Great Gable is a mountain set in the Lake District of England. It is majestic and unique, towering in scenery that’s layered and kaleidoscopic. I had never heard of the mountain before, but I found out about it and much more when I interviewed Great Gable about their impending debut album release ,Tracing Faces, which is set for worldwide distribution on Friday the 7th of August 2020.
Alex Whitman lead singer guitarist, along with guitarist Matt Preen gave some fascinating insights into the new album and how they developed their sound in the studio.
Boylee: Hi Alex, Matt thanks for taking time out to have a chat with Radio 13. How are you guys going? You must be getting pretty excited about the album release coming up?
Alex: Yeah it is a pretty new feeling cause we have only released singles and EPs in the past, so it’s nice to create a full body of work and get this one under the belt.
Boylee: I bring this topic up when chatting to bands this year, but keen to see how you guys are feeling through COVID 19 and the impact it has had on you?
Matt: We had a big tour organised back in April but that’s been postponed till October. So, with the downtime, we have spent a lot of time writing new music, which has been great with a lot of new stuff developed.
Boylee: I have to ask, where did you guys come up with the band name? Sounds pretty majestic to me.
Alex: Great Gable is a mountain in England that we as a family climb up each year because my Granddad’s ashes are up there. It has great views and is a special place for the family.
Boylee: Well that’s a million miles away from where you originated the band in Perth. How did you guys get together?
Alex: We grew up in Bunbury, which is two hours south of Perth, but we all live in Perth. Matt and I started the band originally and we were playing cricket together and getting into music, playing instruments and then started jamming together.
We started releasing singles from 2016, and then our 2019 EP Lazy Bones Tapes really started getting some traction, with I Swear and Cool Mind Blue doing well.
Boylee: Yeah it seems to me this is where you had a mini breakthrough and your sound started to become more mature. What were your influences in Perth at the time?
Alex: I guess being in Perth there are bands like Tame Impala, and we also love the English 90s bands like Blur and Oasis, stuff like that and, of course, The Beatles. It is nice to be likened to bands like Tame Impala and King Gizzard.
Boylee: So the new album, Tracing Faces, is really accessible and yet covers off a range of different themes and topics including relationships and mental health, which seems to be a growing area of concern. What brought about some of these themes?
Alex: We wanted to pick themes that we knew would resonate with our age group and connect with it. The songs that we sing are on topic but vague enough to allow our fans and listeners to develop their own connections.
Boylee: What was the recording process like? Did you go in with most of the songs or was it more the ideas and they developed while you were recording?
Matt: We spent a good eight-to-10 months writing material before going in. We had around eight songs, along with say another three or four part ideas or songs that were developed during the sessions. We were in the studio for 16 days or so, recorded 13 but finished with the 10 that are on the album today. Working with Alex Heriksson and Matt Corby was sick and they really helped to expand the sound we were looking for.
Boylee: 7th of August is the release of the album, what plans have you got to bring the new songs to life on stage?
Matt: We have got one show when the album comes out but there are still plenty of gigs up in the air until COVID-19 works through.
Alex: Thinking about the studio sound and the added air candy around them taking them on the stage , we think they will stand up pretty much on their own, based on the core of how the songs were developed, sometimes just with an acoustic guitar in the first place.
Boylee: Still a chance that you might get over to the Shakey Isles but looking more challenging given the flare-ups in Victoria and New South Wales?
Alex: We are pretty good over here in WA. Maybe we need a bubble between us...I think we have more chance now to tour in NZ than anywhere else at the moment.
Boylee: You guys have played here before right?
Alex: Yeah a couple times, the first was in Auckland in that downstairs bar… the Whammy Bar it was great fun. The Tuning Fork as well, which is where we are hoping to play in October. We love the Tuning Fork, the Whammy Bar has character but a small stage with poles, where we have a little more freedom in the Tuning Fork.
Boylee: I was really intrigued by the album cover. It stands out for some reason to me and captures the sound I think. How did that come about?
Alex: Thanks for that I’m glad. This will make you laugh but I was sitting on the loo one morning and looked up at the light coming through a vent in the wall onto the other wall and with the morning light the colours looked cool, so I took a photo of it and gave it to our graphic designer.
Boylee: I can’t wait to see you live, hopefully in October, but whenever we get back to some normality.
Alex: Cheers Boylee thanks for the interview; just before you leave do you have any favourite songs off the album?
Boylee: The opening track, Tracing Faces, really grabbed me and I’m glad that you guys chose that song to kick off the album. It’s a little more edgy than some of the others but has a great melody. Who wrote that?
Alex talking to Matt: You had the chords for that one didn’t you? And then we kind of wrote that one together.
Boylee: Deep End was also a standout for me as well.
Alex: Cool, thinking about it that is probably my favourite as well. Matt did most of the work around the order of songs.
Matt: Yes we were going to start the album with All My Fault, which has a slower rhythm, but Tracing Faces was more upbeat and kicked it off in a way we wanted.
Boylee: Thanks again guys, really looking forward to seeing you soon and all the very best with the release of the new album.
Matt Alex: Cheers Boylee look forward to seeing you at the Tuning Fork.