Category Archives: Recording

Rarities and 2002 Deloris doco

Not sure what’s spurring on a current interest in getting some shit together, but we’re currently putting together a compilation of a bunch of stuff Deloris never released. Or barely did. Some offcuts from The Pointless Gift and Fake Our Deaths, b-sides, live stuff, rehearsal room songs that never made it to the studio, demos and live to air things. I don’t know why. We just may as well. Will be up as an album (or two) on bandcamp before too long. I don’t know if anyone’s even interested in these things anymore.

Weirdly, we also have a semi-pro, hour long movie-doco of Deloris working on early demos for Fake Our Deaths. It was filmed in an old house in Sassafrass, near the Dandenongs in Victoria, in 2002 by our friend Stuart Charles.

And so, here it is. Click through for the big version:

Deloris – Sassafras 2002 from Simon Heelis on Vimeo.

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Filed under Fake Our Deaths, Fancy, Recording

Press release for Fake Our Deaths

Came across the press release we used for Fake Our Deaths. It excludes the period following its release, as well as of course the Ten Lives period, but it’s probably the most detailed history of Deloris we ever put to paper. Might add it to the exhibit.

Here:

Deloris – Fake Our Deaths press release and band history

We left the bars drunk. We had 4 coins between us and the sleet had jammed the river back up to the guts of Olivers Hill, and now with the night coming down on us we could see no road. With an oar each, we stumbled our way to the parlour, leaping up to smash the chandeliers, cracking the slate and running our wet paddles along the gun racks, grass spilling from our jackets, piano strings round our wrists. Wooden instruments tuned in our hands and started up and they played what sounded nice. We sang with the wood, turning it to hum on our chests and warm our teeth. Blah. Canaries flew from the corners; rubbish fell from our mouths.

We called the first record Fraulein. It had nothing to do with recording near our then hometown of Frankston, Melbourne; in a place near the beach called Rye, and everything to do with making 5 days sound much longer than they were. That was 1998. Luke was in the band then playing drums. Simon did it because he knew we didn’t have a bass player, and Marcus drew the cover for the record one afternoon in a portable on the back of a lecture sheet. He also got glandular fever a week before it was recorded, which was pretty stupid. So it was made up of stories put to DAT tape and somone’s grandpa’s tape recorder and a dictaphone, and we were happy. So happy we played some of it around pubs and halls and folks heard of it and started making up their own stories about it. People passed the room while we fiddled with domestic beer and coils of cables and parking tickets. They asked us what was going on with it all and so every so often we’d press the ground outside and check for marks. No signs pointing to no signs at all.

Halflight Records from Perth were the first to notice them. They followed us to a local show and told us they should take our music back with them to Perth. They did and Fraulein came out in shops with both our names on it. The cover was made from tracing paper fed through the photocopiers of a school. Soon we were sent things they’d written about us, like this from Melbourne street magazine Inpress:

‘Why aren’t Deloris huge? An extremely accomplished debut album that’s as good (if not better) than a lot of the stuff currently taking up space on national playlists, Fraulein is ambitious without ever over reaching.

We stayed up late with Halflight in Melbourne. We became friends, and so well known to each other that a year later we followed them back to Perth to see if we could make some sense of all this again. They had their own recording studio and so we bought a ticket of our own to see if there were some things inside of it that we missed.

‘The Pointless Gift took two whole weeks of 1999. This time we knew the stories more, could let them tell us what they were doing as much as we could make them up as we went. This time our new friends were helping us with food and instruments and beds and wheels. We started going to things like radio stations and talking about the doing of all of it. When it was made we drove down to a country brewery and played a show to no one and then danced together and tried to steal pizza lights.

Quietly Suburban Records in Sydney heard it and called us and sent emails and we became more friends. We drove up to Sydney to meet them and play our first show there, and over some take-away chicken and tubs of mousse we decided to actually make it all together, put it out for others…and a year later we supported its tiny plastic clicks on a stage in Melbourne. That was at the Empress of India, 2 days before 2001. Afterwards we all went dancing and bowled til daylight.

Once the new year started other people heard something in it again. The Pointless Gift became Melbourne radio station Triple R’s ‘Album of the Week’, and ‘The Age’ newspaper also gave it album of the week, saying:

‘There are many highlights on The Pointless Gift, an assured, diverse, intoxicating piece of work that beckons to be played…and played. A huge future awaits Deloris’

Since there were three of us and Marcus could no longer stretch his hands as far as he’d recorded them sounding, Leigh was round in 2001 doing nothing so we asked him to stand with us and play. Maybe the first time for him was a live-to-air on JJJ where he practiced rubbing a radio on his pick-ups or on RRR or some backyard shows in Sydney but…I forget. It was good all the same. We travelled and showed our record to people in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth again. We made a video for ‘Creeping Jesus’ which ended up on a bigger video called These Things Take Time along with great people like Sodastream, Art of Fighting and Adam Said Galore. Things were good.

Then Luke decided to leave us in an alley way next to The Punters Club. There you go. But within a few months we had found Daniel, shaken beside a country highway but otherwise ok. We took him in and left him in a box in the laundry til his legs got right. New stories were happening of course and we wanted to to sit down bout now and draft them out ogether.

Soon they started coming, stories of phones found in the ice and nails falling from the house and boats that don’t bend and feet up on the glass. They were hard but in our room and in our fingers we thought they were correct. It took a while. In March 2002 we went with our friend Anthony Cornish to record ghost versions of it all at an ancient house in the tree-studded hills of Sassafras. It was dusty and damp, but sooon we got wind of what was going on and ran back home to finish them in his cupboard in Northcote.

Not long after we were invited to a converted phone building in Preston belonging to another band of people trying to get the same thing out of their decisions as us. Augie March took their name from a book as well, and they let us use their instruments and equipment and machines and cutlery to try out our ideas around their humming gear. After countless lost bike rides and avoided phone calls and being disbelieving at the night turning into daylight and coffee breaks, we listened to it all and felt we were ok. But the time it was all taking was starting to be what the songs were also about. The stories they were telling weren’t stories any more. But as real as the telling. Ready.

Having saved all our dollars from not eating very well and not fixing things we should’ve fixed, we asked a man called Matt Voigt to record it all. He’d caught the sound for other bands we liked, like Cat Power, The Dirty 3 and Augie March, so we thought he should do the same for us. He liked working at Sing Sing studios in a small street opposite a service station in Richmond, as well as a slightly smaller place up the road called Sing Sing South, which is upstairs above a furniture store and backs onto a couple of green concrete basketball courts. This place became our home for two whole weeks, as we began to press ourselves into its wood, carpet and 2-inch tape machines so it would remember us. We ate badly and slept worse. We recorded for 16 hours every day, sometimes more and we learnt things we didn’t want to learn plus some new things that we’ve probably left there now. We played basketball and drank coffee and beer and went for walks when we started lying out loud to each other and going fuzzy in the head. But in between we fixed 12 songs up to where they were solid and new and could stand and be left. We locked up our cases and put our wrappers in the bin and shook some hands and went back to things as they usually were.

But over the next 6 months we realised things weren’t finished. Music had parts with no singing where there should be singing and some had no sound where it was supposed to be going crazy all over the place. Learning of a studio in the hills of Harkaway, we travelled there amongst the cows and dirty roads to a house with a circular driveway that held a tree in its middle. Next to this driveway were two rooms, separated by a glass wall and a doorway. It was in here that we used a computer to paint colour on some bits, drain the life out of others. After too many late nights and long weekends we finally left those chairs and were able to drive towards the city night with our sounds being around us for the last and first time. It was the start of spring in 2003.

It had taken so long we were at the end of ourselves. It was supposed to be all good but we’d been arguing. Before the start of a long weekend in June, we found a new song that we felt explained all our ideas about everything. We’d tried to record it at the Preston room at Augie March’s place but it hadn’t worked. So we found a day to do it all in, in a room at Sing Sing that was bigger than two of our houses put together. We started at 10am with nothing and left at 3am with it, the song. Usually they take so much longer to build and record than you think they should, but somehow this one made so fast, got right quick. ‘The Unbroke Part Of It’ was the last song recorded but is the first song on FAKE OUR DEATHS.

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Fake Our Deaths – studio recording diary

Wow. I just found this and read it for the first time since it was written. In the studio, early 2003, as we were mixing Fake Our Deaths. Pretty emo, but that’s what studios do to the brain eventually. One for the trainspotters.

As is:

a weekend snapshot from the private collection:

we’re mixing here at sing sing. leigh’s next to me. hello leigh! he didn’t say hi he’s not here anymore. we’re listening to the sing sing version of battle happy, a version that right now i don’t think will make the record. A) because the feel of it i remember being appalling, and B) because I’ve always gotten a great deal of joy out of listening to the preston version, and it doesn’t fade with repeated listenings. feel like we’d be pushing shit up hill, a feeling not uncommon to this weekend’s mixing sessions. we’ve spent the majority of today remixing previously failed versions of drunks and atlas…which now has proved to be an important and right decision. cause prior to this they sucked mightily. it’s an extraordinarily sickening depression that creeps into your guts when your faced with a final mix of a song you’ve been recording for an entire year, have been playing as a band for 3-4 years, and was conceived with starry eyes and lofty ideals maybe 5-6 years ago, and is now entering your ears and failing dismally. were you wrong all along? did the version in your head ever exist? and if not then are you fucking deluding yourself? and part of the horror surely is that in the end, in really doesn’t – and didn’t – ever matter.

so anyway, this morning we had a minor meltdown…well at least matt (voigt) and i did, when we discovered that we both thought the previous 2 days work sucked. i of course wanted to redo it all, and matt of course was looking at the bigger picture, wanting to move forward. with me being the stubborn fuck i am and with the timely arrival of sarge and heelis to back me up, we started going over our nuggets of mixed refuse. once in, matt uttered the phrase ‘what the fuck were we thinking?’ which is always reassuring. and what do you know but throughout the course of the day we’ve managed to prove that one shouldn’t consider a turd a turd until every atom of its little circumference has been well and thoroughly polished. thus the mood lifted, table-tennis was resumed, dinner was served and the kids were put out to pasture. without even the ubiquitous ‘car test’ this time. what the hell it’s too far gone now. instincts are best left untouched…well not always but a can of worms is probably left admired than strewn around the room whilst four penniless adults wonder what the fuck it is they’re doing with their lives. why a row of buttons matters so much, and why we hole our way inside and out of harms reach of such distractions like…friends, family, pets, air, food, loved ones. cause it makes us happy i guess. it does.

last thursday, friday, saturday and sunday we were in here too. magic dirt were in the studio down the hall with fuckin adam kasper of all people. if i had every cent of currency this country has ever minted the first thing i would do would be to record or at the very least mix with adam kasper. the guy’s done some of my favourite albums of all time, responsible perhaps indirectly for a large percentage of what I’m currently sitting here listening to, and here i am politely sayin ‘hey’ in the hallway as i brew a coffee while he’s off to the toilet. (hearing problems with this track at present, thinking more and more that the preston versions gonna be the one) so anyway kasper was in the house while we actually had one of his CD’s (Pond’s ‘Rock Collection’) in here as a reference. the irony was touching. magic dirt are however probably paying the guy 10 times what we’re paying matt. wait, magic dirt are probably paying fuck all…well out of their pockets anyway. yeah yeah i know it doesn’t work like that. whatever. give us an advance to worry about paying back instead of sitting at a computer screen every day of our beige lives to pay for this stuff. they have to pay it all back? yeah by going on tour and playing and recording and promoting music. boo hoo.

so that weekend we got done these songs:
last day : sounds tops
warm: sounds tops. no little vox or incidental music (yet) and vox maybe a bit loud but it’s good.
feather figure: sounds good but i have an issue with the volume of a few things and the flamboyance of the ending. sad songs are good when they’re left to be sad and stumble quietly out of the room on their lonesome, not spelled out in neon building high letters and slapped about your head to stain the point home. give me a miserable song that trails off into obscurity over a acoustic rockout finale any day.
spaces: frickin tops, one of the best.
ice and peppers: really good, just have to wait and see if we use the trumpet or not.
local: really fuckin good also
o you’re gone: perfect.

and a couple of local edits for radio, if we get that far.

so that was all pretty good. it’s been fun in between the stress, arguments, grievance airings and meltdowns and whatnot. table tennis, bbq’s, stupid photos, heart to hearts, slander matches, and what not. as leigh said, it’s going to be weird after this when we’ve got no studio confines to retreat from the outside world into. we had a bit of a chat this morning about where we were, in crisis about all our plans, sarge is in it for the long hall, simon’s up and down as ever, saying he’ll quit at a moments notice, but then getting excited about playing and prospects and such. lambert’s always in from what i can tell. if anything else this whole ordeal had certainly bonded us in ways we wouldn’t have expected beforehand. it’s pretty great right now. i can only imagine the fun we’ll have once we get back on some shows, playing new songs. hopefully people like. time will tell.

voigts onto the drums on battle happy, soundin good. we just had some chai and donuts. sarge is next to me on the floor making stupid photo’s on his laptop. someone’s out in the games room playin piano. now we’re listening. better go.

teeg : 11:30pm
sat 15th may 03

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Hunting

This song was recorded at Back Beach studios in Rye in 1995. Fifteen years ago. Shit. It was about this time of year too.

Deloris – ‘Hunting’ [mp3]

Luke played drums, Simon played bass, and I played guitars and sang. The engineer at the studio was used to recording metal bands, so of course everything is compressed to hell and my guitar sounds like it never did ever again. It was recorded to DAT.

‘Hunting’ was the last song on our 4 song second demo. We recorded the whole thing and mixed it in two days. There’s angst, there’s screaming, there’s influences, there’s wall of sound guitars and all the other stuff you’re into at one point. God forbid the whole demo (and its predecessor) should ever see the light of day. This was never really “Deloris”. But still, there’s something about the arrangement(s) and ideas here that suggested a lot of what would be. Still is.

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