Updated: Aug 25, 2021
They say introductions are everything, especially in the fast-developing world of sound styles and new ideas (also known as the music scene). After a string of singles propelling them into new territory, Action Slacks have followed up with their debut EP, ‘Voids’! Through a whirlwind of tantalizing styles, all tied up through smooth and shimmering lead vocals, Action Slacks have gracefully shown us an EP of heartbreak, personal experiences, and intriguing honesty.
Asserting their place and defining their sound, ‘Voids’ is not merely an unmissable EP for Action Slacks, but a release that should be on your 2021 radar! We spoke to the band about all things music and more!
We are loving your new EP, 'Voids' - congrats on getting it out! Tell us what the EP release means to you and what you wish people to get out of it.
'Voids' is super special to us as a band as it’s the first EP we’ve released! We’ve spent a really long time writing and creating the songs, so when it all came together as a whole it was a really amazing feeling! The EP as a whole covers a whole range of different topics, from heartbreak to serial killers, so ultimately we just hope that when people listen to it they enjoy the music and connect with the stories we are telling.
'Voids' runs through a spectrum of feelings and emotions, is there a story or narrative behind the EP and what is it about?
Every song on the EP is about something slightly different. We start with 'Find a Way' - a song about an obsessive serial killer penning a twisted love letter to their victims, then 'Rapid Fire', which is really about navigating a tumultuous relationship and trying to find where you fit in it. 'Purple Nights' which is almost like a palate cleanser before we move into 'Over and Over'. That song is all about the end of a relationship, and trying to come to terms with how to move on with your life, then finally we have 'The New Violence Sequence'. This one was really fun to make, as it tells the story of someone who gets lost in a dark void filled with monsters, which leads her deeper and deeper until she is beyond saving. It kind of feels like a fitting ending for ‘Voids’ really, we hope our listeners get lost in the little world we created through our music!
From writing a song to putting the final touches on it in post-production, what is the process like and how do each of you contribute?
For this EP most of the songs started with drums and a synth, those were the main elements that really established the feel and direction of each song. Once the song structure was fleshed out I’d send it to Maddy to start vocals. Then it was all about supporting the vocal, sometimes that meant completely stripping back the whole production and rebuilding it to match the story and tone of the vocal (Over and Over is a good example of this, the first demo was a completely different song). By this time the arrangement would really be taking shape, and that’s normally when Rich and Jimmy would jump in with guitars and bass. Knowing where the vocal sat meant they could add to the production without clashing with what the vocal was doing. After all the demoing, re-writing, and prepro, once we were happy with where the tracks were, we started tracking. Apart from the drums which we tracked at Plutonium, everything else was tracked and mixed at home, then sent to Leon at Studios 301 for mastering.
As you do the majority of the production and recording, do you have any tips for other bands looking at doing the same?
It really helps to get in the studio with someone who’s tracking the bands you like in your area, whose stuff really sounds good. Find whoever is near you, and book a session with them. Then pay attention to what they’re doing, how they get sounds, where they put microphones, even how they manage their time. You’ll learn so much in those first sessions, then you’ll get an idea of what you can start doing yourself, and develop your own ideas of how you want to do certain things. Pre-production is also very important, the best recordings and mix will never save a bad arrangement, so really have that nailed before you head into the studio. Referencing is another must-do, find those tracks that you want yours to sound like and compare them back to back to yours, and don’t stop until your tracks are competing with your references.
If there was one piece of equipment you could add to your studio set-up, what would it be and why?
That’s such a tough question, just one thing haha. Truthfully, I don’t have any need for new pieces of gear! Sure there’s plenty of nice stuff that would be great to have, vintage synths, compressors, microphones, but I think the most valuable (and attainable) improvement to my studio has been the acoustic treatment, treating the corners with bass traps, building panels to cut down on reflections, just making the room sound better and more accurate. All of the most expensive gear in the world would all be a waste if you don’t have a properly treated room. Sorry, that’s really not a ‘cool’ answer haha, when I could’ve just said: a MiniMoog.
The live music scene in Brisbane is absolutely incredible. Who are some acts that you are loving?
All of the bands on the first 2 shows of tour have been next level, BUSINESS., Bligh, Monsters Up North, Katanak, and Tom Dron. Also have really been getting into Eliza and the Delusionals, Golding and Greatest Hits.
Now with your EP out, what's next for Action Slacks?
We’re already deep into work on EP#2 so that’s taking up a big chunk of our time. We’re already really stoked with how the new stuff is shaping up, thinking we might throw some new songs into the live set and see how they feel. This is something we haven’t really done with this band previously, we’ve always managed to have everything produced and finished before playing it live. In terms of live shows we’re heading down to Melbourne in September, and there’s a few local shows in Brisbane that we’ll be jumping on heading towards the end of the year.