Matt and Callum from Great Gable explain the process behind their recent, feel-good single Hazy and their BTS video to boot.
Hazy is the latest single from Great Gable since their acclaimed debut album Tracing Faces (2020). It’s a carefree and feel-good track, reminiscent of past alt-rock sounds but tinged with a modern youthful tone.
Happy spoke with Matt (guitar) and Callum (drums) about Hazy, the story behind the song and its colourful track artwork, their upcoming tour and signing with Matt Corby and Alex Henriksson through Rainbow Valley Records.
HAPPY: How are you guys doing? I know you had Wave Rock on the weekend. How was that?
CALLUM: It was yeah, it was pretty sick. It’s good to get out there. The weather was pretty awful, but like good friends… made it all worth it, you know. Good setlist, lots of good bands playing.
HAPPY: Yeah. Sydney, we’re still in lockdown so when was your last show before Wave Rock?
MATT: It would have been probably back in June when we did the tour. It was a little while ago. But yeah, it was really good to get the cobwebs out.
HAPPY: Of course, totally get it. So I just want to say congratulations on your latest single, Hazy. It’s such a feel-good song and when I was listening to it, I was like, ‘This is such a nice thing to come out of the COVID situation.’ What was that recording process like when you guys made the song, and how did that happy, lively tune come together?
MATT: I suppose it was probably wasn’t one of the first songs we wrote, but it definitely… I think it came from you and Chris, like earlier. But it’s kind of a slow, dreamy song. I think we thought it might be fun to just make it a bit more lively. I don’t know. We were kind of thinking about the whole live show thing, you know, like trying to get that energy going. So we sped it up a little bit and we started playing it at some shows. And yeah, it went down really well. So we thought, cool.
CALLUM: It naturally became the single after that, because people responded so well to it. But yeah, Chris brought it in, and I remember he showed me and I think it was a lot slower. But yeah, we brought it together and we had a writing trip down south and then we kind of just nutted out our parts and stuff. Yeah, it kind of just came together.
HAPPY: That’s great. So it had a very natural process.
CALLUM: Yeah, definitely, definitely and hopefully that reflects in the song as well. Super easygoing. Didn’t think about it too much, just kind of played it.
HAPPY: I think that definitely comes across. I wanted to know, when you guys were recording it, were there certain things that you were listening to at the time, or certain things that you were doing that were influencing those sounds?
MATT: Yeah, I’m trying to think back to that as well, because we recorded it while we were actually on the tour. So we had a week off and we spent some time at the studio in between. So we were still kind of in gig mode as well, which I think helped with keeping that energy in the song. Like, we basically recorded it how we were playing it live. So, I think that’s why it has that kind of raw feel. But I don’t really know what I was listening to at the time either because I don’t really go into the studio listening to too much stuff, because otherwise I feel like I might steal ideas or something. What were you listening to?
CALLUM: I don’t know man. I actually think I was listening to something completely not the song! I think I was listening to G-Funk or something like that, like some skateboarding hip hop playlist on Spotify. So I don’t know if that really influenced it too much. But I remember when I was chatting to our producer Al about it in the studio, Al was really good at giving me a kind of picture that he envisioned for the song. I remember one of the things we were talking about was, ‘Oh, just like hanging out with your mates at the skate park.’ And so, recording drums first, I really got to think about that when I was playing and then the whole song kind of got shaped around that. So hopefully that answers…
HAPPY: Yeah, because I was wondering, you all have your parts to the song, and I was wondering how that all came together. But you guys did say you were playing it live before you recorded it, which is so interesting.
MATT: I think with the parts, we think of something and then you’re like, ‘Oh, how would I play that live?’ You know, so that it’s not too overcomplicated or anything. We jammed to it heaps of times, obviously for rehearsals and got to a point where we’re just like, ‘Yeah, it feels good to play, all the parts go together well.’ So eventually we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s keep it like that’, you know?
HAPPY: Nice. The music video for Hazy, it’s a mixture of BTS footage from you guys recording in the studio and also having some downtime playing outdoor activities. So I feel like the relaxed vibe of the song definitely came through. When you were doing all that outdoorsy stuff, was that really integral to getting that sound, or is it just the sound that was already there?
MATT: The sound was kind of already there, but we definitely do that kind of stuff anyway when we’re recording, rehearsing, on tour. Whatever it is, you know, we’ll just like play cornhole or play frisbee. We just like to muck around a little bit, you know? It keeps you your mind off being too worried about stuff with writing, I suppose, so…
CALLUM: Yeah, the studio environment of all places is just super relaxing. It probably would’ve changed it a little bit if we recorded in a dull grey warehouse or something. I feel like it might have a different vibe. But yeah, it’s super relaxing. Al and Corbs are super chilled-out dudes, so it just made it all super easy.
HAPPY: Yeah, of course. This is your first single with your new label, Rainbow Valley Records. What was that experience like, recording with these guys?
MATT: Well, we’ve recorded with them before on the first album. We did… I think only half of it with Matty, but most of it without. But this time, they were there the whole time and we stayed at the place as well – we stayed at the studio. So they were really involved in everything all the time. So yeah, I don’t know if there were a heap of changes. I think they had just gotten really good at what they do in the past two years since we recorded with them… has it been two years?
CALLUM: I think so.
MATT: Yeah, about that.
CALLUM: But yeah, it was really awesome to be honest. They both compliment each other really well. They both have their real strengths and if you have an idea… I love Al, because like I said before, he’ll give you a picture of the broader scope of the song and Corby will work on all the details. You know, he’s a man of detail. So it was really cool to work with the two and kind of bounce off each…
MATT: And have that extra perspective.
CALLUM: Yeah, 100%. They’re just great guys, you know, so easy to get along with and chat to. So, yeah, it’s great.
HAPPY: Sounds pretty positive overall. How are you guys hoping to develop as well as artists through this new label?
CALLUM: I think that already, even with, say, the tour poster and stuff, having people that really specialise in the image and marketing side of the band helps. We always just focus on the music so it’s cool with the label to have that support and have those skills as well to help out. I hope with the label, musically as well, we can mature with them and just put out the best music we can for the fans. I feel like they can really help facilitate that, you know?
MATT: Yeah, it’s cool that they’re both artists as well. So it’s cool to be on a label that’s pretty much run by people like us. It’s a cool label to be a part of – It’s like fresh, it’s new. Yeah, I’m excited to see where it goes.
HAPPY: Of course! I’m excited, too. It feels like it’s just the beginning for you guys, really. I wanted to also talk about the single album art for Hazy. So Marty Baptist is the artist behind the single art and the tour artwork. What made you guys want to choose him to visually reflect this new music from you guys?
MATT: Well, he’s actually a close friend of someone who works with Rainbow Valley. So we got through to him through them. He does a lot of art for a skate brand called Japan National and a friend showed us his art and we were like, ‘This is really cool.’ It’s kind of similar to some of our early stuff, but with a fresh spin on it. We love the painted vibes, and it feels carefree as well.
MATT: That’s what we kind of want for the song as well, because it’s a big thing. If I’m on Spotify on my phone and a cool song comes on and the artwork’s just as cool, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, this is really nice’, I kind of like it for the artwork as well, you know? I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s cool inspiration.’ But he’s got some really cool stuff. Yeah, really cool stuff.
HAPPY: I feel like having a visual that strong definitely ties in with the song and it can make it more memorable – people will just naturally connect those two things. I feel like visuals today are just as important as the sounds. If you have a strong visual to back up the music, it can really help to carry it as a whole project, and I definitely got those carefree, easy-going vibes from your song through to the artwork and your tour poster.
MATT: Yeah, yeah. Having vibrant colours and stuff with a song that’s pretty uplifting is definitely something that’s pretty important as well.
CALLUM: I remember the first time I showed my mum she was like, ‘Oh, it just keeps drawing you in. I can’t stop looking at it.’
MATT: The artwork, yeah. You know I didn’t realise it until after, and I’m still not actually sure… I’ll call and ask, but I think it’s meant to be a record on a vinyl player, an abstract version of it. But I was looking at it before. I don’t know, I kind of want to ask, but it’s cool.
HAPPY: That’s what I liked about it as well. I didn’t really know what it was, either. I thought it was a Ferris wheel. I just thought it was like a carnival-looking thing. *laughs*
MATT: It could be a Ferris wheel, to be fair. *laughs*
HAPPY: But I like that you can’t really tell what it is. It’s just fun having that guessing game. So I also wanted to ask, since your last album Tracing Faces, do you feel like your musical mindset has changed a lot?
MATT: Did you learn lots in between?
CALLUM: Yeah, definitely. I think the whole COVID thing, just having the time to reflect on life as a whole, I think that kind of influences the music as well. And because it was quite a while, we just listened to so much wireless, and so much new music. So we were just flooded with new ideas. Even just in terms of writing… Actually, one thing I was going to say was that with COVID, we were all split up. So we all, I guess… up until that point, most of the songs were kind of perennial. Normally Alex would bring in a guitar idea, and then Chris and I would just kind of jam out and jam arrangements, whereas, with COVID, we kind of got forced to write by ourselves. So yeah, just coming up with some really different ideas. So that was kind of cool as well, actually.
HAPPY: Yeah, it would have definitely let your own creativity breathe and flow as well without being able to bounce off each other so easily. It would have been quite challenging, I can imagine. With having all that time… I feel like, when I’ve spoken to other artists about writing during COVID, they’re like, ‘it can be a bit of a double-edged sword because you have so much time to really think about what you’re doing. Sometimes you can overthink stuff as well, which can be like a bit of a battle to like deal with.’
CALLUM: I’m definitely 100%… how do you start writing a song and then like know when to stop, you know, like two days and that’s the limit.
HAPPY: Yeah, or you know, when to stop tweaking it or adding to it, or when to draw the line and know when it’s good and done?
MATT: Yeah, that’s why it’s good to have Matt and Al producing now because they’re really good at doing that. They’re really good at being like, ‘Oh, no, we don’t want to add too much to it’, because they can see it from an outside perspective as well.
HAPPY: Yeah, of course, it’s like a fresh perspective. So you guys have announced a 21 date headline tour coming up in March and April. What can your fans who have been in lockdown expect to see from that? Is there anything new on the agenda for live performances for you guys?
MATT: I think there will be new songs, for sure.
HAPPY: Of course, of course.
MATT: We tried a couple out at Wave Rock, which was fun, we hadn’t done them before. But yeah, I suppose we’re just going to try and up from our last tour.
CALLUM: Up the production.
MATT: You know, up the production a bit more.
CALLUM: But there’ll still be that same old Gable spirit there, you know.
CALLUM: I guess we’re really passionate on stage. But yeah, after every tour, it just feels like the production gets a little bit bigger and a little bit better. And like Matty was saying, I think writing these songs added a new element and such a new vibe. So we’re really looking forward to that… and just to see everyone, to be honest.
MATT: I think we’re planning some new places as well, like playing in Canberra, which we’ve only been to once. Never played there, though, so that should be fun. Can’t remember what else there is.
CALLUM: There’s a lot of dates.
HAPPY: It’s exciting, guys. I’m excited for you. It’s going to be sick and just, you know, being able to do a proper, proper national tour will be very exciting. Were there any other things that you wanted to bring up that I didn’t ask during the interview? Or was that all good?
CALLUM: Ah, I don’t even know. I thought you were great, that was sick.
MATT: Yeah, that was sick.
HAPPY: Thanks, guys! Well, it was lovely talking to you both.
CALLUM: Yeah, likewise.
Hazy is available on all streaming services – Check it out!
Interview by Alex Stefanovic.
Photos by Charlie Hardy and James Adams.