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Dardanelles - International Waters

Author: Angus Thompson
Friday, 19 October 2007
3D’s Angus Thompson last encountered Dardanelles in March this year, chatting casually over a few beers with guitarist Alex Cameron and front man Josh Quinn-Watson in the hazy pokie room of the Annandale before sound check. This time his encounter was far more limited, in the form of a one-to-one phoner with Josh. Angus finds out why.

Since that low-key show, time has become a luxury for Dardanelles. The Melbournian foursome are finding that they are spending more of their time shacked into a budget Kings Cross hostel or exchanging body odours for long hours in the cramped quarters of a mini van.

“We kind of feel more and more like a boy band every day. These worksheets telling you what you’re doing in the next, you know, month.”

In the short period of time since its release, Dardanelles debut album, Mirror Mirror, has already been dubbed one of the most ambitious records of the year, with singles like Alone is Not tugging post punk into an almost gothic niche. However, despite its seemingly well thought out visceral flow, the album was the product of just a month of studio-cramming.

“I think some of our older songs were certainly a bit over-thought. There’s a bit more spontaneity to the album, certainly more than to the EP. I think it was good for us to put our anal tendencies to bed for five weeks and for the album to just emerge like it did because...we actually ended up doing a lot more with the songs than we would’ve done if we had taken longer. Despite having less time, the songs are actually more finely crafted.”

The defining characteristic of the pensive shoe-gazers has been their determination to defeat the nexus between themselves and the stranglehold of classification, a goal which Mirror Mirror has prompted the band one step closer to achieving.

“We’ve always pushed the fact that we were against genre and wanted to combine different sort of types of music into something that made sense. It’s difficult to do that and for it not to just sound like just an experiment. It’s difficult to say that you’re going to combine all these different types and also sound like yourself.”

Surrounding the album’s release, Dardanelles have been grid locked into a frenzied national tour schedule, a daunting and physically exhausting experience for many young bands, especially those, like Dardanelles, that formed less than two years before. But the more powerful blend of fear and excitement that stirs in Josh’s voice comes from talk of the band’s impending tour of England, and their appearance at London’s In The City festival.

“Honestly, it’s probably the single most exciting thing that we ever had to think about as a band.

“I think just looking at other bands that have done well in the last year, it’s usually been bands that have taken the risk and gone to France or gone to England or gone to America and it paid off over there but it’s also paid off over here, you know.”

Characteristically shying away from grandiose predictions of fame, Josh modestly rescinds. “But I’ve still got to pay for a few of the flights,” he chuckles. “Not exactly business class travel yet. I’m sure we’ll probably be sleeping in the van for most of the trip.”

WHO: Dardanelles
WHAT: Mirror Mirror out through Mosquitos Tweeter / Play Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle/ Spectrum in Sydney/ Trackside Festival in Canberra
WHEN: out now / Thursday 25 / Saturday 27 October / Saturday 17 November