The End Is Still Nigh

11 May 2012 | 4:55 pm | Brendan Telford

"Nobody really cared for it at first," claims Yuri Johnson of Keep On Dancin's album, "myself included."

Local purveyors of haunting yet elegiac rock Keep On Dancin's have been a veritable mainstay on the Brisbane local scene, scoring quality support slots while also playing in almost every venue and dive across town. Their efforts helped to produce an album, The End Of Everything, a beautiful blend of their elegantly wasted noir pop. That was a year ago. With an impending vinyl launch coming up, guitarist Yuri Johnson is hasty to explain why the release has been so laboured.

“At the moment we're just trying to get people to listen to the record. Those who have seem to really like it, but it would be cool if more people heard it. We actually did launch the CD version at Woodland last Easter, and it was a great night, but we always regretted releasing the album on CD. It's a moribund format and the packaging was substandard. Every time I held one of those CDs in my hands, I felt like a chump. Getting the vinyls printed is redemptive for us.”

That said, a lot of time has elapsed since The End Of Everything's availability on both disc and digital formats, and the band has slogged its wares for some time now. Johnson is adamant that by releasing the vinyl, the songs will reach a wider audience this time around.

“It's kind of difficult when we rarely play interstate, get no national airplay and there's a finite number of people in Brisbane willing to listen to any album, but we haven't given up trying. Doing another launch is a way for us to wipe the slate clean and, hopefully, sell some records. Also, we feel that the album has been a bit of a slow-burner. Nobody really cared for it at first – myself included – but over the past year it's grown on people and I'm constantly surprised how many people have managed to hear it somewhere and somehow. So, the launch will be a nice way to celebrate the record with those who came late to the party.”

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Another noticeable change is the cover art, which now depicts a series of hand-drawn '70s and '80s-style headshots. The connection to the album itself isn't overtly obvious…

“That's because there isn't any!” Johnson laughs. “Someone suggested we do fresh cover art for the vinyl and we were all immediately onboard. We asked our friend Ben Mangan to hand-draw something for us. What he came up with is as deeply confusing to me as it is probably to everyone else. I've never asked him why he chose to draw that and how he thinks it relates to the record. Not everyone likes it, but I really enjoy the non sequitur between the music and the art. It makes no sense at all. I think that's cool.”

With the album's laboured gestation period, it's difficult to see what lays on the band's horizon, but some things never change.

“We definitely see ourselves as a downer band,” Johnson opines. “Jacinta [Walker] and myself share a love of sad songs, so that's mostly where it comes from. We also have a limited skill set. I think we'd sound like hell if we tried to play upbeat music. Playing simple, slow, depressing songs is a great way to stick out, too. Nobody does it! A lot of bands seem to throw as much noise and shit at the audience as they can, hoping that something sticks. Maybe they're worried people will get bored. In my view, playing something simple and hypnotic is far more effective at getting people's attention. Then again, maybe I'm just an old chunk of coal who doesn't understand the crazy sounds kids are making these days.”