‘I kind of just don’t give a fuck anymore’: Melbourne experimentalists 00_ strip down to the essentials on ∞

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‘I kind of just don’t give a fuck anymore’: Melbourne experimentalists 00_ strip down to the essentials on ∞

Words by Wil Clifford

00_ (pronounced double oh nothing) exists in a world outside our own. 

Composed of jagged rhythms and twisted guitar lines, these post-punk radicals are at their most uncompromising on their sophomore album, putting a hard focus on creating an atmosphere. 

“I think we’re just approaching – I want to say instruments, inclusive of vocals – our practices differently,” said bassist and violist Gene Beissel. “After the first album and kind of gigging those songs a lot, I took a step back and looked at what we were making sounds with and then kind of went like, ‘Okay, and then what happens? What else can we do?’” 

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Forming in 2021 from the ashes of punk groups The New Dregs and Thistleswitch, 00_ apply the unconventional structures and soundscapes of experimental electronics to the musical makeup of a conventional rock band. The result is this gloomy whirl of prickled songwriting – a sonic labyrinth in every track. 

“I feel like when you’re looking for creative inspo as an instrumentalist and you’re not sure where to go, playing to your equipment can really help you discover some things,” said guitarist Asher. “That definitely led me towards some of the sounds that I make on the record.” 

Things have been pretty steady since the quartet’s 2021 debut Ca\yptra: an album launch at The Curtin, a regional tour up the coast and a few appearances in the noisy Adelaide scene. A couple of standalone tracks in late 2022 hinted at the band’s trajectory, one that viewed the studio as its own instrument. 

“I think the mindset kind of shifted,” Asher Bates said. “I remember we definitely had conversations with the first record of not wanting to do things that made it sound not live and then this time it was totally the opposite approach for whatever reason of, ‘Let’s finesse this.’” 

The result is ∞, six tracks with rich song structures, haunting vocals and powerful heights. Wandering guitar and bass unpredictably ricochets off swung jazz drums on album opener Fainting at the Punk Squat, loosely held together by vocalist Cllawd3’s lurking voice. At the track’s peak is an equation of guitar harmonics and drum hits before simmering into a tranquil, spacious outro. 

These quiet moments, the spaces between, carry huge value for 00_. 

“Looking at the first album, whether it was Gene’s bass that the song started on or my guitar, we’d come in with very full parts,” Asher said. “This time I was really determined to leave a lot of space for everyone and to create that atmosphere.” 

Second single and album closer Ivy (Crystallised Damage) embodies this goal. Slow and wallowing, it features drummer Elvis Walsh’s snare hits blasting atop Asher’s lonely guitar line, before swelling into a hazy summit of reverb-soaked guitar and droning viola. 

“Ivy’s a good example of a song where we tried a whole lot of different stuff,” said Gene. “We really engaged in a subtractive process of like, ‘What are the bare essentials we need to keep this song going?’…I think our tendency is to be noisy, but [we’re] embracing comfort and being a bit quieter this time around.” 

While tracks like Moon Card may sound a bit more in line with 00_’s previous live-orientated work, ∞ instantly innovates with Bath Water Baby, a dub-inspired jam that really gets under the skin. Cllawd3’s vocals shine, simultaneously angsty and silky. Their voice is utilised melodically just as the guitars are; both are able to lure the listener gently through each track but have moments of fierce grit and edge. 

This time around I’ve become a bit more well-versed in what I was trying to do, a bit more comfortable,” they said. “I’ve found more confidence and I kind of just don’t give a fuck anymore.” 

Recorded at Sound Recordings near Castlemaine, 00_ and engineer Alex Bennett really experimented with these songs, overdubbing pianos and violas as well as distorting and reversing vocal takes. Hardware was tested, including an old-timey vocal mic from the 1920s which appears on a few tracks. 

I was drawn to it because I really liked the feeling of holding it,” said Cllawd3. “It brought out this character to me where I was able to situate myself in the song in a different place.” 

∞ sees 00_ grow as intuitive musicians, becoming more than the sum of their parts. For Cllawd3, this record is a huge step forward for a band that will only get better and better. I think everyone has, this time around, a lot more confidence yet consideration in their contributions. The three Cs.”

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