"My dad is a pastor – he’s a man of the cloth – but I don’t see him anymore and I’m very much agnostic now."
"My dad is a pastor – he's a man of the cloth – but I don't see him anymore and I'm very much agnostic now; I feel like I don't know enough about Christianity to even pass judgement. But a joke that I was constantly saying when I was pissed or being a cynical bastard, was, well, 'What would Christ Do? Apparently he has all the fucking answers'. Whether I would buy a donut or not.”
Cam Avery lets out a light chuckle after that final remark. The Western Australian musician is talking about the naming origins of The Growl's debut record, What Would Christ Do??, and although his girlfriend at the time tempted him with the potential title, 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner', he decided to go with something a little closer to home, finishing it with two question marks to give a sense of absurdity to what could otherwise be an overwrought statement. “I get this weird feeling that people think we take ourselves a bit more seriously than what we do,” he agrees. “[But making] albums, it's a funny thing anyway.”
The 'we' Avery mentions references the Perth musical posse that he's part of alongside friends Kevin Parker, Jay Watson and Nick Allbrook, among many others. Yes, Avery's personal passion and pursuit is The Growl, the sextet he fronts, and writes and records almost all the music for; however, he's also been a member of Pond for a few years now, and has recently gotten involved with Tame Impala as their bassist since the departure of Allbrook earlier this year. Not that the varying outlets clash. “It's a different mindset so it's hard to even compare the two,” he responds when asked how the juggling is going thus far. “It's like comparing classical to garage, y'know, you listen to them with a completely different ear and appreciation levels. The Growl is a different kind of expression because it's songs that I've written and I know the deeper concept more so than I do Tame Impala songs. The Growl is less thinking, whereas Tame Impala there's more execution rather than conceptual or emotional thought.”
Those principles are represented honestly on What Would Christ Do??, a rustic, howling album that emerged from houses, warehouses and other non-studio spaces. There's elements of blues, rock, psychedelic and garage throughout, and although there's a great deal going on instrumentation-wise, the spacious production means that it can all be absorbed and appreciated as easily as it was originally expelled. “It was very much a blindly recorded album,” Avery shrugs. “The whole album is a very time and a place thing. At the time I was very much in the mindset, y'know, if you're painting a [picture] you wouldn't [do] half of it and then get in someone [else]. I was like, 'If I do it myself it will sound how I want it to sound', and also I learnt a lot from playing most of the instrumentation, just how to put a song together.”
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