From The Horse's Mouth: Rohan Brooks (Rudely Interrupted) on I Am Alive EP
Rudely Interrupted has overcome great odds to stand out amongst their peers in the Australian music scene. Despite featuring members with various special needs, this Australian quartet constantly tours around the world and crafts sing-along anthems that blend catchy melodies with indie rock riffs. Such passion is on full display with their latest studio effort, I Am Alive, which was released in North America on October 7.
Having released four studio recordings to date, Rudely Interrupted has toured extensively worldwide and has been invited to perform at prestigious events at the United Nations in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, as well as the L.A. Down Syndrome association’s Twenty Wonder annual party. The group’s wide-ranging touring activities were documented in the AFI-nominated, critically-acclaimed film Rudely Interrupted.
Ghettoblaster recently discussed the new EP with guitarist Rohan Brooks. This is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent EP?
We had a few songs on the run we started to write the EP, we had a version of “Ran Over The Lizard” in drop D, but it wasn’t sitting right so we changed the tunings and the song came alive.
We went into the studio ‘Tender Trap’ in Northcote Melbourne and had a week to get all our parts, and had a strong plan of the tracks and takes we needed. I think having a plan really made the experience a lot better for us. And the outcomes were definitely better than our other releases.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
“Catch You When You Fall” was the more difficult, we just kind of went for a longer arrangement and I think we lost the song a little. The parts are all good, we really love all the parts, but lost the song.
It was two song ideas, one was Rory’s and one was mine; I had the chorus and Rory had the verses. We actually play a stronger pop arrangement when we do it live. And now we are really happy with the song and we want to re-mix it because the new arrangement is so strong it’s another single for sure, but we’ll see about a re-mix.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Bernie Made Off” changed, we had the guts of the song and it was okay, but we worked on it a little more and the ‘he had the look he had the lie’ ‘he wore a suit and a tie’ line came out and we run with it, changed the rhythm to half time and it came together. It’s a cheeky song, and at first we weren’t sure if we wanted to keep the song on the record because a lot of heart ache came from this man’s greed and people lost their lives over his actions, but the song was too good, and we felt his name suited so well we just had to have a punk attitude and left the song on the record.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
We had been performing with a German lad named Sean Remmler, who we met on the road in Germany. He loved the band and learned the songs and we offered him to come on and do a few numbers with us. It worked so well we invited him to Australia to tour with us and became good mates. We jammed our songs and sent versions of the them to Sean in Germany, he tracked them at his friends studio, sent the tracks back and we worked them into the final takes to mix. It was great having an international element to the EP. Sean played bass on the first four tracks, and Nick Murphy played bass on “Catch You When You Fall.” Nick has played and toured with many great artists and we were thrilled to have his input.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
I produced and so I closely followed every note and every nuance on the record. We had a strong production plan, we’ve always had strong production values and think the results are awesome. We had worked with Greg Wales previously, he’s great in the studio and has worked with bands, from the Strokes, to You Am I. He’s a master engineer and at times took the lead with some of the parts we had tracked. A couple of tracks were added through mixing the record in Sydney and was a real pleasure and a great learning experience with Greg at the desk. Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
We try to make our songwriting as organic as possible, a lot of the topics we write about come from conversations we share. We’re in this for many reasons, but we’re in this to work hard, and support each other to do amazing things. We inspire each other to do better, to try harder and to experience everything the world has to offer.
If there’s an overall ethos or message, I think you can hear it over all the songs and records we’ve released. It’s hope, it’s about throwing caution to the wind and we want to change the world we live in. We want a more accepting world, a world where we can share great experiences and not be judged because of the way people look. “Anything Is Possible.” Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
“I Am Alive” is a winner, we love it, we love playing it, rehearsing it, we just love it! We’ve just started playing these songs live and the reaction is overwhelming, all the songs are being received really well, but the new arrangement of “Catch You When You Fall’ is my personal favorite. Actually a few are loving “Lizard,” and a few just love “Bernie Made Off.” “Code Red” is a winner to, it’s Rory’s throwback to the sixties..
With songs about, hope, life, love and Lizards, how can you go wrong!
(Visit the band here: www.rudelyinterrupted.com.)