In the wake of the release of their new self-produced album, Wasted Energy, Frances Salter caught up with Melbourne punk rockers Press Club about getting political, upcoming London shows, and misogyny in punk.
It was great to catch your set at The Great Escape earlier this year – you’re definitely a band it’s necessary to hear live rather than on Spotify. It also comes across as a really natural performance – how long did it take to get to the point of feeling comfortable on stage, especially given how much energy you put into each show?
We’ve all been playing together for a really long time, so being comfortable with one another on stage is something that has just developed over time. I suppose once you feel comfortable with your bandmates, you can start to feel comfortable with a crowd.
The other thing is that we’ve always written music from a very natural place. We started writing music together with the only preconception being that the music shouldn’t feel contrived, so it would make sense if our live performance feels that way. That being said, we’ve all gotten a bit too energetic at times and made asses of ourselves on stage.
There’s been a lot of chat in UK punk music recently about misogyny within the scene – it’s a conversation partly being led by some of your label mates at Hassle Records. What’s been your experience of being a female-fronted band?
To be honest, we’ve found the punk music scene in Australia to be a really warm and welcoming environment, 99% of all interactions are positive. And from the short but intense experience we had in the UK and Europe, it was a similar vibe.
There has been some really awkward situations with men saying or doing some stupid and misogynistic things to Nat, both in the crowd and backstage.
Punk is an inherently political genre, but previously your lyrics have tended to be more personal. Your recent single, Get Better, seemed to be turning a corner in that respect, as it’s more outward-facing. What motivated the change, and why now?
Honestly, it all stems from not having as much confidence as songwriters when we first started making the first album. At that point, we were really exploring what kind of music we wanted to make, and Nat was writing lyrics that she pulled from listening to friends and family then writing from their point of view. So that inherently lent itself to a more introspective viewpoint.
Now that we’ve gained a lot more confidence, releasing an album and doing a shit tonne of gigs, we’ve just naturally settled into writing songs that have a bit more to say. It feels like people might actually care.
You’ve been touring all over Europe and it’s great to see you’ve got some freshly-added London shows coming up. Have you had different reactions from the crowds in different countries?
Not really, every country in the UK and Europe was a blast. Of course, every gig you play is a little bit different, and some gigs were better attended than others, but we had a good time basically every single show.
We’re also really happy to be coming back to London for more shows. We had a few shows in London while we were over last time, and our show at the Islington was a massive highlight for us. I think we all feel like London is our home away from home while touring over the other side of the world.
Who are the 3 key bands we should listen to to understand where you’ve come from musically?
We all have really varied tastes in music so this is a pretty tough one to answer, but here are three bands that we often referenced while writing both albums:
Bad Brains – I realise that most punk bands can trace their roots back to Bad Brains, but we have to include them because we are always listening to them, particularly to their first three albums.
Cloud Nothings – These guys were maybe one of the main reasons we decided to start this band. Punk rock energy mixed with great songwriting. Here and Nowhere Else is a masterpiece, but all their albums are great.
Japandroids – Our sound has often been compared to this band, with good reason, we’ve stolen a lot of riffs and ideas. We also love the fact that they did most of their albums in the same studio with the same producer. It reminds us that you have to be confident in your own sound and not be constantly looking for new fads and fancy trinkets.
Press Club’s second album, Wasted Energy, is out now. It was recorded live at Woodstock Studios, Melbourne: click here to hear the first single, Thinking About You.
The band play The New Cross Inn, London, on Thursday 5th September – click here for a full list of UK and global dates.