. "Cheap Therapy"

Pip:

"Cheap Therapy" was written in the aftermath of my best friend's (and Lauren's brother's) death. A little while before he died, Lauren and her brother had talked about starting a garage punk band, and Tim really wanted to call the band "Fuck you, darling" (as a not-so-coded message to his ex), but Lauren had reservations. I thought the name should live on, and it seemed to fit with the sentiment I was harbouring in the wake of my own break up. I wanted to capture that Escher-like experience of not knowing whether you're going up or down, if you're mad or sane, when you are being gas-lighted by someone who is slowly withdrawing from an intimate connection. After playing the song live a few times, the lyrics began to feel embarrassingly emo, so we changed the title to "Cheap Therapy" because that is what the song was, after all.

Liam:

This super angular tune was another track that required a no holds barred approach to making it sound as intense as possible. It's a really interesting one for me, because it features a very silky pretty sounding vocal (until the chorus at least!) over the top of a throbbing bass and thrashing guitar. It features one of the greatest bass lines on the album, and a really dark but beautiful guitar melody that really captures the bleak atmosphere of the lyrics. The chorus features the classic Broads group vocal sound where they all sing into one mic, and we track it three times or more.

Nick: 

The heaviest we've gotten so far, I've always been excited about this one (and proud of my "I can't get up the stairs" falling up the stairs drum part in case nobody noticed!) probably because I like it dark and a little heavy. Lots of interesting dynamics.

Eve:

The drive of this song makes it feels so good to play, the visceral downstroke dig in. Yet the float of the vocal line and Pip's lead line, above the dirge, Loz's melodic bassline in the chorus pushing through. Nick's already said what I love about his drums! A friend said she thought we were singing 'fuck you Dali' in the chorus and nodded to herself: 'yeah. fuck you dali' which I find amusing. A self-proclaimed emo song from Pip and yes we do enjoy screaming 'fuck you darling' in your faces.
 

 

Track 8. "Understudy"

Lauren: 

Apparently this song is a bit weird. It all felt really natural to me but when I brought it to the band they all looked at me cross-eyed and said 'It goes where now? It does what now?' Even Liam called it the 'Art-rock' song when he was mixing it. I desperately wanted a tight Jam style Rickenbacker sound on this track but none of us had one so Eve's partner Dan drove all the way to Oberon to the farm where we were recording to deliver his Ricky for us! None of us could really play in that style but we did get some nice chimey chord strikes and lead lines from it. The song is based around a feeling of living in a shadow, a reckless existence and companionship within it. 

Liam:

And here we have a chiming pop tune that has shimmery guitars! However, the chords are kind of ominous and so there's a cloud over the sun throughout moments of the song. When I first heard the song on stage, I was really taken by some of those chord changes in the verse... Lauren switched out her usual Fender Musicmaster bass for a good old Precision bass for this one, as being on the chimier end of things it needed that solid bedrock that a P-bass excels at. Mixing this one took a few tries and was challenging but fun. Again, I got to mess around with modulated delays and tapey stuff to give this song the hazy, drunken and ever-so-slighly unsettling vibe.

Nick:

I really wanted this to be a single - it's my idea of pop music with a twist. All the songs were fun to develop but I always think of this one when I return to initial feelings of joy. 

Pip: 

This song, with its open chord stabs, makes me think of a summer filled with VB tinnies and classic Aussie rock tunes. Also, how overflowing with joy Lauren was when she went to see the New Christs at the Factory Floor. She couldn’t stop moving and wouldn’t tolerate anyone standing and nodding along to the songs. They had to DANCE and dance hard! Bizarrely enough, I also always think of this song whenever I see a rabbit (thanks to the chorus). I am fairly certain a whole bunch of rabbits are deep underground in a burrow in the Aussie outback somewhere, rocking out to open A and G chords. In my mind, if we somehow stumble upon $5k and a taxidermist with stop-motion animation skills, there’s the film clip: underground rabbits rocking out. 

 

Track 9. "Waste of Time”
 

Eve: 

Excuse a midlife crisis moment. There is a time when you are splitting off from caring about what you used to care about, but you haven’t quite split off from it entirely. You are reminiscing and also writing a message to self which is, ultimately, “who cares?” An uplifting summer song with some jaded cynicism underlying it, which might explain the weird breakdown part that quite a few people could do without. I love Lauren’s melodic bass parts in this song (and Room for Love and Cheap Therapy) and Pip’s carefree single note lines. I love doing the cheeky intro. Pip said it reminds her of driving in summer with your hand out the window and I like to try and think of that before we play it live.

Liam: 

This is a track I never pictured being the closing song on the album, however I've got to say it works perfectly as the final moment of the record. It's another pop tune that opens with a 60's garage riff, has a great massed harmony in the chorus, and surf rock aah's under the lead vocal. My job on this was to just keep it pure, tight, and energetic. It's another great example of how they sound on stage and all I have done here is capture it and present it as a recording.

Nick:

As one of the songs that seemed simple, Waste of Time, was (and is) the hardest to get right. I've no idea why and the line is fine. Such is the continuing mystery and why the mountain is never fully scaled. Where to from here? 

Lauren: 

Waste of TIme has one of the best intro's on the album and always reminds me of a wind up toy before you let go of the crank and we launch in to this sunny, sassy pop song. Pip and I had a lot of fun with the verse backing vocals, and the chorus harmonies are maybe some of our best. 

Click here to purchase Who are we turning into? on cd, vinyl or for digital download (digital download code included with all vinyl purchases)

Lauren Crew