For fans of Northeast Party House, the agonising wait for the band’s new record has been epic.
But now the time is nigh: the group is all set to drop Dare. We’ve already been treated to a taster of the record – lead single ‘For You’ made a massive splash on triple j recently – and if you haven’t heard the tune yet, we recommend hitting the old internet (or just flicking on the radio: it’s on high rotation) because it’s the kind of anthemic, unashamedly optimistic track that modern pop and rock is lacking these days.
That’s not all the boys have up their sleeves either: they’ll be hitting the road this month for a massive album tour, with so many stops lined up that there’s literally no excuse for missing them – which is nice, actually, as it’s been more than a year since we saw them grace an Australian stage.
“The writing of Dare spanned over a pretty long time,” says Northeast Party House’s guitarist Mitch Ansell. “We pretty much kicked it off when we finished [debut album] Any Given Weekend. We didn’t really write too much together initially: we’d all go off into our bedrooms, turn the lights off and not eat for a year while we got it done.” He laughs.
“I mean, we’d write our own little things then email them to each other and get feedback,” he says. “It wasn’t until January this year that we finally got the demos together and put them into a playlist. We culled a lot, then started working at a friend’s studio in Brunswick where we had all our gear set up in this little office kind of space. It was pretty funny, but it worked. It was all business, but we got a lot done and the songs really started to develop. This time we wanted to do a smarter album, just in terms of the songwriting on it, and we wanted it to be a little more melodic. Basically we wanted songs that told a story but were really fun, and tunes that we’d like to play live.”
Dare was composed internationally as the band travelled back and forth between Melbourne and London. The result is an album that was written largely as it was recorded, with Northeast Party House taking on all the production in house and their drummer Malcolm Besley doing all the mixing and mastering himself.
“We were in London and we were at a point where we realised we were running out of time,” Ansell says. “We booked a few sessions at Hackney Road Studios and got a heap done. Then we went straight into the studio when we got back, and we were writing and recording at the same time.
“Say I wanted to write this riff,” he continues, “we’d get that tone, the final peddles, amps, et cetera, and whatever we recorded was the final take. Malcolm [Besley] was there recording and mixing, and then we all individually produced bits. It was a full-band production in a lot of ways. We trusted Mal as a sound engineer. He just keeps getting better as the years go by. I think because we were still writing at the same time, it would have been too weird to have someone else come in from the outside.”
The writing of Dare was a two-month process, and though Ansell and his bandmates opened themselves up to sonic experimentation, they did have a strong goal in mind: the songs were written to be performed. It’s obvious that Ansell adores the live experience, and he speaks enthusiastically about returning to Australian stages.
“We always think of the live show,” he says simply. “It’s our favourite part of this whole band thing, so we always try to curate the live show. When you have an album tour, you’re gonna play a lot of new songs, but the album actually comes out on September 9, which is the same night as our second show. Seeing as how a lot of the people who come to our shows won’t really have absorbed the album yet, we won’t drench them in too much new stuff, but there’ll definitely be a few new songs in there. It’s gonna be a bit of a mix.”
He continues, on a roll now. “It was interesting playing overseas for the last year. They were quite calculated shows: we’ve been at these festivals where you have like 500 bands from around the world all meeting up in the same place. It’s open to the general public, but the focus is on bringing in the different labels and managers and such.”
Despite the acclaim the band have won themselves overseas, there really is only one place Ansell and his mates currently want to be. “We’re psyched to get back to Australia,” he says. “There’s a different culture with music in Australia. We have a pretty passionate fan base here. Overseas, people kind of sit back and appreciate it, whereas in Melbourne say, where it all began with our mates being super young and super loose, you know what you’re gonna get. You can go nuts.”