Narla – Newcastle – w/Kimono Drag Queens & Demi Mitchell
789 Hunter St, Newcastle, NSW, 2302
Narla launching their new single ‘Am I Sane’ out early Jan. Joined by Kimono Drag Queens, Demi Mitchell and Noah Dillon
Having a ‘connection’ or an unspoken language is often a loosely slathered platitude in the music industry. In reality the notion of a musical affinity is a rarity that takes hours of rehearsals, years of gigs, and a deep understanding of the people you are creating with. Over their ten years of playing together, Sydney three-piece Narla have undeniably achieved this magical level of fluency – and they have the record to prove it.
Till the Weather Changes is the culmination of hours and hours of exploration into the far reaches of prog, psychedelia, rock, and back again. It’s 42 minutes of raw, volatile, and at times soaring, playing that was recorded completely live, to tape.
Having met in high school North West of Sydney, vocalist/guitarist Jack Millar, guitarist Nick Savvas and drummer Clayton Allen were brought together through an obsession with riff heavy rock and roll, performing together for the first time as teenagers at a local pub in the Hawkesbury region. Fast forward seven years, a debut EP, a move to the city, degrees in classical and jazz at the Conservatorium, a couple hundred shows around the country, and Narla is selling out venues around town. Having built a reputation among musos and punters as a powerful live force, with a show that twists and turns, leading onlookers on a ride through trenches of hypnotic grooves and peaks of wailing guitars. Enchanting to observe, it’s as much of a journey for them as it is for onlookers.
“Each time we play there’s a new jam section, new intro, new outro… Things that we don’t talk about and don’t expect, but there’s a complete trust we have in each other. I know if my guitar fucked up, or I break a string, or even if I chose to completely stop playing, it wouldn’t be empty. Clay and Jack would figure it out, back it up and no one would notice. Its subconscious,” Nick says.
Heading south to record Till The Weather Changes at Sound Recording Studios in Castlemaine, Victoria, the trio worked with engineer Alex Bennett and began working towards trying and capture the energy and aura of their live show, which is embodied in the first single off the album, ‘Am I Sane’. Lyrically the track centers around a fateful meeting with the panther that, according to folklore, escaped from the circus decades ago and now roams the bush surrounding the Hawkesbury river. Whilst musically it begins life as a groovy blues shuffle before evolving into a chaotic duel between the two guitars with drums playing something of a mediator.
“We wrote it at midnight down in Cliftonville, down by the Hawkesbury river. We recorded it on GarageBand that night and we kept playing it till 3AM, dancing and drinking around the fire. The recording is exactly how we wrote it that night,” Nick says.
The seventh and final track of the record, ‘Before I Do’ is further evidence of their spontaneous creativity and musical brotherhood. Conjuring up the melancholy track with a few hours left in the studio.
“We’d finished the album, and we had three minutes of tape left on the last roll. Jack had this chord progression and we just thought we may as well use the time to jam. It wasn’t going to be on the album, it wasn’t going to be anything. We had an hour to write the track, then Alex pressed record and we did one take. That was it,” Nick says.
From the moment you open the door on album title track ‘Till the Weather Changes,’ it’s clear Narla’s intent is to swallow you up and draw you into their world – as if you were down on the banks of the Hawkesbury dancing around the fire with them.