It's been five days since Ah Trees released their debut EP, and we've been thrashing it the whole time. Broadcasting a moodier indie rock mix than ever before, the fellas from Perth are tickling all the right spots, and getting us feeling mighty excited.
The EP brings on Sam Ford (Pond, Peter Bibby) for production, and a cleaner mix than ever if quickly showcased. Before they officially launch the record with a string of shows, we caught up with Ryan from the band.
HAPPY: Congrats on the EP guys! What have the early reactions been like?
RYAN: Thanks! So far so good, though that being said only a small handful of friends, family and industry have heard it, so we'll have to wait and see!
HAPPY: Stoked with the way it turned out in the end?
RYAN: Absolutely. Each time we go into a studio it's a journey, we learn and we grow and we're proud of the time and effort we've put in. Once we've finished the recording we look back and see this piece of work as a point in our lives. Though just as quickly as we've sat down to appreciate it, we can't help but be working on something new too.
HAPPY: A lot of the record seem to come from pretty dark places. Is this the zone you guys tend to write in?
RYAN: During the time that the songs were created I was going through a lot of pretty dark moments, close deaths in the family, losing someone to suicide, battles with addiction and depression, you know, the cliche stuff that gets most of us down at one point! This music was a way of coming to terms with those experiences and losses, and for me it was a way of healing. Happiness through sadness. Kind of putting a full stop on the pain and turning it into something that you can shake your hips to, with friends or alone. Remembering that life is pretty great really!
HAPPY: The video for Team Sports is a pretty good example. Is there a story behind this one?
RYAN: Yeah, that came from a particular holiday overseas with my wife and close friends and for whatever reason Charles, Zach and I were some of the first responders to a fatal traffic accident out in the Thailand bush and hindsight would say we got too closely involved trying to help. After getting back from the holiday, which may have also involved the excesses that come with near death moments and lax liquor laws, the experiences had the time to hit home. I was also stuck in a dead end job (again) so after we came up with the music I bailed work and went and wrote what would end up being the lyrics. I guess I tend to deal in the darker subjects when I write, though I'd like to think I have this defiance that runs throughout each song, never wanting to be fully overcome, trying to give a sense of hope to it all too.
HAPPY: Is there one of you who takes charge with the writing, or do you just get your heads together?
RYAN: Early on it was one or two of us together and we'd write pretty much an entire song then bring it to the other dudes in the band and we'd jam on it, though this was before we got the band together. Nowadays one or two of us might come up with an idea and structure, but we all work on that idea together, each person bringing their own energy to the track, it's a real privilege and a lot of fun.
HAPPY: Who else are you loving in the Perth scene right now? There's so much good stuff emerging.
RYAN: So much! Too much to mention it all, we're spoilt with entertainment and tunes, just check out the WAMFest that we did; it's nuts. Really digging Human Buoy, great tunes, really groovy and interesting ear worms! Segue Safari are awesome, their sound is both timeless and classic. Lucy Peach is another artist worth checking out. And Feels, those two are incredible. Dream Rimmy are doing cool things as are Fuzz Toads and The Southern River Band. Lilt too! Oh god, so, many!
HAPPY: Where did you get your name from? Environmentalists?
RYAN: Ahh, haha, kind of? Back when we formed the band I was heavily into Reddit, it was my only source of news or entertainment for a while, it was pretty messed up! I came across a particular subreddit dedicated to a particular tree... So the name is a nod, a tongue in cheek reference to the culture of the internet, my fondness for Mary Jane and west-coast hip hop sounds that were influencing the earlier tunes. Oh and Aaahh Real Monsters was AWESOME!!
HAPPY: Any advice for the punters hitting up the EP tour shows?
RYAN: Just be ready to have fun, dance and be comfortable enough to be yourself! Feel free to have a chat after the show too, we love making new friends.
HAPPY: Can we expect a run-through of the new tunes, or will there be some jams and surprises?
RYAN: Yeah we've got a brand new track we're taking with us, as well as playing an older track that we kept having requested at shows in Perth, so that should be fun! We love to get a lot of energy going, so expect some jams and extended outros and grooves for sure. One big party!
HAPPY: What are you guys going to get up to after the last show at Mojos?
RYAN: We've got some great show lined up with both interstate and Perth bands, as well as a New Years show too. We'll be back recording a couple of new tracks in the new year and just see where the river flows...
You can catch Ah Trees launching their debut EP at the following shows:
Thursday November 10, Bar Open, Melbourne
Friday November 11, World Bar, Sydney
Saturday November 12, The Metro, Adelaide
Friday November 18, Mojos Bar, Perth/Fremantle
All the info you need is here.
Also check out our article on funny band names for a laugh or two.