Lady Petrol talk about the fuel behind their grungy-rock album

Coming from the release of their LP, Molecular Melodies, Lady Petrol chatted with Happy about the making of the album, sitars and all.

Four-piece Sydney group, Lady Petrol, chat with Happy in the midst of lockdown – talking about their latest LP, Molecular Melodies

Moving from the sound of their debut EP, the group deep dives into experimental rock, spilling their creativity beyond the tracks and into colour-bursting album covers. Check out the interview below.

HAPPY: Hey Lady Petrol! Where do you find yourselves today?

LADY PETROL: G’day, Happy Mag. At the moment, we find ourselves with the rest of the state, which is in the familiar routine of lockdown. But, to be honest, it’s a pretty good time to release an album while everyone is looking for something to fill the time, and the reception has been favourable, which is nice.

HAPPY: Tell us a bit about this name, where did it come from?

LADY PETROL: The band name was actually inspired by our old guitarist, Kurt Jones, and his encounter with a middle-aged woman at his local watering hole. They exchanged a few words and shared what beverages they were drinking at the time, of which she colourfully exclaimed “a bitta Lady Petrol moite!”, which, we found out was slang for cheap wine. And the name stuck.

HAPPY: Massive congrats on your LP release, Molecular Melodies! This was your first full length album – how did you find the process different to your EP from 2018?

LADY PETROL: Ah cheers, we’re stoked to finally get it out. The experience was pretty different from recording the EP, From the Womb to the Tomb. The EP was recorded over a weekend with our close mate Nat Tyrell (Los Scallywaggs, Mild West) in his mini studio in Pacific Palms. At the time we didn’t really know what to expect, or what sound we were after exactly, but Nat really pushed us into experimenting with a variation of guitar pedals for a heavier sound, which at the time we had never done, and in turn that set the tone for the direction of the next album where we became obsessed with pedals in the pursuit for new and diversified sounds.

The writing for Molecular actually started a month or two later when Cal (Bass player) and I went backpacking around Mexico/South America for 6 months, and I began writing songs on guitars which I would find hostel jumping between surfing and Tequila shots.

Once we got back we had a few songs to work on with Dyl (drummer), some found themselves on the album, most of them got scrapped, but we definitely were chasing a different sound from the initial EP, so we decided to take our time, progress our writing, and build a full-length album that expressed more of our musical interests outside of the standard heavy music we had been writing previously.

After a year or two of writing, gigging and figuring out what we wanted the album to sound like, we started recording at a local studio by the name of RTN, run by Geoff Mullard.

Geoff was really easy to work with and because we shared similar tastes in music, he understood the sound we were trying to achieve and allowed us to experiment with new concepts and ideas. With Geoff at the helm of the soundboard, it opened up new opportunities for us in music production that were previously unavailable to us. The process took around two weeks, then we sent it off to Fraser Marshall for mixing and Bryce Moorehead for mastering.

HAPPY: The tracks on MM have incredibly high levels of energy and passion – what’s one track you are particularly proud of?

LADY PETROL: I think we are all pretty stoked on how Sedation Steve turned out. It has probably been the song that has received the most compliments from friends who have given the album a listen.

HAPPY: Who were some of your sonic influences for the album

LADY PETROL: The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, The Smashing Pumpkins, nothing too expansive from the ordinary sound palette really.

As far as local acts are concerned, we were all pretty into Soho, Foam, Fungas, Los Scallywaggs, Mild West, Medheads, SOY and many more at the time.

HAPPY: Which tune was the toughest to create?

LADY PETROL: Ummmm… Probably Primitive People as it required me to learn how to play the Sitar (poorly I might add), and on top of that, it is a MASSIVE pain in the ass to tune as it has 18 strings that fluctuate in and out of key whenever it feels like it.

I also feel sorry for my old housemates, whom were succumb to hear me learn and tune the Sitar in their peripheries during the writing phase. There is nothing worse than hearing someone learn how to play an instrument over and over. Sorry Lauchy and Cam.

HAPPY: Let’s talk about the artwork for your band by singer/guitarist Nath! What’s your process designing these incredible artworks?

LADY PETROL: Thanks, I’m glad you like the art! Nothing too out of the ordinary really. I have a lot of comics, fine art books and skateboard ephemera lying around, which makes for a staple source of inspiration.

I usually just start with a rough concept in my head, begin sketching on the iPad, see what springs to mind from there, get on the computer to colour and shade, and Bob’s your uncle.


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HAPPY: Do you make the artwork first or the music?

LADY PETROL: Music first, art second.

HAPPY: What can we expect in the future for Lady Petrol?

LADY PETROL: One of the few nice things about lockdown is there is more opportunity to write songs and draw art, so hopefully, we can get the second album out a little quicker than the first.

But, in the meantime, I am working on some more artwork for a Vinyl pressing, a short animation for a song on the album, and pending when the apocalypse rehearsal draws to an end, get on the road and play some shows again.

HAPPY: Thanks guys!

LADY PETROL: Cheers for the interview!

Stream Lady Petrol’s LP here