Although the band have other real life pursuits away from music, success onstage for New Manic Spree is still very much the focus. frontman Tim Baker states their agenda to Benny Doyle.
Sangria is the brand new single from local rockers New Manic Spree, a song about breaking loose and the exciting first taste of a possible release in 2012.
“We've got another single [as well] that we've been working on that's not far from being finished,” Baker says, “but we've got an albums worth of material. We've recorded five tracks live in the studio and we're thinking of using them as well. We've got heaps of stuff we've been working on, we're just thinking of the best way to release it. An album? Maybe two EPs? I always love albums but the time has got to be right. It's a lot of work and a lot of built up repertoire to just throw away if it's not ready to be heard. “
Dignified intensity is a good way to sum up the music of the Brisbane four-piece. A plethora of ideas are injected to each of their songs, the end result an inspiring mix that cajoles the listener into a false sense of calm before impacting like a cannonball to the chest. Walking this tightrope is critical, Baker says, to really squeezing the most out of each individual part.
“I always think that if you have a heavy sound the whole way through a song, it's not heavy – it's all relative. Something is only big or heavy, or fast or slow, or soaring in relation to other parts of the song, that's why I think it's really important to have that contrast, even if it is a subtle contrast. And it's about doing that tastefully without chopping and changing too much.”
Baker explains this is done through a group songwriting process that's reflected in their sprawling, ambitious songs.
“We write everything pretty collectively,” he informs. “Someone will bring in an idea and we'll just jam on that idea and work on that and then expand from there. We very much work from a 'band' point of view. Sometimes someone will bring in an idea on guitar; sometimes it's drum beats; sometimes chords and vocals. So we don't really have a set way of working.
“None of us really like to tie down the ideas of other people. If I was to bring in an idea I wouldn't want to work on it too much. I'd keep it skeleton so I didn't influence the ideas that everyone else gets. I might have ideas of how things can go, but I won't show them to after they have shown me their [parts] – theirs might be better,” he reasons. “I think it can hinder the creative process a bit because when you hear something it's hard to get out of that creative mindset, especially in a rhythmic context.”
Those familiar with New Manic Spree will notice a new arse on the drum stool at this upcoming single launch, regular drummer Dave McMonagle concentrating instead on getting his pilot's license. But more than able support has quickly been found in the way of Brendan Chu from fellow Brisbane rockers Aerials. Baker acknowledges the incestuous nature of the tight local alternative clique, but with a common goal of success, they are all happy to be pushing forward together.
“There's not a huge alternative scene in Brissie,” Baker admits. “There's a lot of bands but there isn't as much of a scene as the indie scene. It's small but it's close – we exchange a lot of ideas. I mixed Aerials latest single Silhouettes and I've done mixing for Julian [Schweitzer] from Greenthief and production with him as well. We've played a lot of gigs together, it's really cool, and it's good we're starting to make inroads.”