By Triana Hernandez
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
It took them three years to complete, but Melbourne’s favourite math-rock/post-hardcore scramz-punks Stockades have finally released their debut album Open – and what an album.
A masterclass in tension and relief, Open contains carefully structured emotional avalanches of anger and lament periodically interspersed by moments of pensive tranquility – moments of clarity often accompanied by a yearning saxophone.
Stockades have fucking amazing dynamics, reminding us that a vital component in creating noise is considering its silences.
UB caught up with Stockades’ vocalist/saxophonist Joe Sterley to talk about taking ages, being all over the place musically, and gambling on an upcoming Sydney tour…
There’s a shitload of different genres going on in Stockades – what’s the go?
We’ve all been influenced by different music. Ned used to play classical but now he plays rock, Alex likes old-school gangsta rap, Morty likes game boy noises and Allan only really listens to Danzig-era Misfits and the intro riff from “Reign in Blood”. We started out as a post-rock project, then we started playing more math-rock after hearing a band called Native. They were our biggest influence in the beginning, but now it’s kinda all over the place. I think we could be described as “post-hardcore”, but classifying music according to genre is a difficult thing. We once had a sound person describe our music as ‘alternative jazz with yelling’. It’s not how I would describe it but people understand things in their own way, and that’s cool.
What about your debut album Open, how would you describe its sound/mood?
Open is more bleak and heavy than our previous releases. I like to think of it as being crushing but also hopeful at the same time. It’s not particularly easy to listen to because it’s quite intense, there’s a lot of changes, a lot of notes, a lot of words, and a lot of dynamic contrast.
It took about three years to make the album…
Well, we’re not super well organised and it just seemed to take a long time to come together. I think that was a good thing though- we were more critical throughout the songwriting and probably put more pressure on ourselves in making something we were real happy with. I mean, everything was still entirely based on what our guitarists Ned and Allan wrote (thanks guys!), but we spent more time working out structures and other things collectively. Coming to consensus between five people is very difficult (at least for us) but I think we all contributed heaps. I’m proud of that because our music is pretty weird and there weren’t a lot of obvious decisions about how it should sound. Working well together is the most rewarding part of it, even if it takes fucking ages.
The promo-posters are absolutely amazing. How did they come about?
I sent mekosuchus the lyrics and she made them for us. We wanted to have some visual art to “build organic hype” haha…urgh. They turned out amazing! Some are already pasted on walls around Melbourne and more are coming soon to a wall near you! (If you live around the inner-western suburbs of Melb) . We will also have some primo quality ones to sell at shows.
Are your lyrics more personal or more political?
I write about things that are interesting to me and things that I think are important. The purpose is to make a personal statement, not push a political agenda. I definitely subscribe to the idea that the personal is political. For example, a song about a breakup could be just as political as a song about animal liberation and both could also be about pain or love. It’s just about different perspectives…so everything and nothing is “political”. I also want to acknowledge that a lot of the ideological ideas in my lyrics aren’t things that I came up with on my own, they’re inspired by the work of many other people.
What’s your favourite lyric to yell out when you are singing?
“Fuck the police”. It’s not at all original or very interesting but I think the sentiment is important.
This is a Sydney publication and you are playing there soon so I guess I should ask you something about it. Do you have any expectations other than playing after 12am without going to jail (lol)?
I expect that the weather will be better than here and we will watch some good bands and have a swell time. I am not at all concerned about lock-out laws because we can always go push our big money tour profits into some pokie machines and have an absolute rager at The Star.
Aug 6 – The Catfish, Melbourne with No Haven, Sonic Youth Allowance and Infinite Void.
Aug 11 – Beatdisc, Sydney (Parramatta) with Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, Safe Hands and Hannahband.
Aug 12 – Vic on The Park, Sydney (Marrickville) with Oslow.
Listen to Open: