Halfday: King Of Kings.

9 September 2002 | 12:00 am | Matt Thrower
Originally Appeared In

Make Mine A Half.

Halfday launch Downstairs King at Ric’s on Friday night

It’s amazing what you can do from home these days. Take local band Halfday’s new EP Downstairs King, produced, recorded and mixed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Nathan Lockwood at his home studio. The result is an intoxicating pop record, full of jangling guitars and Brian Wilson-esque harmonies, as well as the occasional bleeping synth that actually complements rather than detracting from the organic musical sources elsewhere on the CD. But Nathan is keen to dispel the idea that Downstairs King was a one-man show.

“It was very much a collaborative effort with the other musicians on the CD, including Ryan (Argent) on drums, Josh Cilento on guitar and (famed producer/arranger) Daniel (Denholm) played some keyboards. I’m hoping at some point to work with Daniel further. It was Daniel’s idea to make Downstairs King the main track on the CD.”

Another notable presence is Owen Jolly, singer/guitarist who wrote and sang the intimate, haunting final track on the EP, On A Dragonfly Moment. Along with Ryan and bassist Mario Robazza, Owen is now an official member of Halfday.

“Owen joined after I’d done four of the five songs on this EP,” Nathan explains. “It’s funny, because the rest of the EP by comparison took so long to finish, but we did that last track really quickly. Owen totally fits in with the folky feel of the band, but he also has a different take on things lyrically. He’s more of a storyteller, whereas my lyrics are dreamier and more obscure.”

The songs on Downstairs King date back to when Nathan was playing with the very popular Pretty Violet Stain. The result is a fine CD, rich with melody and harmony.

“That’s the Beach Boys influence coming through. Pet Sounds is my favourite album, particularly production-wise,” says Nathan. “Just 60s stuff in general inspires me. Beatles, Bacharach and more orchestral arrangements.”

Would you ever consider working on ornate arrangements a la Pet Sounds?

“I’d love to, but getting those players would be an expensive exercise,” Nathan admits. “If I got an orchestra in, I’d have to pay every musician! Even a brass section is more than I can afford at this stage, but further down the track, that’s something I’d definitely like to explore.”

You can always use synths to emulate orchestral arrangements.

“Yeah, but even then, there are certain things that electronics can’t capture in that respect,” says Nathan. “That’s why the electronic sounds on this EP are so raw, just pure sound instead of trying to sound like another instrument. Daniel played an 80s synth on Downstairs King, which gave up the ghost just after we recorded it. He’d just spent all this money getting it fixed too! He wasn’t impressed.”