Rhys Richards and John Parkinson of World’s End Press met in high school and bonded over a shared love of music. Of course, Rhys never imagined, when John gave him a burned copy of Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, that they would one day be making music together in Massive Attack’s very own studio in Bristol. “We’d often skip class to go back to my house and make music,” Richards says of those early days. “The day we finished high school, we went right to my bedroom, with some recording gear that we borrowed from John’s sister’s ex-boyfriend or someone like that, with the aim of recording an album in three weeks. That didn’t quite work out, but our main aim was always to play in a band together, and now here we are.”

World’s End Press have supported some huge names over the last few years, touring with the likes of Hot Chip and Bloc Party, and these live shows helped them hone their own signature style. “It’s really beneficial to see how bands with more resources than you, big bands, how they operate,” Richards says. “When we played with Hot Chip, we snuck around the stage and had a stickybeak at the gear they were using, to see how a big band like that manages to operate. It’s been a great opportunity to see how other bands put on a great show. I mean, headline bands have lasers and strobes and things like that, a really big set-up, and when you play with them you have to work around that stuff; you’re stuck in a small space somewhere on the stage, so it makes you work to put on the best show you can.”

The eagerly anticipated self-titled debut album from World’s End Press arrived earlier this month. It’s packed with the band’s signature glassy-eyed house bangers and indie dance excursions, and was produced by none other than legendary beatmaker Tim Goldsworthy. “Tim is somebody whose work we’d always really admired,” Richards says. “We love everything from DFA – The Rapture’s Echoes, which he worked on, was a big influence on us, and we love his work with Massive Attack. We sent him a [sample] of stuff, which he liked, and then we had a meeting, and from there we very quickly ended up working together. We found ourselves working with Tim, and we were pinching ourselves thinking about how we got there.”

The recoding process began at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, a residential studio with a great deal of history – everyone from Queen to Black Sabbath recorded there in the ’70s, while in the ’90s, The Stone Roses lived there for a period of some months while working on their second album. Rockfield is set in the Welsh countryside, and the isolation there forced World’s End Press to work. “We didn’t really leave the studio until we were done with the record,” Richards says. “The town of Monmouth was about a two mile walk, so we’d occasionally clop down for a beer on a Saturday night. We’d go out and have some drinks with the locals. There wasn’t a lot to do other than make music, though.”

The studio itself proved inspiring for the music – as did Goldsworthy’s legendary collection of gear. “We arrived at the farm a day before Tim,” says Richards, “and we were standing out in the courtyard when a big truck rolled up full of vintage synths and organs and all kinds of odds and ends. That was a big part of the sound of the record, using a lot of those instruments.” The band arrived at the studio with their songs fully written, but Goldsworthy encouraged them to break the music down and reimagine it from scratch. “Tim wanted us to play together as a group, rather than each taking turns and recording our parts separately. The studio was designed with that approach in mind, and so we worked very hard to get it sounding perfect. The studio really did shape the album in that sense.”

One of the album’s finest tracks is its closer, ‘Out’ – a sprawling, psychedelic ten-minute track, it was recorded spontaneously on the band’s last night in the studio. “We were working on ‘Natural Curiosity’, and after we’d done a take, we left it rolling, and John and I were playing around on an organ and piano when we looked up and saw Tim waving at us through the window saying, ‘Don’t stop!’” Everyone began jumping in, taking up synths and drum machines, and they made music together until three-thirty in the morning. “We just made a cacophonous noise as we drank tequila. Even Tim and his assistant were playing. It’s a very happy memory because it was a very impulsive thing – just a party on our last night in the studio. You can hear people having a good time.”

After the initial recording in Wales, World’s End Press decamped to the English city of Bristol. “We were definitely craving a bit of social interaction after the farm,” Richards says, “and we were lucky in that we got to go to Bristol, where suddenly we were a lot less isolated. We’d go to Massive Attack’s studio to work each day, but we had evenings and weekends free.” The band spent much of the free time soaking up the sounds and culture of the city. “It’s an amazing place to be doing something creative,” Rogers says. “It has a very strange creative heritage – there are things we wouldn’t say we necessarily have an affinity with, like trip hop and drum’n’bass and street art, but when you’re there soaking it all up, it definitely has an influence.”

Now back in Australia with the album under their belts, World’s End Press will soon be setting off on a national tour. It has begun to dawn on them, however, that touring with synths in tow can be a very tricky business. “When we started, we used all this amazing old equipment, but there comes a point when touring when you realise that unless you can afford to have three backups of everything, you need more modern gear. It’s a shame, because it does stop you touring with some of the more old-fashioned gear, which is fun to play around with. The last month or so, we’ve been really busy travelling, and one of my favourite keyboards fell apart, then the backup died. It can be a bit of a nightmare … you just have to keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best.”

As for the future, after this tour wraps up World’s End Press will be playing summer festivals – and then they have their sights set on overseas. “Hopefully by the end of the summer we’ll be going to the US or the UK. We have so much momentum right now, we just want to keep that going.”

BY ALASDAIR DUNCAN

World’s End Press play Goodgod Small Club on Thursday November 14.World’s End Pressout now through Liberation.

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