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MAJAK DOOR TAKE US THROUGH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM TRACK BY TRACK

Their self-titled debut album is out now!

Image: Supplied.


Melbourne-based surf-rockers Majak Door have dropped their debut self-titled album. If you're loving the body of work and want to pick the bands brain for some insight into each track, we've got you covered! Majak Door have treated MILKY, taking us through the album track by track.



CHAMPAGNE BROWN

This one really stands out to me, and after hearing all the songs on this album 1000 times, Champagne Brown is one that’s easy to listen to multiple times. It’s probably first track that we put together as a band, or as we refer to it, the most ‘Majak’ track. Louis (lead guitar) and Joe (drums) jammed this out one day when they used to live together. Joe, who won’t admit it himself, is quite handy with Ableton and is quite skilful when it comes to innovating tracks out of un-structured jams. Joe put together a few verses, a couple of chorus sections and layered them over a bed of key/synth sounds. They sent it over to me, and after the first listen, I knew it was going to be easy lay a vocal line over the top of it. I really enjoy the production on this track; because we only used rough demo takes to sculpt it, the drums were built using only 2 microphones sources, but with a sprinkle of studio magic, they came out real groovy.



L’ACQUA SALATA (AIN’T SO SWEET)

I started writing this while on a bike ride, when I visited my old primary school (which is just down the road from my house). I was cruising around with the rhythmic melody in my head, remembering all the experiences I had on that playground, then the opening line "all the feelings that I had before, make their way to my heart once more" just popped into my head. I whipped out Notes on my phone and quickly jotted it down, because there have definitely been times in the past where I've said, ‘I'll remember it later’, only to forget it, forever...


The process i fell upon when writing this (visiting a familiar area and analysing the feelings that arise) is something I use to this day. There’s only so much inspiration you can draw from sitting in your room or visiting the same old places, and so this song really kicked off that process, which I love very much. To explain the title, L’acqua Salata is Italian for ‘the salt water’, which I liked, because re-visiting old memories is sometimes like drinking salt water. The Ain’t So Sweet part was funny to me, because its literal and metaphorical at the same time. Salt water just ain’t that sweet!



WILL SHE LEAVE YOU

I had to go back into the mental archives for this one, it’s loosely based on the concept of dating someone who you’re not sure if they’re that into you or not. Lyrically, it’s a combination of the typical thoughts you might have during the dating experience and the thoughts you might have in retrospect. I think songs like these benefits more with an up-tempo/poppy feel to it, the pace adds a bit more energy and ‘oomph’ to it, especially when playing it live. For a while I really wanted to create a chorus that had a nice hook followed by a ‘drop’; seeing bands execute this live is one of the most exciting and energetic moments for me, and it’s a moment I look forward to the most in our sets.



ONE THING AT A TIME

Like Champagne Brown, this track is a cool combination of multiple band members. Joe and Louis laid down the instrumental and sent to over to me to add vocals to. I didn’t come up with lyrics or a melody as quickly as I did with Champagne Brown, but I remember that once I picked a theme to write about, the lyrics came out much smoother and organically. The theme I chose was simply slowing down, taking the foot off the gas and taking a deep breath. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the obstacles of life, and one thing that always calms me down is to just take it ‘one thing at time’. My favourite lyric here is "the clock is ticking, but you know it’s no race to the finish", because I think a lot of people mentally wrestle with the concept of having ‘x’ amount achieved by a certain time in their life, but it’s crucial to remember that we’re all on our own unique timeline.



THE MAN

This is our favourite little hoedown, a song that we love jamming out during rehearsal and one that we can't wait to play live. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what this song is about, but I would say that it’s about just helping a mate overcome obstacles that they may be experiencing, and just taking them by the hand and letting them know that there are better days ahead. We weren't afraid to really layer the guitars on here, and The Man is one of two tracks on the album that feature the trusty slide guitar (the other track being One Thing at a Time). If I had to pick out a favourite part of this song, it would have to be the little ‘pop’ noise we added in at around 1:05; there’s nothing significant about it, it’s just a nice little pop.



KING TIDE

I don’t really remember when I wrote this one, I think I may have had the instrumental parts all down, and then it took me a while to attach some decent lyrics to it. Again, once I decided on a theme to write about, the process became a lot easier, and that theme ended up being addiction. However, it’s not exclusive to drug addiction or anything, It can about any kind of addiction. When you think about it long enough, all addictions function very similarly; you know that engaging in that certain behaviour isn’t going to be good for you, but we have a quick conversation with that voice that convinces us that ‘just one more time’ won’t hurt us. It could be fast food, cigarettes or alcohol, but it’s easy for us humans to cope with negative feelings by seeking out these temporary pleasures.



EVERYBODY WANTS YOU

The riff to this song popped into my head one afternoon when I was driving around Fitzroy in the band-van, which belongs to Ronny, our percussionist. The van had all the music gear in the back, including a small battery-operated pocket amp. Back then we were demoing a lot using Garage Band, and so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to park the van, hop into the back seat, plug a guitar into the pocket amp and quickly record the riff into Garage Band, using the small condenser microphone that’s inside the iPhone headphones (this mic is decent quality, believe it or not). After recording the guitar riff, the chorus hook "do you think that everybody wants you, everybody wants, everybody wants you" popped into my head almost straight after, which was cool because it’s not often that you’re lucky enough to have a riff and hook pop into your head in the same afternoon. A lot of the drums and rhythm guitars on this record were tracked at The Alamo studios with Dan Caswell, and tracking Everybody Wants You stands out to me because I remember Cas being very thorough in the way we tracked the guitars for this track. There was some complex layering that we had to do in order to achieve a good relationship between the rhythm and lead guitars. The vocals for this track were recorded at RMIT, where I was studying at the time.



SMOKE IN THE AIR

The verses in this track only took a couple of afternoons, easily inspired by the smoke I could literally smell from my bedroom, deep in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne, where the fires weren’t even close to. We all remember how insane those fires were, combined with the memories of the Prime Ministers inappropriate holidaying and gesturing. This made it quite simple to jot out the overall theme to this song, but it was a bit harder to lyrically construct the chorus. Whenever I was a rut creatively, I would head down to Dromana where my grandparents have a small beach house. The peninsula during the bushfires was so much worse than the suburbs, the smoke saturated the sky and I remember how that helped me to come up with the chorus line "don’t try to breathe it in too much, it’s not the kind of stuff you want close to your heart", after that, the song was on its way to being finished! We used both the rhythm and lead takes from the demo (sometimes the demo just had more ‘vibe’ to it) and blended it with new takes. The bridge section was created by using a simple filter automation, and I took a few sections of lyrics and reversed them, which might have been because I watched a George Martin mixing documentary the night before.



HEADSPIN

I remember demoing most of this track when I was driving from Melbourne to country NSW on Christmas day in 2018. It’s about an 8-hour drive, so I opened Garage band in my phone and started mucking around with vocal ideas and what not. The main goal of this track was to create a cool rock riff with a long garage rock style jam in the middle, which would be a fun feature of the live set. I think a lot of this track was recorded at the Dromana beach house when Joe and I decided to pop down for a weekend. During the jam section, we weaved in a few subtle layers of synth, courtesy of the Mini Moog that Joe was leasing at the time. Production wise, I enjoyed making this distorted and crunchy, and we topped it off by using two drum takes at once.



THEY KNOW WE KNOW

The bass line to this song popped into my head one night when I arrived home from seeing a dub band play at The Night Cat, oddly enough. I changed it from the typical funky style of dub into a much straighter rhythm, and the rest followed quite easily. This is by far one of my most favourite tracks to play live, it’s slowed-down and dirty surf rock that we can’t help but stomp too. I used the demo solo that I did in Ableton, including the effects I used, because no matter how hard I tried to replicate it, it never sounded the same. Beginner’s luck, I guess. Lyrically, this song best captures by feelings on sneaky corrupt politicians. My favourite lyric is the opening lyric "I'm alive and I despise all the boys who dance in their disguise", The disguise being a suit and manipulative charisma.



MY NOSTALGIA

This was a demo from quite some time ago that we never really got around to developing. After deciding that we needed a light acoustic-type track for the album, we went into the archives and dug it back out after we realized it had some potential. I had fun writing this one because it was interesting to observe the concept of nostalgia through the lens of the everyday person, and why it makes us feel the way we do. Often, it’s a distorted lens to look through; often painting memories with a much higher glow than they potentially had at the time, and maybe that view is more acute, and we just didn’t realize it at the time. The lyric "and I know it’s foolish, the paranoia that I'll never feel as good" probably sums it up best, because we feel like things may never be as simple and enjoyable as they perhaps were when we were younger, but I also know that we’ll look back on the lives we live today and feel the exact same way.



HOW DO YOU FEEL

I remember how excited we were when we started putting this together around mid 2019. Louis had come up with the rhythmic melody, to which I heard the bass hook in my head instantly, and then the vocal melody which has a lot of the same DNA as the bass hook. The funky percussion style hits Joe right in the soul, which is why we consider this one of the more standout original Majak Door tracks. The key bends executed by our keyboardist Joe add the perfect touch, and one of the secret ingredients to the riff section is a Vibraphone, which I tucked in underneath the guitar/bass riff. One of my favourite characteristics of this track would have to be the vocal harmony that our former bass player Max Sabbatini and I recorded. A fun fact about the production on this; at the end of the track, I added in the synth sound that features at the very beginning of the record, during the intro of Champagne Brown, which I thought brought the record around full circle.



Listen to Majak Door below.