Album Focus: City Calm Down

11 November 2015 | 7:42 pm | Aaron Bryans

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It’s been three years since City Calm Down stepped into the Melbourne scene with their hit EP, Movements. Time touring and working on evolving their sound following its release would delay the group’s ultimate goal of a debut album, and as a result, the group sought time away from big city life to find what they were truly looking to develop.

“We spent a lot of time in the studio we had in the Melbourne CBD and we weren’t really getting anything done,” Bourke retells. “We decided it was time to go away for a bit. We went down for three days and played for 14 hours a day and started writing and finishing songs in a very loose format. We weren’t too concerned with having all the detail and instrumentation; we were sort of after a fully arranged song and chord progression and vocal melody standpoint. Once we started doing that we were writing songs quite quickly and get some direction.”

Assisting the group’s progression was producer Malcolm Beasley, who took a step back from the chaos and found the areas needing more work. The move would ultimately calm things down - and enable the writing process to become less pedantic.

“Malcolm came into the place towards the end of last year,” Bourke explains. “We had a lot of songs together and we’d start playing through them, and he’d sit in the rehearsal with us and he’d give us an idea of what he was liking and what he wasn’t liking, and where we could focus more attention. We found the process to be better because there was less agonising over small nitty gritty things; it was about the big picture of the song.

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"At the end of the day, if you can’t put it onto a keyboard and have the song stand up as a good song as keyboard and vocals or guitar and vocals, you’re probably taping over something. I feel like when we stripped everything away we were able to see if we had a good song there. Then, once we’d seen we had a good song, we could add instrumentation to give it colour and atmosphere.”

For City Calm Down, In A Restless House is only the beginning of a blossoming career, with many other elements to experiment with and delve into.  For Bourke himself, there are plenty of external influences he soon hopes to apply himself.

“Since we’ve started as a band we’ve always focused on making songs that we felt were strongly engaging in a live setting,” Bourke claims. “I don’t think there’s been much of a change in that regard.

“We’d like to write the next record a bit faster. However, we’re all working full-time jobs at the moment because you have to. We’re keen to get back in and start writing. We’ve already got a few ideas going on that we’ve put together as a band, and I’ve put some stuff together at home. Who knows how long it will take? We will have to find ourselves, and where we are on our own terms, and then come together and work out where we’re going.”

Originally published in X-Press Magazine