Looking Back

9 October 2014 | 11:09 am | Michael Smith

“I don’t think I’ve ever written a song, stepped back from it and been so emotionally affected by something I’d written.”

“We did it in a different way,” singer, songwriter and guitarist Damien Sutton explains of The Bon Scotts’ new album, Modern Capitalism Gets Things Done. “We really spent time making sure the drum tracks and stuff were what we wanted, cut up a lot of stuff and re-edited and rewrote songs. We ended up picking those 11 songs from about 27. 

“We had more time so we wrote in lots of different ways. Like, a lot of the songs were written in the studio, but a lot of them were also written and played live for quite a while and, you know, when you play live, the songs change a lot more. And I wrote a lot of songs on the piano this time. Being a guitarist first, writing on piano gave a different feel. I just find if you write on piano or on electronic instruments, like synths and stuff, I find the writing is a lot more innovative, instead of that typical singer-songwriter path that you tend to go down when you’ve got a guitar. I think it works better for The Bon Scotts working like that because the songs come out of a good place but they also go through different formats. So we completely removed the acoustic guitar from a lot of the songs.”

In fact, in retrospect, Sutton feels the band’s last album, 2011’s We Will All Die At The Hands Of CGI, became more a singer-songwriter than a band album because every track was based around acoustic guitar. “The first album [2010’s Oddernity] wasn’t at all like that. It was all written using a lot of loops and samples and so forth, so we’ve kind of gone back to the original way of doing it, which is nice.”

In writing the lyrics for Modern Capitalism Gets Things Done, Sutton drew on his early youth, growing up in foster care in a small country town, “so a lot of it comes from the drinking and drug culture that we had down there that I tried to run away from I guess,” he admits. “Usually it’s all about the now but this album was really reflective, looking back at that period of my life when things weren’t as good as they should have been. Now I feel really focused and really settled and I love every part of my life and I don’t have to worry that side of it anymore – I make a living from music now; I run a studio and book bands do all that sort of stuff and The Bon Scotts are a huge part of my life.”

Still, as cathartic as making this album might have been, and for all its darker memories, it’s a very optimistic, upbeat collection of songs. There were moments when looking back was difficult. “The Colour That You Hide, I don’t think I’ve ever written a song, stepped back from it and been so emotionally affected by something I’d written.”