Club Echo is out now!
Melbourne four-piece Teenage Dads recently unveiled their new EP, Club Echo. We caught up with the band to chat about the release, producing their own music, the impact of live music and more!
Across eight-tracks, the four-piece navigate the changing state of life in the transitionary period of adolescence to adulthood, offering an introspective glimpse into life over the past five years with a focus on love and loss.
To celebrate the release, Teenage Dads will be hitting the road on a national tour! Kicking off with an album launch show on November 25 at Melbourne's Howler, the band will embark on an extended run of shows next January. Visiting Adelaide, Newcastle, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and the Sunshine Coast, the tour will wrap up with three shows in Sydney. It won't be long before the group hit the stage once again, this time supporting Lime Cordiale on their national tour through April and May next year.
Forming in high school, the band honed in on their craft and developed the band into a completely DIY project. Band members Finlay, Kinna, Angus Christie and Connor McLaughlin have complete control over their creative outlet. The four-piece produce, mix and record all the tracks, with all their artworks and videos being produces by the band members themselves. Teenage Dads are no strangers to putting on a show. Having toured with the likes of Lime Cordiale, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Northeast Party House and Ruby Fields, the band have become known for their energetic and immersive live performances.
Club Echo is out now!
Tell us a bit about your musical background and Teenage Dads’ origin story…
Before starting the band, we all had very limited musical experience. Jord had some piano lessons as a way of getting him off Xbox, Connor had played some guitar with his brother, Angus learned a few RHCP songs on bass, and Vince had no musical experience at all. We all knew each other from school, but weren’t really within the same friend groups or anything like that until our final years. Connor and Jord started jamming in the music rooms during lunchtimes; and recruited Angus (he was the only bass player they knew) and Vince, keen to learn drums after being big into the hardcore scene. We all jammed a few lunchtimes a week which eventually led to playing house parties. The first year out of school was when we started writing our own music and playing gigs around Melbourne. It more or less has just snowballed since then.
Your new EP, Club Echo, offers an introspective glimpse into life over the past five years, touching on themes of love and loss, growing up and change to name a few. What prompted this conceptual exploration?
Being stuck at home during the initial lockdowns inspired a lot of reflection for each of us. After everything stopped, there was a period where all we could really do was look back on everything we’d experienced in music, and our lives as a whole to that point. Those memories and experiences were accessible, but were not interactive at all; which led to the passive experience of reliving those moments in your head.
Were there any parts that you found particularly difficult when creating the record, having such retrospective and intimate moments?
There came a point where during lockdowns, you think about all these experiences you have had and because nothing was happening, worry you may not get to experience anything like them again: or in the same capacity at least. It’s always difficult to realise nothing will ever really be the same again, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You produced, mixed and recorded all the tracks yourselves. What are the advantages of having that complete control over your own music?
Having complete control of the production and writing side means you can convey the messages and sound that you want to, not necessarily having to consider outside perspectives on what others think you ‘should’ be doing. You have free reign to create what you yourself wants to. We never look/ed at having complete control like it was this goal to have for those reasons though. We simply do it because we enjoy the creative process and because frankly, we didn’t have money to get others on board. However for the first time we outsourced the mixing and mastering process which was exciting. The gun Steven Schram mixed the EP, as Studio 301 mastered it. Although it is cool being able to say you completely self-produced your music, it was awesome having someone else’s perspectives on what it could sound like.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about producing your own music whilst making this EP?
To keep on experimenting with things, look over your songs 100 times, try everything and not to worry about limitations!
Which song off the EP would you play to someone, who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan?
Being strapped for time, probably all 5 at once. They can determine if there was anything within that mashup that they liked and would have to listen through everything to find which part it was they liked, which means they probably have to listen to the whole EP.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this particular collection of songs?
Each song has a different process, but generally Jord or Connor would come forward with a demo - whether it be close to a full song or just a snippet - and we would all come together to workshop that demo, and all use our input to try mold that demo into the fully-formed song it would become.
How did the EP evolve and change as you were creating it, and were there any tracks left on the cutting room floor that you think might have a life in the future?
The lead singles Piano Girl and Cheerleader had sections that we tried many different variations on before setting on the current ones, as the song I Believe It was a slower burn, adding in little sections and motifs over a longer period of time. With Elevator, a few of the concepts were the same, but most sections were modified to keep it more fresh. Come On, Cowboy. Fire Your Gun! remains essentially the same as the first demo that was sent; we didn’t really find anything we wanted to change. There were a few songs left out (as there always is), so we’ll see what happens with any of them in the future.
What’s one line from the EP you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
I’ve always liked ‘I need a reminder, these are the good old days’ during Cheerleader. I also like when Jordan says ‘yeah’ in Piano Girl.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts you think everyone should be listening to?
Oh there are so many goodies!
Lime Cordiale, Parcels, The Moving Stills, Velvet Bloom and King Stingray to name a few!
You’ll be hitting the road early next year on a national headline tour, and supporting Lime Cordiale on their tour. What can audiences expect from your return to the stage?
A lot of pent-up energy! I think more than ever we’ll be making the most of the shows since concerts are so unpredictable!
The past nineteen months have taken its toll on the whole industry, in particular the touring sector. How important is live music to you, and making that in person connection with your audience?
Live music is massively important to us - we spend a lot of time rehearsing and reshaping our live set to keep it as fresh and fun as possible for those going, so that we can hopefully really impress the audience. We always enjoy meeting everyone at the shows too!
The Strokes, Phoenix, The Beach Boys.
Crazy frog - want to be in a video with him too.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Differs for all of us but as a group, maybe Nonagon Infinity [King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard].
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Kooky, youthful, exciting
Best song of 2021 so far?
Too hard to say!
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Probably a romcom and just misdirect the vibe of the film with thrash or something experimental.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana dropped off a while ago and stopped for some reason.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Oggy and the Cockroaches theme.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Oggy and the Cockroaches theme.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Skitz Mix Vol. 259.
First concert you went to?
Jord- Lady Gaga.
Angus- Groovin the Moo festival.
Connor- Battle of the Bands in Frankston.
Best concert you have been to?
All together, maybe The Garden at Farmer and the Owl Festival.
First album you ever bought?
Angus- Crazy Frog - Popcorn.
Jord- Gorillaz - Demon Days.
Vince- Parkway Drive - Killing with a Smile.
Connor- Neil Young - Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
Spice Girl. Got to meet Queen Liz, don’t think Backstreet Boys got to do that.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Spicy Spice, or The Spice.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Sidney Myer Music Bowl with Lime Cordiale.
Guilty music pleasure?
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
The Strokes or Phoenix.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
In contemporary Australia, maybe King Gizzard honestly?
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Practice more and more and more!
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
4 square got rained out.
Club Echo is out now!