"What can I say? Fight Club had a huge influence on me."
In the lead up to the ten year anniversary celebration of End Of Fashion's debut self-titled album, we got Justin Burford to look back and give us a track by track on the 2005 release.
"I remember writing this song in the bathroom of a hotel in Sydney, way back when I was in the The Sleepy Jackson. I was playing with a lot of You Am I type chord patterns. It was written really quickly. I've always liked the changes in this song. That big jam out at the end was a direct Sleepy's influence. When we were looking for producers for the first album, I remember speaking to Mike Clink who'd done stuff like Guns N' Roses and Megadeth, and he just couldn't wrap his head around the abbreviation of 'She Is' to 'She's' in the title. So he was out. Would have been a pretty different record. The 'TVs on the beach' video for this song is probably my favourite of End of Fashion. It was directed by a good friend of mine, Mike Spiccia. I just love how straight faced it explores such an absurd idea."
"Another song that was written quickly. On a bet. I won a carton. It's obviously a perilously close Pixies homage. What can I say? Fight Club had a huge influence on me. One of my favourite recording memories came from this song. Dennis (Herring, producer) had all of us around a mic in the middle of a hall in the studio and we were 'Hoo! Ha!'-ing around it in time with the bridge. Reminded me of Tusk or something. The melody of the 'sweet candy' bridge was also written on the spot. We just wanted something really different from the rest of the song. There was a different version live back before the album but it's been totally forgotten. Easily not one of my better song titles, we dropped the 'H' from the 'Oh' just for the design of the single sleeve."
"This song was fairly new to the set when we went in to record. I remember just starting to write it when we were all sharing a room in a rats' nest in London. Recording the guitar on it was like playing a video game for Rod (Aravena, guitarist) and myself. We were almost taking it bar by bar, making sure the chugs were bang on the beat and tight with each other. It got a better result than playing the whole thing and then editing in my opinion. We recorded it in the super high key of A. I think we only ever played it live in A once or twice before dropping it to G. From memory, it was Nic (Jonsson, drummer) who recorded the organ part in the bridge. My second favourite video."
"The original lyrics for this song were so bad, Luke Steele laughed at them when first played it to him. After a rewrite, this was one of the songs I was most looking forward to recording. I really like its musicality. It was part of the live set very early on, showing off that we could do more than fast rock. Looking back on it, I like the way everything was produced except the vocals. It was one of the first songs we tracked. We'd gone straight across to Mississippi after a massive Australian tour and my voice was fucked. Dennis wanted to keep the vocal performance super raw but I hated it. I still feel like I could have done a better job. I think because the lyrics are so basic and direct, people tend to connect a lot with this song live."
"This song was recorded a bunch of times. For me, the album version is the best one. Dennis went for that more measured, Bowie-esque feel. It became a lot cooler to play after that. We used to just smash through everything as fast as possible but recording this made us play stronger grooves. This song really ticks the boxes of the 'You Am I' thing I was into at the time. It definitely has that Timmy Rogers swagger about it, although I seem to recall the chords being borrowed from a Bob Dylan song and rearranged."
"Maybe my favourite recording from these sessions. We made some good arrangement choices in pre-prod for this one. It also has some of my favourite throw away lines like 'I will never be sober, it's hard enough being friends.' It's a weird song in a lot of ways but still stands up for me. It's also a great set opener with that floor tom beat at the top. Some mandatory hat tipping to Mr Rogers again, but with a lot of our own personality. If I could sum up the sound of End of Fashion on that first record in a single song, it might be this one."
"From one of my favourite recordings to my least. In Denial was easily this record's biggest disappointment for me. It had always sounded so enormous live. It was kind of written to be the big production number. But Dennis just didn't get it. When we'd arrived to start recording, he was finishing up with a great little English band whom he'd been having huge creative clashes with. They'd wanted that big English wash but that didn't seem to be something Dennis liked to do. Same thing with In Denial. I'd wanted something off OK Computer - he wanted Springsteen. I love Bruce but it just didn't feel like the right direction for this song. I managed to talk him into doing a little bit of a verb and delay at the end of the track, but if I'd had my way the whole song would have sounded like that."
"We were all on the same page for this song. So much Fleetwood feel on the drums. I love it. We tracked the harmonies with Katy Steele back in Fremantle at Couch Studios after we got home and sent them back to be mixed. Worked out well. She has such a distinctive voice and we were together at the time, so I'm glad she got on the record. I also remember Dennis making life a little tough for Nic on this song. He was getting him to hit cardboard cymbals in place of Nic's own to try and train him 'to be a drummer, not a cymbalist.' A good lesson to learn but he could have been a little nicer about it. Also, we left the 'H' on the 'Oh' for this one."
"Along with You Am I and Fleetwood Mac, I was listening to a lot of Queen at the time. In music and spirit, Lock Up Your Daughters was the most Queen sounding song to make the record. It was big, bombastic, musically sophisticated and cheeky. The chord changes at the end were giving Hugh (Jennings, bass player) and Dennis headaches when tracking the bass, which I took a sort of victorious delight in. I like the musical arrangement of the song for its twists and turns. The song never stops changing as it goes on and it feels like it ends up kind of tied up on itself. It was also a fun video to make. We shot it in Brisbane and got real local Roller Derby Girls to go at it. The 'stunts' in that video are all real. Those girls pulled no punches."
"One of my oldest songs that became an End of Fashion song. This song was recorded three times; as a demo, for the fist EP and finally for the record.
"Personally, I don't think we ever beat the demo. That happens. I prefer not to 'demo' any more. If a recording has a vibe, that becomes the record. Don't get me wrong, the album version sounds good but for me, it misses that scrappiness that was part of the bands' live character. We were on tour years later when a chap came up after a gig and told me how much that song had meant to his brother who had very recently passed away. They played it at his funeral. I was floored. We were both so appreciative of each other. It was such a real moment between two otherwise total strangers. That might be my favourite songwriting-related memory."
"This song was recorded when Dennis was in LA for Grammies week. We were left to our own devices with Jacquire King who was engineering for Dennis (and went on to produce records for Kings Of Leon and BRMC.) It's the most studio sounding song on the album which is why I like it. It's made up of mostly loops and cool synth sounds. We somehow managed to convince the Oxford University Women's Choir to record backing vocals and when they came in, we had the idea to have one of the ladies read a passage from a book about the history of psychology. We used that recording to play out the track, since we always knew it would be the last song on the album. It's a dark horse which is why it's become one of my faves over the years. It still feels relevant. I think we only ever played it live on the album tour. I remember not feeling like we were doing it justice. It's a song I can imagine writing today."