MELBOURNE four-piece Press Club started writing music in mid-2016 with some pretty ambitious goals. “We wanted to write 40-50 songs in around three months,” says singer Natalie Foster.
Those songs ended up becoming the “skeleton” of debut album Late Teens. The album was tracked live to tape at The Aviary studios in Melbourne over the course of a week, with the band sometimes pulling in 15 hour days.
From tracks inspired by The Who and Hüsker Dü to songs where singer Natalie Foster quite literally lost her voice, these are the stories behind the album’s 11 tracks.
Born out of a descending guitar melody, ‘Crash’ was the obvious choice for the album opener from the minute it was conceived. Greg was fiddling around on a simple dissonant guitar riff and it just sounded massive. Someone suggested for Frank to play some Keith Moon-style drum fills during the second verse, and it all just seemed to work. The ‘Baba O’Riley’ influence on the intro of the song was definitely intentional.
How do you write a song when two members of the band haven’t slept the night before? Fast, and with plenty of agro. This is one of those songs that just came so naturally it would have been criminal to overthink it. Recorded in much the same way it was arranged, live and in one take, the idea was to capture that raw energy and emotion. This was the first song recorded for the album and really set the mood for the whole session.
Lyrically this one is open to interpretation but its lyrics deal with physical and emotional isolation. Musically we started off with the verses and worked the song from the ground up. I think we were listening to a fair bit of Hüsker Dü, Danzig and The Misfits at the time. We’re not sure if that shows through the music but that’s the sort of angle we were coming from when we wrote it. Recording this one was interesting. Putting something so up-and-down and dynamic to tape live keeps everyone on their toes in the studio.
We went into the recording process with a question mark next to a couple of the tracks and this was one of them. There was so much that we liked about it but there was also something that just wasn’t working. In the end, Nat came up with a new chorus over the lunch break before we were set to start recording. It all came together after that and became our second single from the album. Quick mention to Nick Manuell (The Sinking Teeth, Sweet Gold) for the use of his pipes.
Because we were tracking live and sometimes pulling 15 hour days, Nat partially lost her voice on the second day into the recording process. When we put ‘Golden State’ to tape, we thought it would give her a slight break vocally but as the song is so emotionally draining, it had her pretty messed up by the end of it.
You can hear the pain and anguish in her voice toward the end of the track – it’s hard to know if it’s from the emotion or from the loss of voice. It creates a pretty intense feeling that really took the track to a new level. Special mention to Greg losing his shit and playing tambourine into his guitar pickups during the “solo” after the first chorus.
It’s fast, it’s frenetic and it’s raw.
This track encapsulates the regret, anger and frustration of making a mistake that changes your life. That one thing you look back on and think, “My life could be so different if I didn’t do that.” It’s fast, it’s frenetic and it’s raw.
We wanted the recording of ‘Let It Fall’ to match its live intensity. Frank’s drums are double tracked, and the little imperfections in the timing really ramp up the tension. The lyrical tone is one of frustration and aggression towards the conventions of relationships. Special mention to Nick Manuell for his passionate backing vocals.
There’s an agitation in the verses of this track about feeling trapped with where you are and what you’re doing. Release comes in the choruses though the melody and the realisation that you can’t give up something that you are passionate about.
The title track to the record starts off with the sound of rain outside the studio. We really wanted to capture the ambience of the large tracking space at The Aviary so we opened up all the doors, got Nat to sing in the middle of the room, and used one of the microphones hanging from the hallway ceiling. The rain outside spilled into that microphone but had to stay because Nat’s performance was so strong.
In the time we were starting to write the album, Nat went through her old house, half demolished and soon to become apartments to get the inspiration. It’s a bit of a heartbreak getting evicted from a joint that’s been your home for five years and the lyrics reflect that. Musically we approached it from a different viewpoint and thought we’d give it a bit more dynamism and room to breathe.