To celebrate the release and today’s unveiling of a stunning new clip, we caught up with the band to chat their studio experience, brewing their own beer, and using a ceramic bowl for percussion.
With the release of their brand spankin’ new video The Shape You Take, The Dollar Bill Murrays chat everything from ceramic bowls to brewing their own beer.
HAPPY: Hey guys, digging the new track. Definitely one of my favourites of yours. How’s everyone feeling about the track now that it’s done?
DOLLAR BILL MURRAYS: Awesome! You can probably tell it’s a little different to some of our previous tracks, but we’re stoked that we managed to pull all those layers in and deliver something that’s catchy and fun but still our sound. It’s meant to be kinda dark, kinda sweet – and we’re getting a lot of people telling us it reminds us of late nights at a bar, so mission accomplished?
HAPPY: The production on the track is super tight. Lots of beef and grunt. Tell us a bit about how the track came together in the studio…
DBM: We actually had the ideas/demos for this one about a year ago but we sat on it for a while and worked on getting the mood just right. We didn’t want to rush the whole process and recorded our previous single Dancing With Death in between, and I think allowing some time for The Shape You Take to breathe really helped. From there it was a couple of days in studio with drums laid down first and then the other tracks and overdubs!
HAPPY: You worked with Brock Weston on the track right? How did he help shape the track?
DBM: We’ve got a great working relationship with Brock! I think what’s great is we’re at the point where he gets our sound and what we’re trying to achieve, but is always able to make suggestions if something isn’t working or if he wants to trial ideas. Being a four-piece band sometimes we also get to situations where two of us agree on an idea, and two disagree, so he can often be a great independent, external voice too!
HAPPY: I read that a melody in the bridge was some kind of pitch-shifted recording of a ceramic bowl – how did this come to be?
DBM: Ha! Honestly, we wanted something to really pop out in the bridge without being too loud and there were enough guitars etc in there already doing that job. We tried a few synths and xylophones but just couldn’t get exactly where we wanted to be. Felix returned from the kitchen with a ceramic dinner bowl, and… well, the rest is history.
HAPPY: Do you find yourselves experimenting much in the studio, or is everything fairly fully formed when it comes to recording?
DBM: A little bit of both. As we progress, we’re always going into studio with songs that are more final than previous rounds of recording, but we’re always experimenting with layers and voices too. It’s not till you actually hear how things are sounding out of the studio monitors when you know how everything is sitting.
HAPPY: I like how the notion of lust is subverted in the track – it’s not physical, it’s intangible, and in this way it’s even more powerful. Where did this idea come from?
DBM: That’s an interesting one! Felix was actually involved in a bit of an argument in his living room and his mind started wandering to how the other person’s ‘shape/pose’ was at the moment. In that situation he could see other intent and meaning in their actions, so the idea of conveying the power of body language is something we’re trying to do here.
HAPPY: How did you try to drive home this feeling when it came to arranging and recording the song – the instrumentation definitely reflects the frustration of the lyrics.
DBM: To get that swanky, sweet yet dark feel we’ve started off with some jumpy guitars that really keep the pulse going and then we’ve got a solid backbone from the bass and drums playing together. The song is filled out with a lot of other textural tracks, but as the song progresses the frustration and energy steadily builds as we get to the final choruses where more layers and bigger/ parts take over. That bridge really seems to be the turning point for it all!
HAPPY: I’m still amazed that you guys brewed your own beer – the Bill F. Murray Malt Liquor – that’s so rad. When did you get into brewing?
DBM: Look, we’re novices really. Most (pretty much all) of the hard work was done by the legends at All Inn Brewing Co. who hit us last year to see if we’d be keen to partner with them. There was no way we would turn that down so we said YES! From there we got involved with some brew work to see how it would all shape up, and put on some gigs in support of the beer too. On top of that, we decided to support Support Act – a charity which helps musicians and artist workers in times of need – it’s great to be able to combine our love for music and beer, and have something great come out of it!
HAPPY: Paint us a flavour picture of your beer – it won Gold Medal at the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Awards, it must be damn good.
DBM: To quote the official tasting notes: “Humble and good-humoured, an American-style homebrew hero. Easy-going, with a touch of sweetness and just a little bit peppery. That’s the fact, Jack.“ CLEAN, LIGHTLY MALTY, EASY-GOING – 5.5% ABV, 21 IBU.
Us, well we think it tastes damn good! I think the easiest way to describe it is like a slightly sweeter lager, with a bit more punch behind it too (thanks to the extra strength). It’s super sessionable and we’ve certainly tasted more of our product than we should have.
HAPPY: You’re currently on the road supporting the single right? How has the track been sounding on stage?
DBM: It’s a heaps of fun to play live, and the catchy chorus hook makes the crowd sing-alongs that much more exciting to be a part of. It really holds its shape with how it builds and drops and we can’t wait to play some more shows with it in the set. We pulled it out for the first time at our Brisbane show last month and it was such a good feeling to see the crowd start moving as soon as those drums and bass came in on the first beat – unreal!
HAPPY: What’s next for the Dollar Bill Murrays?
DBM: Fame, stardom, brewin’ beers, the usual. Honestly, we’re in the midst of this cool little tour and then from there we have some exciting stuff in the works. More music, more shows, more fun!
Watch the video for The Shape You Take above, and catch The Dollar Bill Murrays live on the dates below:
Fri 15 June – Valve Bar, Sydney
Sat 16 June – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne
Sat 23 June – Sonic Sherpa Records, Brisbane
Tues 3 July – Howl & Moan Records, Byron Bay