Earlier this year, RedHook released their heavily anticipated debut EP, ‘Bad Decisions’. The tracks marked an exploration of every skill RedHook has fostered over their journey, but more importantly, highlighted their position as one of Australia’s finest and most compelling acts. Fast forward a few months and many milestones later, ‘Bad Decisions’ has been on the road and burrowed its way into the hearts of many. We had a chat with lead Emmy Mack to discuss the EP, touring, and all things RedHook!
‘Bad Decisions’ marks your debut EP! How did the process of writing and recording an EP differ from the processes of your singles- did you find any challenges creating a body of work that found songs coexisting?
I really enjoyed the whole EP process because it gave us more room to play around and really showcase all the different shades of our sound and just kind of... be RedHook! It allowed us to have those more vulnerable sort of moments like in ‘Alien’ alongside contrasting moments of pure, claws-out aggression like in ‘Kamikaze’.
I think the biggest challenge for me personally was picking which songs to release as singles! I still get sad about some of the songs not getting to have their time in the sun.
Some of the singles from this EP, such as ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Cure 4 Psycho’, were incredibly well-received. Did this reception change any of your attitudes towards the work you had created/ did these affirmations put a newfound pressure upon the band?
At least for me personally, the positive reception has been incredibly heartening and tbh a huge relief! Lyrically, all of these songs are so uncomfortably honest and raw and really expose some of my ugliest thoughts and experiences and flaws, so the act of releasing them into the world was really kind of terrifying! The fact that people have embraced songs like 'Bad Decisions' and 'Cure4' and, to varying levels, can relate to what I’m saying in them and what I’ve been through is just an incredible feeling.
As for the pressure, I think that will come when it comes time to record the next batch of songs!
One of the standout tracks from the EP, ‘Kamikaze’, features Windwaker’s, Will King! Why did the band approach him and what was the creative process like when developing this song together?
I had this vision for the bridge vocal of 'Kamikaze' where I thought it’d be super cool to get a male vocalist to have a bit of a screaming match with me - it’s the sort of thing you don’t really get to see much in heavy music, right? I guess it’s more normal to contrast a nice, clean female vocal with a heavy male scream. So I thought it’d be sick to have both of us just fucking wailing at each other to reflect the ‘toxic relationship’ theme that runs through Kamikaze. As for Will, we’ve been massive fans of Windwaker for a while now, both our bands hit the scene around the same time so we’ve kind of been on these parallel musical journeys, so we thought it’d be quite fitting to get him on to do the feature. He said yes straight away, then took our demo vocal and made it completely his own and ten times better! Absolute legend to work with!
The track ‘Alien’ is truly a new turn for the band, seeing our all-powerful Emmy present an inspiring vulnerability and delicacy of her voice. What encouraged this rawness, and did becoming so vulnerable pose a struggle for Emmy/the rest of the band?
Alien is actually my favourite song off the EP! It had been kicking around in demo form for a while and believe it or not, I really had to fight for it to be included. It’s not just the vulnerability that makes it different from our other songs either I don’t think, it’s also the fact that there’s nothing really kooky or quirky or wild going on… It’s just… a song. But it’s a song that means a lot. It’s raw and it’s sad and it’s vulnerable and I think that’s important because it’s real. Only certain types of people will hear Alien and understand it. If you’re one of them, then I love you! And I hope you can forgive yourself.
Your live shows to celebrate the EP threw you into the live scene of 2021! If people didn’t get a chance to get to a show already, what can they expect from RedHook live?
The live shows were so wild - I don’t even have words! Before every show we bought a couple of dozen pillows from Kmart and then during Bad Decisions, we’d throw them into the pit for fans to have a mass pillow fight and - I’m not even kidding here - EVERY TIME without fail they ripped the pillows to absolute shreds and then threw the stuffing everywhere. It looked like Christmas! All this white fluff flying through the air and covering everything while everyone sang and danced along. It was fucking epic, I’ll never forget it!
How does the preparation differ for a headline EP show, compared to some of the regular, opening sets that we saw earlier this year?
I think the biggest thing is that it’s a longer set and there are 5-6 more songs packed in, so you have to think a lot about the setlist and how to structure the show so that it flows smoothly. And for a band like us who have a lot of different songs with a lot of different vibes, that’s a bit of a fun challenge. Like, you can’t go from the lighters-out ballad straight into the wall of death straight into the saxophone boogie straight into the pillow fight without giving people emotional whiplash! You have to kind of build into it haha!
What are the next steps for you as a band now that you've met this huge EP milestone/ how does it feel to have met this milestone?
It does feel really amazing to finally have a larger body of work to share with our fans because it’s something they’ve been asking for for a long time! But we’re pretty much diving straight into writing and demoing more songs! It’s also so great that live music is largely back on the cards (despite a few covid headaches) and we’ve got so many more shows coming up that we’re super pumped for, including Full Tilt Fest in Sydney, Fire & Ice Fest in Brisbane, Halloween Hysteria in Brisbane, District X in Sydney, a VIC regional tour with Void Of Vision, our first trip up to play in Cairns and a bunch of other exciting live plans TBA :)
What is one thing you want listeners and fans alike to take from this EP?
Sometimes Bad Decisions make good stories. And if you can learn from them, sometimes the Bad Decisions are even worth it!