Glam Adelaide were lucky enough to chat to multi-instrumentalist and co-songwriter Liam McGorry from crazy talented Melbourne band Saskwatch before they take to the stage at Fat Controller next month.
Is the title track of your latest album Manual Override indicative of pressing the reset button on the band as a whole? Saskwatch appears to have departed substantially from the soul and jazz roots we have come to know you for. What is the genesis of the latest direction you have gone on?
From album to album as a rule, we’ve tried to better our songwriting and really make a solid sonic improvement on the one before… I guess part of that is experimenting with the overall sound of the band, but to be honest the change in sound in my opinion has really just reflected the people in the band and the dynamic as a whole at that particular time… and maybe some of what we were influenced by at the time. The Manual Override theme does refer in a way to that shift, but also to the physical shift that we’ve undergone in the change in lineup over the last few years, as well as us taking control of the production on this album which Rob and myself did.
You all appear to be highly trained musicians. Is paring back your sound, a case of you’ve got to know the rules to break them?
Yes definitely. For me personally as a songwriter it’s opened up a whole raft of new instrumentation and arrangement ideas that just weren’t possible before. That and the trial and error experiences we’ve gone through as a band over the last nearly 10 years!
Can you give us an idea of the differences in self producing an album, compared to getting it done overseas at great expense?
I guess the main difference for us was finally having the confidence to take it on ourselves without the safety net of someone else producing. The last two albums were done Overseas and Interstate so we were in a rush so to speak to finish it on time and on budget but doing it at home really relaxed both of those ideas as well.
To get the types of sounds you’ve gone for on Manual Override did you do a lot of pre-planning in terms of certain analogue equipment, or types of guitars or synths?
Yes and No… a lot of the songs came out pretty much as they were written but there was also a bit of sonic tweaking and trial and error during the recording by Rob, myself and Cal Barter (who engineered and mixed the album with us). We love a lot of analogue gear in that you can touch it and feel what you’re doing to the sound.
There’s a real sense of romantic longing and emotion in “Then There’s You” which you released some months ago, and personally it’s one of my favourite songs of the year. Can you explain the lyrical narrative of the song and also run us through the production of that magical music video?
Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you. It was really the key song for the record in my opinion. We started playing it last year on our Sorry I let It… tour with Cub Sport and it became the cornerstone sonically, and also lyrically, for the album. It’s a song really about longing and stasis and about how comfortable it is not to change. In terms of the video, i’m not too sure what really happened other than Nkechi spending a whole day in freezing in a tub with milky ice cold water!
We’re really looking forward to your upcoming show at Fat Controller. You always put a lot of effort and energy into your live show. What can we expect visually and sonically from this upcoming show?
Playing live is and always has been really the true essence of Saskwatch to me. It’s literally one of the best feelings I know to play and connect with a live audience. You can’t beat it. We’ll be playing a whole heap of songs from Manual Override, while digging deep into the archive for a few older cuts as well. Love playing in Adelaide, so i’m sure it will be a treat!
Saskwatch play Fat Controller on Saturday November 18th and we’d highly recommend snaring a ticket to one of Australia’s best live acts as it’s a good chance of selling out!
Meanwhile, check out all the blue paint in the clip for their latest single Fingerpainting below.