Naarm/Melbourne power-pop outfit Romero’s debut record ‘Turn It On!’ is here! Guitarist Fergus Sinclair takes a deep dive into album single and fan favourite ‘Halfway Out The Door’ to mark the occasion and share some insight into the band's creative process.
The skeleton of Halfway Out The Door was written before the whole band had properly gotten together and ended up being the first track that we all jammed on as a band.
It was born out of something that brothers Adam (guitar) and Dave (drums) had going on for a long time. It was mainly about trying to combine multiple elements together - something kind of country-rock yet also dipping into a wild shoegazey outro. We really admire and look up to bands like The Men that seamlessly dabble into multiple genre territories and pull it off with gusto.
Those opening snare hits from Dave really emphasise the pace and feel of the song and allows Adam to lock into the groove during that intro really well. I don’t think we wanted to do anything too epic with the structure or at least ensure that the feel didn’t drift too far from its roots. I was probably thinking too far out of the box initially on what to do with my guitar parts but it ended up sounding right with just myself and Adam playing those chords together.
The idea for creating little blemishes in the verses came just before we hit the studio. We were playing around with some ’two-note’ chord ideas, where I would play a higher octave whilst Adam maintained the rhythm by playing open chords. They are used a lot across the record and give a nice melodic flourish. Whilst they’re known for their wicked guitarmonies, we often bring up the vibe and feel of She Knows by Thin Lizzy as a reference point for doing something pretty sounding, but also rocking through melodic ‘two-note’ chords.
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While the song came together quite quickly, it took us a long time for us to figure out that it needed a little extra something before the solo kicked in. I think Adam had a fairly loose idea of this bridge-y riff that we messed around with for a while. It was all played on the low end and had these really big sounding bomb-hits that Murry managed to latch on to really quickly with his bass playing. When we added a bit of fuzz and bend to it, it sort of ended up sounding pretty BIG STAR/Chris Bell-y which matched the chorus really well and helped shape the ‘ballad’ feel of the song.
Prior to Romero, both Adam and myself had played in bands and written songs having to think about both vocals and guitar. So it was quite a revelatory moment when we first heard Alana’s soul pipes over our distorted rhythms. Her vocal style really pushes the song from being a kind of cosmic Americana jam into ballad territory and allows for this convergence of genres/elements that we were so keen to explore. Something that started out being somewhat of a Dinosaur Jr staple turned into a real ‘low-rider soul’ type of yearning. Alanna’s intonations, messaging and melody tread pretty similar waters to this absolute smacker from The Sapphires (a group that has absolutely no relation to the 2012 Wayne Blair classic).
Check out Halfway Out The Door and the rest of Turn It On! below.