Interview with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Words by Isaac Selby

Photo by Rubin Utama.

Photo by Rubin Utama.

Earlier in the week Joe White, guitarist/vocalist from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, spoke to Yewth about the shape and sound of their new EP ahead of their performance at Rocket Bar this Friday. Stalwarts of the Melbourne scene, the four piece have been making music together since 2003, with their 2015 EP Talk Tight marking a long-deserved breakthrough that made an impact on both the local and international music scene.

Their follow-up EP The French Press builds on this solid foundation whilst steering things towards a darker stretch of the road. On the title track the unique strengths of vocalists Tom Russo and Frank Keaney play against each other perfectly as they play the part of brothers struggling to keep their relationship intact while both on opposite sides of the world. This sense of disconnect is littered throughout the record and reflected by their refrain from traditional song structure, opting instead for a stream of consciousness; a style of lyricism that punctuates the constant momentum of their music. When asked whether they felt pressure to deliver after being signed to major indie label Sub Pop, Joe remains level-headed.

"We were conscious of a larger audience that this was going out to. We don't hide the fact that we try to write pop tunes, music that humans like, so we just tried to do that."

Described by White as a "romance of convenience," the band chose to record French Press at the same location as their first EP, a testament to the tried and true "if it ain't broke."

"We used quite a few room-mics in a fairly small room. It's the space that we wrote and arranged all the songs so we were essentially trying to capture the sound we created in the room. We're looking at a place where you don't have to wear jackets inside for the next one."

Befitting of a band in the midst of a continent-hopping tour, RBCF's music contains specific geographical references that spread across the musical canvas of their work. We asked about the impact a sense of place has in their songs. 

"A specific place is a great tool in the songwriters tool-kit to create a vivid and evocative scene. For us, we like to explore the idea of distance, so places will inevitably play a role in that." 

If you enjoy intelligent Australian rock music and are looking to see a band on the cusp enough that they still play "heated" games of Rock Paper Scissors to work out sleeping arrangements before shows, then you should probably make your way down to Rocket Bar this Friday evening. 

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever play Cats at Rocket Bar on April 21 with support from Little Dust and Siamese. Event here.

The Fresh Press EP out now.