Aborted Tortoise return with new LP – A Album – their first full-length since 2017’s lauded An Beach. Today we’re premiering the first single ‘The Sun’ along with its super fun video. Gimmie caught up with the band to find out about it all.
What’s life been like lately? What did you get up to today?
ALEX: Been great thanks! I recently moved to the country about two hours south of Perth and it is bloody serene. I’ve set up a budget studio in the new place and it’s been super liberating being able to demo tracks whenever I want without worrying about annoying the neighbours cos they’re so far away. Today I drove back home from Perth after a wicked Halloween party on Saturday night with our sibling band Ghoulies. Had a heinous HJ’s lunch on the way back and I feel crook.
What’s the best and worst things that have happened to you in the last week?
CHARLES: Best: The Unknowns dropped a hell good ‘Monster Mash’ cover. Worst: One of my students drew me a picture of what I would look like if I had “good hair”. The pigeon out the front of my house has not returned to its nest and I’m panicking.
You’re announcing the new Aborted Tortoise album; what can you tell us about it? What’s it called? How would you describe it?
CHARLES: It is called A Album, we would describe it as A Album.
ALEX: Correct. It’s got 11 songs and clocks in at around 23 minutes, therefore it is technically A Album. Ultimately, it’s just an attempt to remind people we are still a band and want to remain in the optimum position in people’s alphabetically sorted record collections. It’s going to be out through Bargain Bin Records in Australia, Bachelor Records in Europe and Under The Gun Records in the US. All three labels are amazing so it’s been sick to work with them all at once!
I understand that you’ve had the album recorded for a while now. What did the writing process for it look like? What are some of the main things that inspired it lyrically?
ALEX: Yeah, we recorded it a very long time ago, maybe December 2018? That’s fucked to think about, I didn’t realise it had been that long. The writing process was more or less the same as the last LP. No real concept or grand ideas, just a collection of unrelated songs that we had built up that needed to be recorded. As such it’s pretty all over the place in terms of subject matter. Anything from being shot into The Sun, being born, being consumed by ooze, and sanctimonious bozos is fair game in this wretched band.
What track was the most fun to write? What made it so?
ALEX: Definitely ‘Amniotic’, the one about being born (obviously). That one stemmed from a story one of our friends told us. They knew someone in primary school who swore blind they clearly remembered being born which is cursed. To us that was the funniest thing we’d ever heard so we all wrote the lyrics in the studio during the LP session around the idea of being born as a fully self-aware human. Lyrically it’s our most collaborative effort so far, we just sat in the control room and wrote it in about 15 minutes.
CHARLES: We have never had particularly clever or meaningful lyrics, but we hit new lows when we write together haha. The entire ending segment was improvised on the day of recording and just got stupider and more ludicrous with each take. It was very self-indulgent, but we had a lot of fun.
Sonically, is it a continuation of your sound on last release Scale Model Subsistence Vendor 7” or did you try some new things this time around? Did you have any reference points from the outset of the creative process?
ALEX: We wrote Scale Model Subsistence Vendor over a year later than the new LP, so everything is a bit all over the place chronologically. I’d say both releases we’ve pushed pretty hard to make the interplay between the guitars more interesting rather than just having Tom and Charles both play the same part at the same time. I can’t say we had any super direct reference points but at that time we were all listening to the first two Uranium Club LPs so that’s probably rubbed off in an indirect way. There’s a wee bit of keyboard on a couple of the tracks too which is something that we’ve been keen to do for a while now which is new for us.
You recorded previous Aborted Tortoise releases, starting with the Do Not Resuscitate 7”; did you record the new album? What did you enjoy most about the process?
ALEX: Yeah, so I recorded the last two 7”s but the new LP was recorded by Brod Madden Scott at Tunafish studio. He recorded An Beach as well. He’s a really great engineer and guy so everything went super smoothly. Recording yourself is a blessing and a curse because on the one hand there’s less pressure as it’s just the band in the same room and there are no financial constraints. At the same time though worrying about 1000 different things on top of needing to actually play properly can be a bit stressful. It is much easier in the sense that you can get things to sound exactly how you want though without things getting lost in translation or without external influences muddying stuff up. At the end of the day though I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing so we decided to record the LP properly with Brod and I reckon that was a very wise decision.
We’re premiering the new song ‘The Sun’ along with its film clip; what’s the song about?
TOM: The song is about The Sun, but also the idea of getting launched into The Sun as a way to die. We’ve also had this idea of being the first person on The Sun, as a kind of milestone for humanity. This song expresses that sentiment.
Where did the idea for the clip come from?
ALEX: We were kinda stuck for ideas for a fair while but ultimately decided on depicting the band playing amongst various sun-scapes. Initially the plan was to go out to some sand dunes or a salt lake on a hot sunny day and film there but the weather has been uncharacteristically shitty for Perth this time of year, so The Sun hasn’t been its usual reliable self. Instead, we opted to go the safer green screen route with our friend Thomas Cahill (Bunkyvids) who did a fantastic job rounding up us idiots and teasing out a semi-coherent video.
What do you remember from filming it?
CHARLES: Skeletons and John not helping pack up.
ALEX: We only filmed it maybe two weeks ago so it’s all still fresh in my mind. Lots of skeletons and Crown lager (as a treat). We spent over $200 on KMART skeletons. Money well spent.
Like most bands, Aborted Tortoise haven’t had the chance to play live much in the last couple of years. Last we spoke Connor was overseas in Germany, and when he finally returned you started rehearsing again. You played a show in July this year; is there a part of the experience that you’d completely forgotten about?
ALEX: Yeah, the whole Covid thing obviously really fucked things up. Connor had moved to Europe so we were taking a break from live shows as is. Though we did have grand plans to meet him over there at some point for a tour but obviously the pandemic rendered that impossible. Connor ended up coming back though and once everything calmed down a bit in WA we did manage to sneak in a couple shows around our limited lockdowns. We have made a conscious decision to keep live shows a bit sparse though, at least until touring is more feasible. That July show was really rad, we were just stoked people still gave a fuck enough to come watch us because for a while there I think people assumed we were no longer a band. We had a ripper night though and would love to play a couple more shows here and there. Playing live is always the best part of being in a band.
Have you ever gotten nervous before you’ve played a show?
CHARLES: I think everyone has unless they’re a filthy liar. I still take nervous poos pre show.
What’s your favourite release from this year so far? What do you appreciate about it?
ALEX: Aw geez that’s a tough one. Can’t say I’ve been listening to a whole lot of new music lately which is a bit stupid. Though we have all been religiously listening to The Spits’ VI. Kinda cheating but it came out 366 days ago today so technically counts? Anyways, that album is unstoppable. The lyrics have to be the greatest shit I ever heard but that’s what you expect from The Spits. They scratch an itch that no other band can personally.
What’s five things that have made you really happy this year?
ALEX: 1. We’re all crypto gremlins now so Shiba Inu’s recent spike has been nice.
2. Connor bought a sailing boat recently.
3. Connor and I recently started whittling wood so have been trading ideas on how to carve spoons and the like.
4. The prospect of a return to near normalcy (???)
5. Adding to our plastic skeleton collections.
‘The Sun’ is the first single taken from Aborted Tortoise’s second LP, A Album. A Album is out on November 8 through Bargain Bin Records (Australia), Bachelor Records (Europe) and Under The Gun Records (United States).