Newcastle-based Rachel Maria Cox has today released their debut LP ‘Untidy Lines‘, the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign at the start of the year and cementing their place as an up-and-coming voice in Australian music.

The record was preceded by the single ‘Emotionally Untidy‘, which earned them critical praise for their lyricism. They’ve also built a name for themselves as an energetic live act, supporting Ruby Fields earlier this year and having just been announced as a touring headline band for Sad Grrrls Fest 2017.

The record, which Cox says; “is about being better than you used to be and embracing the imperfections that come with that,” explores a much wider sonic palette than their 2016 EP, ‘I Just Have A Lot Of Feelings‘, while staying true to the guitar-driven music and lyric-focused songs.

Constellation‘ brings post-rock guitars to a pop ballad, ‘Stronger Lines‘ would not be out of place on an indie-pop album, and ‘No Chill‘ (featuring Sydney’s Jackie Brown Jr.) is a brash and energetic rock & roll banger, complete with a rap verse from DOBBY.

The record will be launched at ‘Babes Take The Warehouse‘ in Newcastle at The Cambridge on August 27th; alongside dates in Wollongong, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne across the latter half of the year.

This week Rachel answered our On The Record questions to tell us all about their new release, which you can hit play on below and listen to while you read about it.

If you like what you hear, purchase a copy [Here].

LISTEN WHILE YOU READ

ON THE RECORD INTERVIEW
Tell us about the release title.
The record is called Untidy Lines so it’s a mixture of two of the tracks – Emotionally Untidy and Stronger Lines. I felt like the record almost worked in those two halves – the first half is about everything being messy and imperfect and the second half is about everything constantly improving. Given the whole record is about imperfect improvement it made sense to call it Untidy Lines. Now that I answer this question, imperfect improvement would have been a really good alternate title but I didn’t think of it until just now.

Tell us about the artwork.
I did a photoshoot with Cath Connell a while ago, they wanted to do some more fashion-based photography and I needed some new press shots, and I loved what we came up with, so Cath added the lines over the top. The photo of me looking over the back fence of my friend Courtney’s place stood out because of the composition and the lines just tied in well with the title of the work. I like the fact you can’t see what I’m looking at, I think that bit of ambiguity works well with the songs on the record.

What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
There are 150 12” vinyl copies, they’re all black, some of them are pre-orders and the rest will just be for sale at shows & in a few indie record stores. They’re recycled and printed on recycled cardboard so I didn’t get different colours because the environment is more important than things looking pretty (which is saying a lot, I really like pretty things). It’ll also be digital everywhere.

Who will it be released through, and when?
Sad Grrrls Club, which is a misleading name because it’s just me who does all the label stuff for SGC. It’s out on August 1st.

Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
Woodriver Studios was still being built when I chose to record there. A few friends of mine were building it and I wanted to work with them so I went and checked it out when the first band to record in there were tracking but at that point I was already committed.

Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
Joe Andersons is a friend of ours and I knew I wanted to record with someone who we were all really comfortable with. He’d just recorded this really cool pop-rock record for the band Jacob and I knew he’d have the studio built when we were going to record so I just went with it. Also, I was kinda hoping his dog would be there for at least some of the recording process (he was).

Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
I had a few of the songs before any sort of direction was set but pretty early on I knew the theme of the record and started to write more with that in mind. I wanted to write something that grew out of the vulnerability of the 2016 EP I Just Have A Lot Of Feelings, I wanted to write about my own recovery journey and I wanted to write about my life being flawed because it’s how I embrace those aspects of my life. The Writing process was interesting, these songs run the whole range from being 3 years old to being demoed a week before we went into record them. So the more recent ones have more direction, I think they’re clearer, the older ones are a bit more raw, they were more organic in the songwriting. So I suppose the answer to that is both yes and no.

Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
I listened to a heap of pop music. The DNCE album from last year, The 1975’s I like it when you sleep…, Zara Larsson’s So Good, Carly Rae Jepsen Emotion & Side B, just a lot of top 40 as well. Along with that I was listening to a heap of local stuff, so lots of Camp Cope, Courtney Barnett, Alex Lahey, H A N N A H B A N D, I think those influences come through a lot. I was aiming for a balance of the pop and the rock stuff and I think that’s sort of where this record landed.

Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Honestly, not really. I think Joe asked me and I couldn’t think of anything in time.

How long did you spend in the studio recording?
Because of everyone’s schedules, Edgy the drummer did all his parts on a full day, Will did their bass parts the next full day, Guitars maybe went over four half days, vocals & keys took a day and a half maybe? It was such a rush and such a blur, we weren’t really in the studio at the same time ever. But probably all up it took 7 days.

WATCH

Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
Its not a process I’d recommend at all. We were under-rehearsed and we went in one at a time and did our own thing and then I sat down with Joe and tried to pull it all together. Joe was the real MVP in all this, he did some kind of wizardry and made us sound like we had it together.

Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
The Last record I did, we sat down in a rehearsal room and did everything together in a day. So almost the complete opposite of that process. The only similarity was probably that we had practically no rehearsal going into it, and it was all a bit DIY and a bit haphazard but we somehow made it work.

Any guests involved? if so, who, and what did they do?
For the track No Chill, I got in two members of the Sydney band Jackie Brown Jr to do guest vocals and sax. Maddy is the singer and saxophonist of that band and she does the second vocal plus just goes to down on that sax riff, and Rhyan is the drummer and rapper in JBJ and raps under the name Dobby as well, so he’s doing the third verse of that song. I was so stoked to work with them – I approached them about doing a track together and then wrote this especially for them and they absolutely smashed it out of the park. It’s probably my favourite song on the record.

When it comes do naming the tracks, is there any particular approach or process to it all?
Not really. I think the titles are pretty straightforward. Some of them are in jokes or references, most of them are just a vague summary of the song’s content. The only notable title is probably Misery Kink, which was originally going to be called ‘Slut For Pain’ but someone said to me “…. You can’t actually call a song that” so Misery Kink was just like a PG version of the hook of that song.

Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
I don’t actually play keys live for our set, so we added some of my Kork synth and also some of Joe’s Rhodes Electric Organ which was absolutely amazing to play. I just improvised a lot of those parts in the studio because it’s not something we had in band practice, but I can’t resist the urge to play keys given the opportunity.

Any memorable studio moments?
Sam the dog coming to hang out was always the best. Also, when Maddy and Rhyan came to record, Rhyan had almost no time at all but he just rocked up, smashed out two perfect takes and like, blew everyone away, and Maddy did pretty much the same thing. It was probably the best day I had in the studio, Joe and I were just floored by their talent.

Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Nope, but I’ve definitely started writing new stuff already.

What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
We’ve been playing them live for a while now, with the exception of Constellation and No Chill, so I’m really keen to hear how those sound live.

How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
More energy, probably a bit more hopeful, still imperfect but a little bit better at it this time around.

Anything else you want to say or about the release?
Thank you again to everyone who helped crowdfund it. I couldn’t have done this otherwise.

TOUR DATES

RACHEL MARIA COX
AUGUST
27th – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle [18+]
SEPTEMBER
23rd – RAD, Wollongong [18+] * (Solo)
OCTOBER
28th – The Phoenix, Canberra [18+]
NOVEMBER
4th – Sad Grrrls Fest, The Brightside, Brisbane [18+] * Solo
11th – Sad Grrrls Fest, The Reverence Hotel, Footscray [18+]
18th – Sad Grrrls Fest, The Red Rattler, Sydney [AA]
—> Tickets available now.
—> For more information, visit [Here].

TOUR POSTER
Sad Grrrls Fest 2017
WATCH
PHOTO CREDIT

Rachel Maria Cox photo by Cath Connell.

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