Jesse Coulter and his band Grenadiers are riding a wave of new success following the release of their third album Find Something You Love And Let It Kill You earlier this month. The band couldn’t be happier with the record and its reception – though the feeling is less one of elation, and more relief that the thing is finally out in the world. In fact, the band originally wanted to release the album more than six months ago, but they hit some significant road blocks during the writing process.
Frontman Coulter explains that it was only when it came time to mix the record that problems began to surface. “So the process of writing the songs and tracking the whole thing was super easy and natural, and fun, and rad,” he says. “It was only when it got to the point of mixing that things started to get a little bit tricky.
The process of writing the songs and tracking the whole thing was super easy and natural, and fun, and rad.
“We contracted a really big name producer to mix the record for us, and after sinking in what for us was a fairly astounding amount of money, we decided that we really didn’t feel what was coming out was something that represented what we had recorded and what the songs should sound like. So we made the very difficult decision at that point to basically start again with the mixing process.
“We ended up doing it ourselves. Jimmy [Hastings], our drummer, who did the last album, Summer, did this one as well in the end. He didn’t want to be the only pair of ears on it, so we got down another mate from Melbourne to help us out. We also had to hire out another studio, but we didn’t get it done in the first batch of time that we’d booked, so we had to fly our friend from Melbourne down again and book some more studio time. Things got protracted endlessly and it just did everyone’s head in. It was a gnarly, long, expensive, torturous process.”
The ill-fated decision to go external with the production and mixing on the album originally stemmed not only from a desire to take a more professional tact, but also from Hastings’ previous struggles with mixing Summer. He had felt then that he was too close to the band to do a proper job; that he couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
“I guess there’s just a mentality that when things are on the up and up – which they were at the time – that you don’t want to rest on your laurels,” says Coulter. “You want to be constantly improving in every facet of what you do, whether it’s the songwriting or the videos you put together, or, in this case, the sound of an album and the sonic quality of it. I guess it was a combination of two things.
“Jimmy finds it really difficult to mix his own band. I guess it’s not enough of a degree of separation between the musician and the music, and he just feels like he overthinks everything. So while the result of the last album was awesome, Jimmy just didn’t want to go through that again – which is why we attempted to do it elsewhere.”
Fans of Grenadiers will immediately notice that Find Something not only has different thematic concerns to Summer, but is also a new direction for the band sonically and melodically. “This album does sound vastly different to Summer, and that’s because when we recorded Summer it was this lineup but it was mostly songs I had written before they had joined Grenadiers.
“It was a fresh new band lineup, and they were more-or-less playing my songs, with the exception of about three of them which we wrote together,” he continues. “It was more a one-person thing as opposed to a collaborative effort. We were all listening to different music back then. Our tastes have evolved and we’ve honed ourselves more of a unit as well. This album is way more indicative of us as a group of people.”
Now that the endless process has finally ended, it’s time for Grenadiers to look forth to their 2018 tour of Australia. As with their previous tours, the Adelaide lads have included both city dates and regional dates. “It makes sense for us on a number of levels,” says Coulter.
“Our music is fairly unpretentious and obvious, and we embrace that – it’s definitely part of who we are. I think that sometimes those kinds of audiences tend to get it really well. Also it just makes logistical sense as well. If you’re travelling all the way to Queensland from Adelaide, it makes sense to try to tack on another show or two. Some of the best times we’ve ever had have been in places outside of the obvious: outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth.
“Even with Canberra: it’s the capital of Australia, but it’s not a regional town, and it doesn’t have the vibe of an urban cultural centre. We’ve had some awesome shows in Canberra. One of my favourite shows we’ve ever played was in Arnhem Land, which is 45 minutes east of Darwin on a light plane. You can’t even drive to, it the terrain is to hectic. That was just absolutely mind-blowing; a totally different experience to anything we’ve ever done before. Those kinds of experiences make being in a band worthwhile, so we are always chasing them.”