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Open Slather

17 October 2012 | 7:00 am | Benny Doyle

“We’re all really happy with the tracks that are recorded and how they were recorded. Now we’ve just got to convince other people that they’re good.”

East to west coast. North, south and in the red centre. If there's a stage and some ears, Tin Can Radio will travel there. The Brisbane quintet are in the middle of some country crisscrossing behind their second EP Open Ears Open Minds, a set of sexy jams that hold mood but still know how to party. A few weeks ago the guys became the first band in a decade to visit the remote town of Aurukun, enjoying the proper North Queensland experience while working with the PCYC, providing some holiday workshops for the local kids.

“It's been great getting out to the regional locations,” Wearne excitedly tells. “I think people appreciate it, like, we'll definitely be remembered. At first they didn't know what to make of us skinny jean, long-haired city slickers coming up and making indie pop. But we've been invited back.”

Wearne, the curly-locked Tin Can Radio frontman, says Open Ears Open Minds is a culmination of many things, but in the most literal sense it's collectively what the band's audience wants to hear. Deciding the EP's track selection via a website vote, the guys made sure that what was getting put down in the studio was precisely to their fan's tastes. Not that the band was without apprehension.

“It was just an idea that we had which we thought would be great and we followed it through,” he tells. “Sure, at the halfway point we were, like, 'What are we doing?' But we got a great response by letting the people decide and be a part of the record – that's what it was all about. It's all the same to me – [the songs] are all expressions. So personally, you do lose focus on which ones are good and which are shit. That's why this worked.”

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The band were more precise when it came to production for the record, though, leveraging the strengths of two established heads on the local scene by dividing their studio time between Applewood Lane and The Docking Station.

“We really liked Magoo for his ability with the drum sounds and getting the energy with the guitar, so we gave him the guitar-driven stuff,” Wearne tells. “Then we did the stranger synth-driven songs with Steve Bartlett, who's got an amazing knack for making interesting sounds and interesting textures. He's got a really intricate approach.”

The frontman recalls his highlights from the Open Ears Open Minds' sessions.

“Staying with Magoo in the middle of the bush and being isolated, making weird sounds in an old church, then he would leave and go home to his family so we'd step back into the studio and keep making weird sounds until the wee hours. The amount of toys that producers have – weird pedals and strange synthesisers that you could never dream of owning – we went crazy when he left. I'm not sure if he knows that. Steve Bartlett – he's a legendary guy and his studio is quite close to our house,” he continues. “He really became part of the band in many ways. He's got some great gear and he has an operating bar with a beer tap in the studio so that was definitely a highlight. We thanked his keg in the album credits – it helped us get through.”

It's clear that Tin Can Radio don't adhere to the norm, which is no doubt why their latest work sounds so fresh and alive, a trend that's sure to continue at their EP launch. “We're all really happy with the tracks that are recorded and how they were recorded. Now we've just got to convince other people that they're good.”

Tin Can Radio will be playing the following shows:

Saturday 20 October - Coniston Lane, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 25 October - Port Macquarie Hotel, Port Macquarie NSW
Friday 26 October - Stone Day Festival, Canberra ACT
Saturday 27 October - Upstairs Beresford, Sydney NSW
Friday 2 November - Worker's Club, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 11 November - Annie's Place, Alice Springs NT
Monday 12 November - Desert Music Club, Alice Springs NT
Saturday 8 December - Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast QLD