Since 2013 Melbourne indie rockers Big League have steadily grown their reputation with a number of quality releases and head turning live shows.

Excellent songwriting has seen the band earn PBS and Triple R radio play while the video for ‘Sickly Peach‘ was featured on Rage.

Today will see the release of the debut album, ‘I Thought Thunderbolt‘ via Off The Hip Records.

I Thought Thunderbolt‘ was recorded and mixed by Joshua Whitehead at Crosstown Soundstudio and mastered by Mikey Young.

You can purchase the album on Bandcamp [Here].

An album launch is locked in at Woody’s Bar in Melbourne this Saturday 23rd September.

To find out all about the album, the band answered our On The Record questions this week. Listen to the album below while reading all about it.

LISTEN WHILE YOU READ

ON THE RECORD INTERVIEW
Tell us about the release title.
We were stumped. I usually try to keep an ear out for funny/silly/catchy lines or slogans when I’m coming up with lyrics, so I was waiting for the album title to jump out at me from somewhere. Marie and I caught Teenage Fanclub earlier this year. They buggered the start of one of their songs, so they stopped and had another crack at it. Before they started playing again, Norman Blake, in his Scottish accent said something that to me, after a whole bunch of beers sounded like “I thought thunderbolt”. It doesn’t mean anything, I just think it sounds catchy, and it’s nice to say.

Tell us about the artwork.
All our artwork is done by our very talented friend Pete Buckland (Pastel Pete). It’s entirely his idea, he never settles on his first, and his final product is always awesome.

What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It will be released on CD, standard jewel case.

Who will it be released through, and when?
It will be released through Off The Hip Records on September 20th.

Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded at Crosstown Soundstudio in Preston. The owner, Josh Whitehead, did the recording and mixing. We were there recording ‘Maybe She’s Bored With It’ for a single release mid 2016, and felt it was the best thing we’d recorded up ‘til that point, so we did it again!

Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
The owner of Crosstown, Josh Whitehead, did the recording/mixing. His musical tastes are similar to my own, I think our ability to communicate what we wanted through music we both like allowed us to get the album sound right. Mikey Young (Eddy Current/Total Control) did the mastering, the band are big fans of his music as well as other stuff he’s worked on. We were stoked to get him on board.

Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Not really, the band has its sound, and my writing is locked into it, I found because of that I could write quite freely with the knowledge that what I came up with would lock in nicely.

Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
The songs are both old and new (Maybe She’s Bored With It is one of our first songs), and for the last 7 or 8 years I’ve been listening to a lot more 80’s and 90’s indie rock and post punk. I missed most of it when it was new so I’ve been playing catch up, hard. R.E.M., The Fall, The Clean, Archers Of Loaf, Pavement, GBV, Teenage Fanclub, they’re all in there I’m sure.

Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
I think the best indie rock albums keep all the grit/noise/mistakes in, and early on I trusted that Josh and I were on the same wavelength as to how the album should sound, so I let him mix it to his taste, and we didn’t have many notes for him. He started with Best In Show as it’s his favorite song, he reckons it took him a couple of days to get what he wanted. Once we’d both listened to it and were happy, the rest of the album was mixed to the same style.

How long did you spend in the studio recording?
One weekend! On the first day we played through the album a few times and recorded it live. The next morning Marie and I did vocals and Danny and I laid extra guitar parts over some tracks.

WATCH

Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
The songs were all well practiced so we could record in live takes, allowing just 3 takes for each song. I wanted to catch the energy of the first few takes before we played them to death. The instrumental intro ‘I Thought Thunderbolt’ was knocked up over a few hours during the Christmas break, messing about with samples and stuff before we went in the studio, and the final solo track ‘The Golden Age Of Entitlement’ was a demo I wrote and recorded on garageband one afternoon, and we decided to just leave it as it is.

Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
The first time we recorded we tracked the instruments individually with a click track. Thunderbolt was the second time we’ve done live takes and it’s getting much closer to what I hear in my head.

Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
No

When it comes do naming the tracks, is there any particular approach or process to it all?
Not really, sometimes it’s describing the song theme, sometimes it’s just the chorus, sometimes it’s something silly that I think’s clever. And sometimes a friend drops gold in conversation that I steal and then have to credit them for, which was the case with Premature Enthusiasm, thanks to Pete.

Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
I used a Micro Korg and a drum machine to make the intro, there’s some Micro Korg on ‘Amcor Asphalt Plant Disaster’ too. Other than that the songs were played just the same as they are live.

Any memorable studio moments?
We smashed all the band takes out in the first day, so we had heaps of spare time to experiment on the second day. ‘Feel Good Peace’ never had Marie’s vocals until that day, we made them up on the spot and those chorus harmonies have made the song! The guitar lead at the end of ‘Local Hero’ was always shorter, the extra part was written that morning. There was a lot of drinking and a lot of laughs, we didn’t get hung up on any of the parts being perfect, it can become such a task when you have to do the same thing over and over.

Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
No, but there is unrecorded material that wasn’t right for this album, so it could be on the next one.

What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
‘Premature Enthusiasm’, we’ve only played it a couple of times but it’s a tricky one, I think it’ll take a few more runs at it before I’m really comfortable. ‘Defender Luxe’ is one we’re gonna play for the first time at the launch, and it’s one of my favourites on the album.

How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
The live takes have managed to capture the energy of the songs, I don’t think we achieved that on the earlier recordings as much. I’m proud of all the work we’ve done, but you can definitely hear an improvement, I guess that’s why you experiment.

Anything else you want to say or about the release?
It’s good, you should buy it.

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