Indie slacker rock three-piece Lackadaisies (whose members also play in Full Power Happy Hour, Blankettes, Married Man, No DOZ and Camping) released EP Payphone Text a week ago. The EP has the band sounding lucid and at their breeziest yet, and its casual hookiness is hard to resist. Gimmie asked guitarist-vocalist Nathan Kearney, bassist Grace Pashley and drummer Marnie Vaughn about Payphone Text, what makes them nervous, the most romantic thing they’ve done for someone and what other projects they’re each working on.
When you were starting our as a musician, was there anyone that you looked up to? What was it that you admired about them?
NATHAN KEARNEY: I spent all my pocket money on bargain-bin tapes as a kid and didn’t mind what I listened to. The first act I was really obsessed with, though, was Boys II Men. I thought they were cool as hell and I still do
MARNIE VAUGHN: Patience Hodgson from The Grates, I love her energy, she is so bold and fearless.
GRACE PASHLEY: I am a big Erica Dunn fan. Everything she does is excellent, such a humble shred lord. One day I hope to play guitar like that!!
As a musician is there anything that you ever get nervous about?
NK: I only have one guitar and it breaks down a bit. Sometimes in cool sounding ways. I worry it’ll cark it on stage on day, though.
MV: Mainly forgetting how to play the drums or the drum stool falling off the back of the stage but both of those things have happened to me and I think I’m ok about it.
GP: Yeah I get scared to sing sometimes! I’d never played bass before Lackadaisies so there were lots of pre-gig stress dreams about the bass neck morphing into a snake and biting my hand. But mostly I’m fine now!
You have a new album Payphone Text, which was recorded over three weekends in each of your respective homes. Why did you chose to record in several places? What were the pros and cons of making your album that way?
NK: We were gonna do it at Marnie’s brother’s house in Northern Rivers but COVID closed the borders. I woulda liked getting out of the city but the comforts of our own homes was the next best thing
MV: It was a logistical nightmare moving the set up between houses and having to trouble shoot new issues in each house. But the pros were grand, we got to play our own instrument in the place we felt the most comfortable and everyone got a turn at being a the host.
GP: Look if we had our time again… maybe we would only record in one place! But we couldn’t make that work, and it was fun to hang out in everyone’s houses eating pancakes and curry, lots of coffees.
The title track’s lyrics were inspired by Nathan’s ex-partner sending him a payphone text once when they were away. It takes ages to type one of those on the phone dialpad. If you were sending a payphone text, who would you send it to and what do you think it would say?
NK: To Dad “In town. Can U pik me up” for nostalgia
MV: My best friend is a writer and would probably get the biggest kick out of it. I would say “DIS A PAYPHONE TXT B CUS I LUV U – MARN”
GP: I’d spam as many people as I could to say “Buy Lackadaisies tape now”
Also, going to the effort to payphone text someone a message is pretty romantic; what’s one of the most romantic things you’ve ever done for someone?
NK: I make things for people I love and people who know me best generally make things for me. I’m not that materialistic and mainly hold onto sentimental items. I’ve been writing songs for friends lately, which is a nice change from writing for/about romantic partners.
MV: I made my partner a scrap book photo album of all the memories since we met. It had a timeline at the front and everything. Also, when I was the front person in a punk band I wrote a love song for my puppy. It was really sweet.
GP: I’ve written so many love songs about my partner which I think is romantic but I think he might get embarrassed by it… hehe whatever sometimes you just gotta scream it from the rooftops etc.
Going into the writing for the album, did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound? Or what you did or didn’t want to do?
NK: I’m most comfortable with 4 track recording and I thought the Lackadaisies record would suit that saturated sound. We drove everything so that it was peaking to get that natural crunch over everything. The last release we just threw whatever mic out and hoped for the best. This time it was more considered cos we had James helping. He’s really clever
MV: Not really, I remember hanging out with Nathan when he first moved back to Bris and talking about playing music together. I really like his previous bands and solo albums so I think I wanted to be apart of something like that but I probably didn’t communicate that very well.
GP: I was just keen to get our existing songs recorded, we weren’t too precious about it which is pretty standard for us! I think something we definitely didn’t want to do was….pay for it haha hence why we did it all ourselves! Well we did pay James a wee bit but god knows it wasn’t enough for the tribulations he dealt with.
How do Lackadaises songs often come together?
NK: Fuck around til it feels good. We’re not the type of band that talks about genres or tries to be one thing. Whatever a song sounds like is what we sound like is how I figure it
MV: For me… either Nathan and Grace will bring a song or the ideas for a song to jamming and it goes from there. I’m sure it’s a much more lengthy process for them.
GP: Nathan is really the genesis for our material. He’ll bring a melody or chord progression and maybe I’ll write some lyrics but more often than not he has a zillion fresh ideas that we try out til something sticks. Its really fun that way (because Nathan does all the work ; )))
Not all bands we speak with do demos. Are you a band that demos? Did the songs change much during the process to what appears on the album?
NK: Phone demoes to remember ideas but if we have a mic out then that seems like serious release territory haha.
MV: We released our first Demo. We were thinking of re-recording the songs for this but we were like nahhhhh.
GP: Haha yeah…again, the lackadaisical approach. I wonder if Nathan finds the recordings demo-ish, he has added a few different parts to some songs once we laid down our tracks and now those new bits are my fave parts of the songs. Like the organ part on Payphone Text, that didn’t exist before we recorded it.
Tell us the story of one of your favourite tracks on the album.
NK: ‘How’d You Get This Number?’ Is a nod to me and Marnie meeting playing in bands that did dumb little 30 second songs. The lyrics are about phone scammers who were calling with numbers that looked like mine. I imagined they were bizarro versions of myself trying to make contact, like in a sci-fi movie. It also has a Freaky Friday reference.
MV: ‘The Comeback’ or ‘Payphone Text’ because I get to do screaming and that is fun for me.
GP: Yeah I love ‘The Comeback’. It’s got a creepy carnival energy, like a house of horrors with the lights on. The story of ‘Your Face’ is about this time when I thought I saw an old flame in the crowd, but it wasn’t him. Just a doppelgänger. But then I got to thinking about how he kind of sucked!! And THEN I thought wow imagine if that was him that would have been awkward. I guess this all happened at the time we needed lyrics to this song.
J.E. Walker recorded the album; what was one of you the most memorable moments you shared with him during the recording process?
NK: My memory is shot in general but James is a gem. Always a pleasure.
MV: James was so encouraging, he thought everything was magic and it was so nice to be around that energy.
GP: What an angel. Carted all his gear to three different houses, was an absolute saint when it took me hours to nail the guitar part for Your Face. We were recording to tape so you had to get the whole song right in one go, which is really not a strength of mine. I probably would have gotten embarrassed and quit if anyone else had been recording us but James was so patient and lovely. 12/10 person, j’adore!!!
How did you feel when you listened back to the entire album for the first time after mixing and mastering? Where were you when you were listening to it?
NK: Lying on my couch and looking out the window. I have a cassette deck I bought with my old bandmate, Allie, to dub our old releases and I listened on there. It’s a fun, little album. That’s what we were aiming for so I’m happy. I collect cassettes by local acts too so it’s nice to add something of my own that was also pressed properly.
MV: We had a sneaky listen at Nathans house when the recording / mixing process was happening and that was super exciting for me.
GP: It was such a neat surprise hearing the album after Nathan had put some really great finishing touches on all the songs, like I said earlier there were a few new parts that he added that are the real heroes of the dish.
Can you hear any of your influences on any of the songs?
NK: The Breeders. I love them.
MV: My current influences are Party Dozen, Loose Fit and Petey. I think so.
GP: Maybe less the influences for me, but I can really hear all of us. The blood sweat and tears of DIY tape recording. I feel very proud of it!!
Besides Lackadaisies, what else is happening in your world? I know you have other bands or have other interesting projects on the go.
NK: Camping is my alt-country band with James Walker, Skye McNicol and a few other mates. We’re kicking around and gonna record an album soon.
MV: Yeah, new girl band in the works… Blankettes
GP: Yes me n Marnie started a new band called the Blankettes! With our friend Gemma (CNT EVN, Piss Shivers). I convinced my favourite punks to make a pop (ish) band hehe. And my other band Full Power Happy Hour has a tonne of stuff going on this year too!
What’s the rest of the year look like for both the band and you personally?
NK: Good shows coming up with the band. I don’t think they’re announced yet but we get to play with some sick bands and head interstate. Personally, I’m finishing a horticulture degree and making beats on my MPC otherwise.
MV: Band, I’m hoping to do some little tours with Lackadaisies, it’s been so long since I’ve been on tour and I love it. Personally, I have a toddler that my heart melts for and new job that I’m pretty into, so things are looking good. Thanks for asking.
GP: I think it’s gonna be busy!! Heaps of music stuff which is great. I am hoping to kick my terrible Tiktok addiction but I honestly don’t see that happening any time soon.
Get the Lackadaisies EP Payphone Text on Zang! Records HERE. Find them @lackadaisies_ + on Facebook and check out Zang! Records.