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A formidable bunch of sheer talent, Songs displays a true a knack for creating soulful pop-indie tunes that will skip you off to faraway wonderlands. The Sydney based quartet quickly found their way into the hearts of many (including ours) with their rousing eponymous debut. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed when I recently heard that Jeff Burch and Steve Uren would be departing the band. Mark your calendar folks: Songs will also be bidding farewell to fans at This is Not Art festival in Newcastle, on October 2, making it the band's final show in their current incarnation. 'Nuff said. We’ll let Jeff, Steve and Ela Stiles take it from here.

Covered: The birth of Songs, ‘My Number’, the last gig and the future of Songs.

Audrey Lee: For the benefit of our readers residing in the UK and USA who may not have heard of your band, how did the Songs come about? And why ‘Songs’?

Jeff Burch: Max and I met when I first moved to Sydney from New Zealand as I really wanted to work for his magazine Doingbird. I ended up doing a bit of work for him, we became friends, did a few other projects together, then talk of starting a band entered the conversation. We wanted to do a pop band in the vein of some of the bands from our homeland, New Zealand. Obviously it has grown to incorporate a lot of other ideas but those groups were central to it at the start.
Songs because we live in an era where we should probably be exploring new/other ideas with guitars and maybe it’s an admission that troubadour music is not new but it can be fun to write and play.

AL: Songs has been playing together for three years now. How has the band grown over the years?

Ela Stiles: I would say that we have become better at playing our instruments and playing together. We have built a good vibe together over these past few years. Max has become better at singing too. Jeff accumulated a million pedals too, which has added a lot to our sound. We will be sad to lose him.

AL: Who would you cite as the band’s main influences?

JB: I would assume it’s quite obvious but I would say the Velvet Underground, the Bats, the Clean, Can, the Gordons, Toy Love, Neu, United States of America, the Dead C, Gate, Thela, Snapper, Suicide, Fahey, Riley etc.

AL: We get the impression that the four of you are rather different in terms of your other creative outputs. How do these differences impact the creative process for the band?

JB: We are all involved in other things artistically and it probably has a lot to do with why we all get on well, but I’m not sure those things really affect how we make music together in a practice room.

AL: Can you give us an insight into the band’s songwriting process?

ES: Well, usually Max brings a song to us with lyrics and chord progression, etc and we basically deconstruct it together. Usually it ends up completely different. I don't think he minds.

AL: Songs recently released a self-titled double LP of which the band only produced 200 copies. What’s the reason behind that? 

ES: I guess the main reason we only produced 200 copies is because it’s quite expensive to produce a double LP and we had no money. Luckily our label (Popfrenzy/Chris Wu) believed in us and we are forever grateful! We also weren't sure if we would end up selling them all if we made more.

AL: Tell us about some of the exclusive numbers on the album.

ES: Yes, there is a song called 'My Number' on the album. It goes: "9386 1272. That’s my number and I'm going to give it to you".

AL: What can people expect from the band’s performance at the This is Not Art showcase gig?

ES: Well this is our last show with the current line up, so I think it will be a bit sad. We have a couple of new songs that we've been playing; it’s a bit of a shame because we were just starting to get good.

AL: We understand that Jeff is also sitting on the panel for Sound Summit’s Draining the Tasman and Reinventing the Obsolete: Music as a Cultural Artefact. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

JB: Chris Hearn has been involved in the organisation of the panels for Sound Summit this year and asked if I would like to take part. I have known Chris for years and see him from time to time because of his project Alps or because of Songs. Draining the Tasman, because I am a New Zealander now based in Australia. The latter, because I run an imprint/record label dealing in esoteric musics pressed on vinyl. I think both panels have the potential to become interesting dialogues if well directed.

AL: We’ve read that band members Jeff and Steve will be relocating overseas, and as a result, TiNA will mark the band’s last show. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Steve Uren: Jeff is relocating to New York, and I am relocating my brain to different endeavours. Beyond that there is not so much to tell really, we all still get along swimmingly and are looking forward to finishing up in at TiNA. Thanks to Chris for inviting us back.

AL: And finally, we know it’s a little premature, but we’re sure your fans would love to know if Songs have any plans to reunite in the future.

SU: Songs will still exist if Max keeps writing, No doubt it will sound quite different but there will be a new configuration playing live again no doubt – so by default, you won’t see a reunion – which is a good thing.

View original post at Kluster Magazine.

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