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Iron-On Transfer To Sydney (For The Weekend)

Author: Daniel Crichton-Rouse
Friday, 16 November 2007
Indie rock quartet Iron On hail from this writer’s hometown of Brisbane, where they’re practically rock royalty. Releasing their debut LP Oh The Romance in 2005, last year saw the four-piece hit Canada, where they were coincidently nominated for best international act at the Canadian indie music awards. 3D’s Daniel Crichton-Rouse caught up with frontman Ross Hope to talk about their new EP and upcoming sydney shows.

So your new EP The Verse is out. Will any of the tracks be featured on your upcoming album-
Not sure yet – probably Can’t Concentrate, which is this acoustic-y track. We actually recorded it pretty quickly for this EP, just to give the EP some variety in sound. We’ve done quite a big band version that’s still very different to what we usually do, but sort of more…big delay sounds and ambient stuff, so that will probably be a completely different version of the song on the album.

We’ve been writing for a year and a half and we’ve written…well, half to three quarters of an album, but we wanted to put something out because we’d been a way for a while, and didn’t quite have enough songs for an album yet and didn’t have enough money either!

Are you and Kate Cooper the main songwriters-

Yeah, I guess so. We play at home on the acoustic guitar and take ideas into the band, play two or three songs, alternating, depending on who’s turn it is [laughs] – we’re very democratic – and the band chooses which one they want to do and they pull it apart and put bits in and arrange it and give it the Iron On treatment… We all kind of write the songs together.

You and Kate both have solo side-projects – were any of the songs you wrote for yourselves brought in for Iron On sessions-
It’s funny because we did a whole bunch of demos with Magoo… I don’t think we really want to do an album that sounds like Oh The Romance [Iron On’s 2005 debut LP]. In terms of variety, it’s rock from start to finish and it doesn’t really sway to far from that. I think we wanted to make something that was a little diverse [this time].

Two songs on this EP, Snow and Can’t Concentrate, were basically solo songs of mine and Kate that we brought in on a laptop and sat around talked about it that way, rather than approaching it from the band room and trying to make it as loud as possible. It was the intentional thing to try something different. Kate’s got her An Horse project – Damon from Intercooler/Mary Trembles drums with her when she plays. I haven’t played a solo show this year! I don’t know if that’s a sign or not… We’ll definitely be trying different stuff with the band – we don’t just listen to rock music, we listen to a whole bunch of stuff.

Why did you work with Magoo again-
We were pretty happy with the way the album sounded and Magoo did all the demos with us, so it just made sense. He’s got an alternative studio now called Applewood, which is this old renovated church where he lives, and we did basically the acoustic sounding tracks out there and we wanted to mix it up and have a bit of an experience as well, not just do it in Brisbane City at Blackbox [Magoo’s main studios].

So you’re playing Sydney this weekend. When were you here last-
I think the last time we played there was at the Hopetoun…we’ve done a few shows at the Hopetoun and it was probably the tour for Oh The Romance and it was probably last year sometime…it wasn’t this year, that’s for sure!

…and you’re playing with grunge punks Violent Soho. They’re rad.
We’re friends with those guys and we’ve wanted to play shows with them and we’ve been talking about it for a while and the opportunity just came up. It’ll be cool to be on the road again.

You’re household names in Brisbane but are you all that known away from home-
I don’t think so! I really don’t. I think we’re starting to realise that, and being away from the live scene for a bit… I mean Triple J’s picked up One Man Band and there are some people there that really like it. I think some people aren’t really sure what to make of us, and I think some people are thinking we’re trying to be some cool ’90s band –I don’t know. I think when people see us live…if it didn’t make sense to them already, it will make a lot more sense.

So that’s what you want to achieve with this next record-
Yeah. Everyone in Brisbane knows us, but in terms of inter-state…we’ve never even gotten over to Perth, which we’d really like to do, so we’re really trying to get our name out to other states, starting with this EP and building, and to keep touring until the release of the album and to keep going with that.”

You toured with Tegan and Sara last time. Couldn’t you hook back up with them for their December shows-
Haha. That’s a very good question. We’re still not sure what’s happening there. We love to play with them and we’d love to play with them anytime, and I understand that booking agents don’t like to get the same bands to support bigger bands, but we haven’t heard back yes or no. We’re still not even sure if we’re doing our own shows yet! But it would be great – they’re lovely people and they make great music.

You’ve left Plus 1 Records and are now completely independent. It’s a romantic ideal, but it must be a hard slog, no-
Ha. It is! It has its pluses and its minuses – the positive is that Ian [Rogers], Kate, myself and Marieca [Page] are a record label [Ruth Street] and we get to make all the decisions, but that means we also do have to make all the decisions! It’s funny, I have two part-time jobs, and the band, but the silent fourth job literally is sitting in front of the computer when I’m not at work sending emails and Ian does a shit load of work – he’s the designer of our posters and EPs, artwork… It’s certainly not glamorous, but it’s good!

WHO: Iron On
WHAT: Play MUM at World Bar
WHEN: Friday 30 November