[SPEAKING VOLUMES] Q+A with Rufio of Press Club

With the release of Press Club’s fully independent album Late Teens coming late this week, coupled with a huge run of shows to come, we sat down with bassist Rufio to find out some more about the band, Late Teens, and their upcoming tour with The Smith Street Band.

How did the spot on the Pool House Party line up come about? And what bands are you most looking forward to sharing the stage with?

Well. We’re supporting The Smith Street Band on their upcoming national tour. It’s hitting about 30 cities/towns in Australia over seven weeks and I see this as a sort of send off for the whole tour. We’ve actually played with a surprising mix of the bands on the lineup to date but I’m pretty interested in Ecca Vandal. And veerrrrry keen to see Tropical F*ck Storm.

Your album Late Teens is dropping the day before Pool House Party, what can we look forward to from the album?

Eleven songs that were written, arranged, recorded live (in a hellishly sweaty studio without A/C), produced and mixed entirely by us ourselves with absolutely no meddling from record labels or producers. The songs are exactly as they were intended to be heard when they were written. Unadulterated.

What themes and thought processes are on the album?

Lyrically the songs are about the stories of ourselves and our friends. Though we always want people to find their own meaning within the words. I mean, that’s what everyone does anyway, yeah? There seems to be a fair bit of stuff about isolation, relationships, displacement in amongst it.

From an instrumental standpoint we sort of just let the songs come about organically. One person would bring a motif or a riff to the table and we’d all embellish on it with whatever we were feeling that day. We didn’t say “Alright, time to write a slower song that has rainstick, bazouki and piano on it”. We just fleshed out the skeletons with what the individual songs sounded like they were asking for.

Which artists influence you most as a musician?

An ever-changing list of genius’ and one hit wonders. It shifts dramatically every four or five years. Was Charlie Parker and Jaco once upon a time, James Jamerson, Holland-Dozier-Holland and Curtis Mayfield before that, then Funkadelic, to Bowie, to The Jam, to Radio Birman. The list goes on forever. What next is what I wanna know?

What was the first album you ever bought?

Blink 182 – Dude Ranch

Late Teens is something that you wrote, recorded and produced alone. How does it feel releasing an entirely independent album?, and how important was it to you to do this independently?

Great. It feels great. I thought we could have done with a bit more money, exposure, experience from the outset but we chose to bite a big bullet and do it ourselves – so as to retain our creative freedom, and our songs. And sitting here on the eve of it coming out – in retrospect – I’m totally satisfied with what we’ve achieved with our own blood, sweat and tears. We’ve learnt a lot, and we’re a lot better as musicians and producers as a result.

What city or town would you love to play in?

Some where hot in July. Give us a break from Melbourne’s cold months.

Who are your Top 5 Australian artists at the moment?

– A. Swayze & The Ghosts
– Tropical F*ck storm
– These New South Whales
– Royal Headache
– Power

For those who haven’t listened to you – can you describe your sound?

I’m trying to think of an onomatopoeia….. Bang?

How long have you known each other, and how did Press Club form?

We all met each other at different times, though all through music. I met drummer Frank at high school, then I followed him into a music course where I met Natalie in my year. Then through Natalie we met Greg. We had all played in a number of different bands together both at music school and otherwise until we formed Press Club in winter of 2016.
Your Bandcamp says that you are “the musical embodiment of the attitude of a generation experiencing impermanence in every way”. What effect do you think this impermanence will have on society?

I don’t really think we as people embody that, but a person’s music is often an extension of the emotions they’re feeling on the inside. And we’re living in a place (particularly in the inner-North of Melbourne) that is constantly morphing. Both with cultural shift and the area undergoing huge physical changes. I’ve been thrown out of three houses in four years to make way for apartment complexes or because the owners were making hay of their massively inflated property values. That’s life I guess, but it pisses you off when you can’t find a joint to call home for a while in the suburb that you’re from. As to what effect it will have on society as a whole, time will tell.

Late Teens by Press Club is what happens when four Melbourne musicians come together to create a body of work entirely devoid of outside influence from record labels, producers and the like, being answerable to only themselves.

Over six weeks in late 2016 MacRae’s Brunswick East house was converted into a temporary song-writing sweatshop where the band wrote forty songs that were distilled into the dozen that make up the track list on ‘Late Teens’. Relying upon the experiences of their friends and people they know as subject matter, ‘Late Teens’ thematically approaches displacement, relationships, internal turmoil, gentrification and inequality. The album was recorded truly live over one week at The Aviary studios, Abbotsford with guitarist, Greg Rietwyk, at the helm. The band used minimal over dubs to create an unadulterated, and as honest record as possible. The buzz-saw guitar laden, self-assertion of ‘Headwreck’, the first single from Late Teens received loyal attention from music lovers and radio alike. Other tracks ‘My Body’s Changing’ and the naked, delicate vulnerability of ‘Suburbia’ reflect the band’s broad song-writing pallet and diverse sonic mastery. The album’s breadth of quality is by no means limited to its singles. Title track ‘Late Teens’ experiments with deconstructing conventions of form and ‘Stay Low’ is as dynamic as it is disarming. Late Teens traverses a humongous musical landscape, something many in the modern music world are afraid to do.

Since playing their first show in February ’17 and enduring a hell-forleather 60+ shows, Press Club are enjoying demand most first year bands dream of. 2018 will continue to see the band touring heavily heading out on the road supporting The Smith Street Band from March through May. Late Teens is the perfect way to round out Press Club’s first 12 months doing things themselves, their own way


Supporting The Smith Street Band:
Wednesday March 21 – Bar On The Hill, Newcastle
Thursday March 22 – Wollongong Uni, Wollongong
Friday March 23 – UC Refectory, Canberra
Saturday March 24 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (AA)
Sunday March 25 – Long Jetty Hotel, Central Coast
Thursday March 29 – Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough
Saturday March 31 – Astor Theatre, Perth
Sunday April 1 – Mojos, Fremantle (U18)
Thursday April 5 – Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool
Friday April 6 – Shadows, Mount Gambier
Saturday April 7 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (AA)
Wednesday April 11 – The Northern, Byron Bay
Thursday April 12 – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Friday April 13 – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Saturday April 14 – The Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
Wednesday April 18 – Giddy Goat Hotel, Rockhampton
Thursday April 19 – Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach
Friday April 20 – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
Saturday April 21 – Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns  
Friday April 27 – Discovery, Darwin  
Saturday April 28 – Gap View Hotel, Alice Springs
Friday May 4 – Saloon Bar, Launceston
Saturday May 5 – Odeon Theatre, Hobart (AA)
Wednesday May 9 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Thursday May 10 – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave
Friday May 11 – Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights
Saturday May 12 – Hawthorne Arts Centre, Hawthorn (U18)
Sunday May 13 – Theatre Royale, Castlemaine