Ultimate Globe Trotter has had the privilege to include some tremendous music from around the world in our episodes. One such band is July Days out of Melbourne, Australia. In addition to winning the 2013 Australian Independent Music Award for rock album of the year, July Days includes guitarist Andrew Moroney, an ultimate player featured in Episode 3 of GT. I sat down with Andrew and lead singer Lawrence Henry to find out more about the band, its connections to ultimate, and some of the music featured in Episode 3.
Thanks for being interviewed, guys. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do for the band? How did you get involved in July Days?
LH: I’m Lawrence, I am the singer. July Days is the extension of previous music projects Andy and I had worked on. Andy started it all. He persuaded me to have a go at singing at the end of year 12 (12th grade). I hadn’t really done anything like that before, but I couldn’t play any instruments at that point so I didn’t have many options. I owe it all to Andy, really. We love every minute of it, too, playing guitar and writing song has become a daily part of my life that may not have ever existed without a big push from Andy.
AM: My name is Andrew Moroney and I am the guitarist. As Lawrence mentioned we are a rock band with acoustic origins, with a really unique mix of personal musical interests (and personalities)! What we all share though is a strong sense of the “band brotherhood” and the need for all of us to take the piss out of ourselves and each other to keep things fun and real.
How did July Days get started? How would you identify yourselves as a band?
LH: It started with Andy and me playing what was probably a terrible version of Wonderwall as a farewell on the last day of year 12. From there we starting playing a few more songs together, at some mates’ parties and then a couple of small local gigs as a cover duo. After I met Tim at Uni and Glenn at the footy club I was playing for, it pretty naturally just came together. When I look back I think it’s pretty rare that a group sticks together the way we have. We started and just never stopped, everyone really got into it from the first rehearsal and we all enjoyed what we were doing.
As for identifying ourselves, for me, it was always just about wanting to be like the guys I looked up to: Powderfinger, Oasis, Kasabian, the Beatles. It has always been about getting the feeling I had the first time I went to a rock concert, which had a huge effect on me. I just loved the energy of it and I wanted to do it. That drove me, and I tell ya, when you are on a stage and things are clicking, you are feeling in a good space and there’s a good crowd of people really getting into what you’re doing, it is an amazing feeling.
What is your touring schedule like? Where are you as a band (in the general cycle of bands)?
LH: We’re coming off the back of our debut album and the touring that comes with it. We toured around Australia a couple of times in early 2014, then did a great tour around the UK in October. Along with the Independent Music Award we won for the album, it was the highlight of the band’s career so far. Lots of pints on both occasions.
It’s great playing at home but I always wondered how we would be received overseas, and it was amazing. Everyone was really welcoming and the gigs were bloody great. It was hard work, but getting on the road everyday and playing shows every night was really exciting. We made a heap of mates and had some ridiculous experiences. So we’ve had a couple months off to recover from everything and reflect, and now we’re writing again for a new record.
How that will sound is anyone’s guess, but I can guarantee the evolution of the sound will be pretty clear to listeners. We’ve always liked to be versatile with our sound and we enjoy the change. After such a big two years, we were always going to need a little time to think about the next record. We’re under no pressure to rush things, which is great, so I’m pretty excited about how the next record will progress this year.
Who are some of the band’s influences?
LH: For me as one of the writers, Oasis, Powderfinger, Kasabian, the Beatles, the Kinks, and Stereophonics have always been big for me. More recently Jake Bugg, Broken Bells, the Shins, Frightened Rabbit, and Fleet Foxes are all amazing, obviously a little different in vibe which probably correlates a little with my writing style over the years.
How did you feel about being included in Ultimate GT? Where’s the intersection of ultimate and July Days?
AM: I am the band’s guitarist, and also one of the founding members of Heads of State. The band started a couple of years before I started playing, but since then the two have worked pretty well together, working tournaments in to tours. In 2010 we did an acoustic tour of the UK, which I was able to shoe-horn in to WUCC 2010 and UK Nationals.
We’ve also had interstate tournaments where we booked gigs on the same nights. Having the HoS boys there means we guaranteed a crowd of about 20. Though, given how rowdy they usually get (especially if we’ve been knocked out), it feels like a lot more.
Having been able to meet and work with Elliot from the early stages of his adventure, I loved the uniqueness and determination of his vision. I felt really comfortable having him at our club (and in our house!) because of the open mind, understanding and acceptance he had of our club, which could be pretty tough for an “outsider” to pick up in such a quick period of time. When he asked to use our music, it was a no-brainer (especially given the big fat royalty cheques we’re sure to be seeing soon, haha!).
Featured Songs: (Here’s where we talk about music used in Episode 3)
Song Title: Should Have Told Me
Used in: Last practice before Nationals
Should Have Told Me feels almost like a classic song, even though it’s new. How did you instill such nostalgia in this piece? What were you going for artistically?
AM: Following our creative process really helped us carve this one in to a layered piece of music. Lawrence brought us quite a soft and slow acoustic song that we saw potential in to turn into something sonically deeper and bigger. The progression of the song back and forth between high and low energy keeps the acoustic roots of the song, which brings out that nostalgia, whilst also keeping the song engaging and good to move around to.
We wanted to create a series of musical layers that worked really subtly together and didn’t overpower the emotion of the song. We challenged the traditional idea of a few elements doing a lot and moved more towards a lot of elements doing a little. We have parts in there that might only be present for one or two bars. People might not pick them up consciously until the 5th or 6th time they hear it, but we do and we love it which is kind of cool.
The lyrics of this song are very relatable for anyone that’s been in a meaningful relationship. Just the chorus ‘should have told me’ rings true for the many communication breakdowns in our lives, but it takes a more somber tone than one of anger. What’s the story behind this particular piece?
LH: It is a relatable song, I think everyone’s had that sickly moment where they find out something they wish they hadn’t. It’s about that really. That shitty moment when you know you never want to talk to someone ever again, but at the same time it’s all you wanna do. Like you’re brain and your broken heart having a tug-of-war. The subtlety in this song, though, is that it was an expression of my own guilt, written from an outside perspective looking back on myself and reacting to my own guilt.
Song Title: Photos
Used in: After elimination at Nationals
Outside of the next song we’ll talk about, Photos has to be one of my favorite songs. It’s murky, it’s emotive, it’s dark rock. If you think about it, it’s kind of depressing, but I don’t realize I’m depressed…uhh…in a good way. I mean, somehow it ended up in the most uplifting part of the episode. It reminds me of Facebook-stalking someone that you aren’t confident about talking to, almost inserting yourself into their life in your imagination. Am I creeping you guys out yet? But seriously, how do you find that balance of darkness and light in Photos? What’s it about?
LH: The balance is actually interesting, it made a huge shift from the original demo to the way the band portrayed it. Much of it’s strength is down to Glenn and Tim. They came up with the rhythm shift from the original and shifted the tempo, which makes the chorus and main progression roll along with much more heat and energy. It really complimented the verse section drop to A minor and allows the vocal to go in a really unexpected direction. It made all the difference. Those two blokes really nailed it.
I remember Glenn (drummer) and Timmy (bassist) working through that bit while Andy and I sat in the corner watching. When we joined in to see how it worked, it fucking blew my head off. I originally wrote the song after I got home from a Black Keys concert; the concert pissed me off quite a bit and the song was originally supposed to be really sad. Nobody had been listening to the band, just a bunch of drugged-up pricks waiting to party to “Lonely Boy” before getting back to their conversations. I mean, why go? They’d all missed the point and that really annoyed me!
Why is this song so popular among the HoS boys and the world for that matter?
AM: This is one of the first songs we wrote as a band. When we started out, we tended to have a bit of a softer sound, not having fully realised the power of the full band yet. This was our first exception to that. This track was our first opportunity to hit the Overdrive on the amp and give the cymbals a real workout.
The HoS boys (who were the main attendees to our early gigs) loved the chance to get into it and get rowdy. I think the fact it has a bit of arrogance and swagger suits the HoS boys down to the ground. The fact that the words in the chorus are small and easy to remember helps the D-line sing along, too.
In addition to the credits, we used Rock’n’Rolla in the preview of this Episode. In my experience with the team it seems to be a surprisingly good fit for HoS, a taste of rowdiness but with an emotional seriousness behind it. HoS started out as a completely off-the-wall club, but over the years they’ve become at least more conscious and focused in their culture. This song seems to tell the story of a guy who very succinctly understand that craziness is what he’s all about. What’s the story behind this song? Do you find it fits particularly well with HoS?
AM: As we mentioned before, this was one of the first times we really explored the power we had as a four-piece and decided to show everyone some of the swagger we would so often walk around the rehearsal studio with. Again, it started off with Lawrence bringing the bare bones of quite a tame acoustic song, and turned into a full blown rock piece where we’ve got an opportunity to release all of that excited energy we take to the stage with. It’s half piss-take, half how we used to get when we were 6 pints down at the pub, telling any flog who would listen how great we were and how we were going to be the next big thing.
In the time since, similarly to HoS, we’ve grown over the years to understand the challenges that the world throws down at you and keep punching through them, having wins and losses along the way. Identically to HoS, we’ve never let go of that little bit of ego that tells us we’re never far off and we are happy to back ourselves in and have a crack at anyone, anytime, anywhere.
If this song became Australia’s unofficial national anthem, how would you feel?
AH: That would be pretty funny. It’s one of those songs we wrote so long ago now, it’s a huge Oasis ripoff so I think people who were into them can really appreciate it. Nothing too complicated about it, but it’s a really fun song and it’s got a great energy when we play it live.
Where can people get a hold of July Days music? What’s next for the band?
Bandcamp, Facebook, Spotify and iTunes worldwide. We’ll keep writing away at the new stuff. Andy will have a disco/electro album out, Glenn will be preparing for his “wiggles-ish” type kids record, and Timmy has a cover album coming out where he covers all the songs Michael Bublé has covered.