Auburnlies
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Auburnlies

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It took some serious soul-searching and contemplation for the four members of Melbourne post-grunge collective Auburnlies to make the deepest and most meaningful record of their five-year career.

It took some serious soul-searching and contemplation for the four members of Melbourne post-grunge collective Auburnlies to make the deepest and most meaningful record of their five-year career. Leaving their alternative beginnings behind and highlighting their Aussie rock roots on second and aptly-titled EP Odyssey , drummer John Missos says the band recently experienced a rebirth.

“I know that it can sometimes sound like a cliché when bands talk about doing this,” laughs Missos, “but we really did go through a time of reflection and the record came out better for it. We sort of got stuck in 2009 so we all packed up and went overseas – two of the guys went to South America and Chris (Catania, guitar) and myself went to Europe. Everybody did a bit of songwriting while we were away and we translated that life experience into this record. Traveling and seeing different things will definitely do that to you. It was almost like soul-searching or self-discovery.

“When we came back, we returned with a different energy, we were a lot more positive, and the material actually started coming out a lot easier.”

After their debut EP Sol came out in 2008, Missos claims the band established themselves on the Melbourne scene as a post-grunge/alternative juggernaut – which wasn’t necessarily the direction Auburnlies wanted to continue on record number two. And while Odyssey is still very much a rock album at its core, Missos describes it as a little more eccentric and experimental than you might otherwise expect.

“The Australian culture has played a big influence on us lately,” says the drummer. “Hence we decided to experiment with instruments like the didgeridoo. Actually, we experimented with lots of different instruments – there’s so much different percussion, water fountains, aboriginal sticks… There’s even crying! On one of the songs, the last minute is just purely non-lyrical and it’s trying to reflect on life and rebirth. The whole thing is just trying to ask ‘what the hell are we doing on this earth and what happens to us when we go away?’”

It was definitely enough to intrigue ARIA Award-winning producer/songwriter and good friend of the band, Peter ‘Reggie’ Bowman. Getting behind the decks for the band for the second time, Missos says Bowman was musically and personally on par with the members in the studio.

“We cannot speak highly enough of him. It was about friendship and trying to create music that we both loved. I think he also enjoyed the fact that we were more down to earth than what he might be used to. Sometimes with the bigger acts, you don’t get to have that conversation and you don’t really joke around as much, so I think he missed doing that and just being carefree. We were so grateful that he took the time to help us out because he really didn’t have to. He actually moved around his calendar to accommodate us even though he had to go to Brazil in the meantime. When he came back he showed so much commitment and we wanted to repay him that by making the best record that we could.”

Doing a better job promoting the album and reaching the public this second time around was part of that too, according to Missos. And while the band remain proud of that debut EP Sol, the drummer claims the record didn’t gain the exposure it deserved at the time.

“It was our mistake because we didn’t do our best to get the first EP out to the right people. I guess we figured that you make a CD, have a launch and it just takes care of itself, but it doesn’t. This time we want to do it properly so we’re starting things off with a launch but also shows after that. We’re trying to stay humble at the same time, I mean, we don’t want to take over the world or anything. We’re just an Aussie rock band trying to do this the right way after learning from previous experiences.

“You get the classic rock band thing with us – we like to have a beer on the stage and we’re never boring. It’s weird how music has changed in the last few years – we were listening to the Triple J Hottest 100, and don’t get me wrong, with The Wombats and Little Red and that, good on them… But what happened to the rock? Where’s the rock ’n’ roll? That’s what we love and know how to do.”

AUBURNLIES launch their new EP Odyssey at The John Curtin Bandroom (29 Lygon Street) Saturday this Saturday February 5 supported by Ezekiel Ox & The Advocates. Tickets: $12 at the door (entry includes a complimentary copy of Odyssey upon entry). They also play Noise Bar on February 17 with Wingman. Odyssey is out now.