Words: James Frostick
Band Photo: Kim Walls
It’s a big day for Tasmanian trio All The Weathers. The exciting, electric and eclectic band is releasing its brand-new record ... For the Worms today through Rough Skies Records. The record is a lively and nuanced album of off-beat and rollicking art punk – urgent in parts, sombre in others. … For the Worms see’s the band make full use of each member’s talents – it showcases a musical versatility and creative knack for conveying sentiments in unique ways without lessening the impact of its message.
When we last heard from Gigi Lynn, Georgia Lucy Ingall and Callum
Cusick (otherwise known as Hobart outfit All The Weathers) it was on 2016 LP Tactile Textiles. The record was a scuffed-up masterclass of outsider noise – unapologetically discordant and nothing short of honest. The group of multi-instrumentalists has long been known for pivoting between styles and ideas across every release, zigging and then zagging just before you have them pegged. Today the group ushers forth its third collection of incalculable ingenuity ... For the Worms (released through the incredible Rough Skies Records), another incredible example of the band’s ability to keep listeners on their toes.
… For the Worms sees All The Weathers take its signature style (or purposeful lack of) to new heights – upping the stakes in terms of technical exactness, sonic impact and conceptual thrust. Here, the group have imbued each track with wry critique, weaving sharp barbs (laced with irreverent humour) throughout the record’s ten tracks, each aimed at a one of society’s many ailments. For example, lead single ‘Jobs For Dogs‘ tackles the exploitative nature of greyhound racing by positioning listeners in the mind of the dog (the lyrics are buoyed long by a rough clatter, like the band’s gone feral), while ‘Cool’ pairs sharp twang with sarcasm-drenched fawning over insufferable and self-serious cool kids. Much like most of the band’s output to date, nothing is done plainly – jokes, stories and metaphorical spoken-word poetry saturate the record, each fragment ensconced between jagged guitars and improvised herky-jerky rhythms. It’s a record that rewards paying attention, but it’s never a taxing exercise. Of course, popping this record on and going about your business will just as easily add a pep to your step, even if your mind is mostly attuned to other matters. These are hallmarks of a great record.
One way to get your head around the record is to listen to it (duh), and I’ve been given the privilege of hosting a stream of the album. You can find it down below, but before you hurriedly scroll down, I suggest getting more context behind the record’s origins. I put some questions to the band about how ... For the Worms came to be and they were kind enough to respond. Answers were contributed by band members Georgia and Callum. Enjoy!
First of all, I really love the record! When would you say the album process first began?
Thanks James. The recording began at the end of 2017 on the same weekend Astro launched a forehead at a dickhead by the Salamanca waters, and the religious home-schooled youth from the hills behind the Huon were carpooled into town to joyfully bounce their colourful “It’s okay to say No” signs on the bridge at regional peak-hour. It was hot, we were at Sam’s house in Grove on the highway. Some truck sounds made it into the microphones. The ghosts of freshly hooned paddymelon carcasses tinged the air. It was mid-to-late September.
How does song writing typically work for the band? How do you judge whether a song is up to scratch?
When we make a song it usually happens after playing together for extended periods (sometimes hours at a time). Then we work on a part of it that we like, and usually the lyrics come later on when the music parts are down. There is no filter except forgetfulness. The best jams are gone to the moment I reckon. The best judge of a song is if we want to play it at a practise.
What would you say is the biggest stylistic leap the band has taken since 2015 when you were putting together Tactile Textiles?
Tactile Textiles was masterly recorded on a 4-track tape thing during an abortion. It’s epic and emotional and there was an urgency to do it in the three days we set for it.
We decided we’d take our time with …For the Worms, take it down a notch. Set it up. No rush. Take it easy. Get a swim in. Stylistically – slowing down was the tortoise leap to glory.
Process wise, were there any habits or ideas that you sought to avoid or incorporate more during the writing and recording period?
In terms of habits, or directions we tend to drift towards, we have our automatic shut off switch – if we get sick of playing something then we’ll just change it up and switch instruments, then hey presto! We’ll usually hit on something we like soon after that. That keeps us from repeating ourselves or getting too comfortable. I don’t think we think about what we want to aim for or avoid too much, though. We just play and if we like it that’s good and if not – switch it up! New things from the …For the Worms recordings include: Gigi simulating the process of blowing long and hard into a breath-o straw using a sax; Callum reading directly from the Antichrist’s Bible; recording our vocals at the same time like an angel choir instead of one by one.
How do you as a unit approach pushing boundaries/comfort zones and redefining what’s possible within your style?
As we said, All the Weathers swap instruments. We put each other out of our comfort zones by challenging ourselves to listen to each other, and apply sounds to instruments we don’t know or aren’t used to playing. It takes a lot of patience and jamming. I wouldn’t want to be my housemates when we have practice – I imagine it’s a tiny torture. Nothing like, but maybe close to being bullied with strobes, repetitive tunes whilst hog tied in Guantanamo. The same lick over and over again really loud until CRACK! that bit breaks into pieces and is shuffled into a deck of dBs and wow – what’s that? Another song is born.
How does location and surroundings play into ATW’s song writing process?
We’re very lucky to have our practise room in the bush at Fern Tree, and being out of the city really helps us. We avoid annoying the neighbours (thanks to our current lovely neighbours for putting up with us for all these years!), and even just to be able to take a breather and have a cup of tea with the trees all around and kunanyi looming above it all. It gets very cold up in Fern Tree so that plays a part too; we have to make music to stay warm, and the practise room is padded with mattresses so we can stay insulated. It’s the warmest room in the house! More directly I would say that the world around us really fuels our writing content. There is a lot of gold to be found in the Mercury.
Judging purely by the cacophonous moments of the record, one would assume that there is a fair amount of anger and indignation spread throughout. There’s also plenty of tenderness within too, but from an emotional standpoint how would you describe the overall vibe of … For the Worms?
A healthy compost heap or a lolly bag of emotions. Warheads and sour squirms for facial contortions and self punishment bundled with a fat gobstopper for discipline to suck, not bite. Spearmint jelly leaves to soothe the mood. Sherbet to hype and fantails for endorphins and trivia. Yum.
It felt as if there was a sprinkling of sarcasm and humour in the mix too. How important is the juxtaposition of humour and cynicism to All the Weathers as far as tackling tough topics is concerned?Absolutely, sarcasm and humour really help us tackle the more awful subjects that we look at. Striking a balance between getting out what’s getting up our goat and delivering something entertaining is a massive part of it. But you don’t wanna rant! Everybody knows the situation is tragic. Try to open up a new angle. It’s tricky to be funny about injustice. Don’t kill yourself. Rage! Cackle! Loudly!
Across the record I picked up on a level social critique weaved into the songs. Thematically, what topics proved to be fertile ground for lyrical inspiration?
There are too many to name: the Hobart housing crisis; internet slagging; bushfires in cultural places of significance; 4×4 driving on petroglyphs; greyhound racing; immigration; intergenerational poverty; fucking fish farms; abortion access in Tasmania; road kill; cool kid complacency.
The title of the record … For The Worms conjures up images of decay, burial or a return to the earth. What’s the story behind the title and is it as grim as it sounds?
To tell you the truth, …For the Worms was the name of our compost bin before it was the name of our record. The name brings up lots of mental pictures. Maybe we need to pay our respects to those that turn our rubbish back into nourishment, maybe it is more of a “…and to dust we shall return” sentiment. In any case, we don’t find worms grim. They will devour us all eventually, it’s best to come to terms with that sooner rather than later. And you should see the tomatoes this year after Callum’s dad donated his 25-year old worm mix for the album cover photo-shoot. Bloody beautiful mate.
‘Fast Lane’ ends the record on a somewhat mellow note, and finishes things with a unifying sentiment – “We’re all in this together, this crazy game”. What was the reasoning and aim behind capping off the record with this attitude?
A lullabye. Cynicism is great and all but we don’t wanna hate. Sometimes you feel a bit exhausted and doomed and like there’s nothing you can do to fix anything. Your eyes are too square to care and signing petitions seems worthless. Put it down. Take a deep breath and lie down. Jacinda Arden goes Facebook live to tell the world how she is planning actions now for the future to save the planet. The kids walk out and shout together. Join ‘em. I’m excited.
On that note, what overall sentiment do you hope resonates with audiences the most?
We hope people listening will take away some anger, laughter, hope, confusion, distress – but basically to take from it what they will. That they’ll listen to it and have their own response. It’s a healthy mess. It’s something to digest. It’s …For the Worms.
Give …For the Worms a listen below! You can order your copy through Rough Skies records here.