There was so much to relish in upon the release of ALARMS’ debut project Underwater late last year.
Across five tracks, ALARMS plumbed the murky depths of punk rock, with glistening moments of shoegaze and a flair for moody post-punk.
The result is a body of work purpose built for a cathartic commute with the windows up, noisy and melodic in equal measure
Below, we caught up with the Bendigo band for a deep dive into Underwater, their band collaboration process, and their aim to just “keep getting better with each release.”
Catch our full interview with Jase and Waigo of ALARMS below, and scroll down to listen to their latest release Underwater.
HAPPY: What are you up to today?
JASE: Smashing a kebab, after a swim and a ride!
WAIGO: It’s a work day for me, so graphic stuff, and I’ll be hanging around the studio later today. Mondays are also rehearsal nights for us, so hopefully we can try some new stuff out.
HAPPY: What is the music scene like in your neck of the woods?
JASE: Going off like a shotgun during duck season – it’s refreshing to see the local talent coming through the ranks as well as the international & interstate acts visiting our humble neighbourhood.
WAIGO: The live music scene in Bendigo is in very good hands at the moment, there are a few venues running interesting and varied lineups.
We have stalwarts like ‘The Golden Vine’ building up a good calendar of local and touring acts, ‘Handle Bar’ has stepped further into live music and, of course, the inimitable ‘Trash Cult’ in Eaglehawk has led a renaissance in underground music, with lots of international acts being paired with local bands.
It’s been a real thrill to be part of and to watch. We have a lot of local bands that we play with both at home and on the road, who are doing great things, across a heap of different styles. It’s really great.
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HAPPY: What does a typical day look like when recording a project like ‘Underwater’?
JASE: Focused on the task and plan of attack.
WAIGO: Well, we recorded the EP in two days, so there wasn’t really time to get into a pattern as such.
But Alex (Bennett) has a great set up there and we were able to set up camp at the studio, which helped us relax into it pretty quickly, and he’s such a calming influence, it felt like we were half way through it before it had even really hit home that we were doing it!
There’s a great pub down in Campbells Creek, so we made good use of that amenity on the first night – and then it was pretty much straight back into the studio the next morning!
HAPPY: Is there a certain level of pressure that comes with “making your debut”? Or are you more so excited to get the music out there?
WAIGO: Getting the bandaid off in one was important to us, not getting hung up or trapped by endless editing, so while we definitely felt the pressure around expectations, it was just more important that we get the first release out there.
JASE: Just great getting it out there, so we can move onto the next chapter!
HAPPY: It’s always interesting to hear about tracklisting. What was the process like when ordering the songs on ‘Underwater’?
JASE: It just seemed like the best progression, the way the tracks fell into order like air bubbles floating to the surface.
WAIGO: Ha! Yep, we moved things around a little, even right up to the end. I think we just felt like it moved more like a live set the way we ended up doing it.
I don’t know if we could ever be settled with complete confidence – it’s just not who we are. But once it’s done, we kind of just accept that’s how it is. I guess the goal is to keep getting better at all of this stuff with each release.
HAPPY: The EP draws from an array of sounds and genres. Which one feels the most comfortable for the band?
JASE: Post punk feels right.
WAIGO: Often I have to look up the bands we’re being compared to! Well we’re obviously a fairly heavy band. And I don’t see anything that will change that in the near future.
So I guess that’s what we’ll keep doing for now. Individually, we listen to a very broad range of music, there’s a pretty wide appreciation for music (in general) inside the group. I think that filters into what we do.
HAPPY: How do you ensure that the talent of each bandmate is utilised on a given track?
JASE: By committing time and energy into polishing the turdy bits out and finding the right spots to drop the magic.
WAIGO: That sort of comes naturally. We tend to sort of ‘resource’ the songs we have four vocalists, so we share that around a bit, and we’re all pretty good at serving the song.
Usually, Alex and I are looking for parts that we can do, so if a song needs more vocals from me, I’ll usually end up doing the easier guitar part and vice-versa. Jase mostly does vocals and chaos – so we make sure that stays pretty balanced.
HAPPY: Anything exciting on the horizon that you can tease for us?
JASE: Yes it will be a year of hard work and dedication
WAIGO: We’re headed up your way with The Dallas Terrors to play some shows with Sydney locals The Letdowns in February, which will be great.
And we have some 7” vinyl splits coming out this year, with Geelong’s GRYTT, on Fantastic Mess Records – which we’re pretty stoked about, and another 7” with Melbourne band BODIES hopefully shortly after (also on Fantastic Mess).
We’ll probably be playing some shows to promote thatWe’ve been writing all last year, but we were too busy to add anything to the set, or to get back into the studio.
So we’ll be looking to rectify that and get some new material in our live shows and maybe even a full-length album out this year…
HAPPY: What makes you happy?
JASE: A great performance and seeing the reaction from the ordinance when we send it to the stars
WAIGO: Haha, pass!