Delicate and tender one minute, wild and furious the next – it’s probably the best way to sum up Melbourne collective The Weekend People.
Delicate and tender one minute, wild and furious the next – it’s probably the best way to sum up Melbourne collective The Weekend People, whose penchant for eclectic soundscapes and poetic lyrical musings are making a stamp on the local scene thanks to the recent release of their self-titled debut album. And what a stunner it is – spanning a massive four years in the making, guitarist/vocalist Mark Woodward says the record also crossed several suburbs and states, as well as countries, since 2006.
“It’s definitely the biggest project I’ve ever done!” he laughs. “Everything was recorded largely by myself at my home studio wherever I happened to be living at the time, and Nicholas (Roy, piano/keys) also recorded some of his keyboard parts at home. At one point I had moved to Perth and for a while we had to send stuff to each other via email so that made it a bit more difficult.
“I actually moved around a couple of times during the making of this album. I’d done little acoustic demos and songs for short films and stuff like that for friends, but this was very much the biggest and most ambitious thing that I’ve ever attempted and it was tough. I did learn a lot as a recording engineer and producer – that kind of grew exponentially!” In the making since 2006, Woodward says he came to release that self-production perhaps isn’t the way to go on album number two, putting down the four-year-long recording process to simply working from home. While Melbourne proved to be quite distracting, Perth’s isolation and unfamiliar surroundings gave Woodward the push he needed to finish the record off.
“I got the opportunity to move to Perth with my partner for a while because of her work, so I shipped the bones of my home studio over there,” he says. “The great thing about that was that it really gave me the chance to get a lot of work done on the album. There were so many things distracting me when I was working at home In Melbourne – you get loads of people wanting to go out for coffee or this or that, everybody would rather be doing something else but working. So Perth came along at a good time.
“I actually also spent six months in India which was pretty unbelievable,” he adds. “I’d wantedto go to India for a quite a long time but never really found enough time, so it was another situation where I was given the opportunity to move there for six months with my partner and it was fabulous. While I was over there we were having the album mixed in Melbourne.”
With a series of launches across the nation taking place this month, Woodward says he is more relieved than anything to not only have the final product out there, but to also hear good reviews from friends and the press. After all, you just never really know until you start hearing outsiders’ feedback…“And we’ve had some pretty strong reviews so far, I’m happy to say,” reports Woodward.
“Street press around the country has been really good to us – we’ve had really encouraging reactions from all over, really. We had quite a lot of people interested in hearing what we’d done and chasing us up for copy before it was even released… I think you get that feeling that the record might be good, but you just never really know until other people have heard it and agree with you. Despite our wondering, we’ve had enough positive feedback so far to make us think that, yeah, it’s actually a good album.”
And it’s Woodward and Roy’s poetic abilities that seem to be striking a particular chord with audiences, according to the guitarist. Originally coming together as stripped-back duo, The Weekend People once relied solely on the pair’s on-stage presence and lyrical craftsmanship before opening its doors to Sarah Holmes on bass and Peter Guidera on drums. And while the lineup has these days expanded, the main focus of the band remains the same.
“Nicholas and I started the band writing together so we’ve always put a lot of importance on the lyrics,” says Woodward. “When we started The Weekend People was just the two of us and a very organic performance. We were just piano and guitar and at the time we didn’t think we necessarily needed a band to be powerful and engaging. We’d always played with lots of energy with Nick smashing the keyboard and me stomping around the stage shouting!
“We only got the band happening when we started coming up with songs that really seemed to need some drums and bass. We had to make sure that we were actually making really good songs with great lyrics because there wasn’t much anything else to hide behind when it was just the two of us on the stage. Most of the album is based on real-life stuff, with a little bit of a fiction thrown and a lot of poetic license.”
THE WEEKEND PEOPLE’s stunning self-titled debut album is out now (through Green/MGM), and they launch it this week with a show at The Toff In Town on Thursday November 4.