Blood Moon on the Highway
Mark Seymour update on his upcoming new album Mayday.
Author: Mark Seymour.
Date: 7 December 2014.
Hi there. The new album “Mayday” will be finished in a little over a week. Just wrote a set list for the Port Fairy Folk Festival in April with a wedge of new songs, so I’m assuming it’ll be out by then but don’t hold me to that.
Making “Mayday” has been pretty much it for 2014, writing, jamming, culling.. about 25 tunes. 13 made it, knocked up in rehearsal rooms all over Melbourne, Caulfield, Footscray, Richmond, Hallam.. bits of data on the iphone, hundreds of ‘unknown’ album files, tried out and repeated. Noodling in the shed. The band seems to thrive on moving around. A bit like touring really Playing in different rooms shifts the feeling. Acoustics effect mood. It never ceases to amaze me how a VOX AC30 will never sound the same from one stage to the next. You mark the knobs, perfect for Townsville, awful in Karratha and plenty of road testing in between. Crowd noise has its benefits; total sensory emersion. Songs have to stand up. I’ve always found complete silence unnerving. “Deafening respect” I call it. Good for worship, not for rock music and un-hip as it may well be, that’s the kind of music we play.
In a moment of clarity, I ranted at McKenzie. I do that quite a bit, down the microphone with the cans still on, especially when he’s telling me how to sing.
“Mate! A song’s got to get you from A to B. You’ve got to believe in it from the first line and still be there at the end, not at the bar, or in the toilet, or booking a meal.”
“Nice one,” he says. “Now can you give me another run at it, but this time try singing it in tune?”
I’ve always associated work with travel. I grew up travelling. Roads feature heavily on this recording.. and home. Going there, looking for it, leaving it. The songwriting was squeezed in between everything else. The rest stops helped. Hot coffee first thing in the morning, mindless reading of anything, google maps, food labels. You never know when an idea will erupt, scoping political hypocrisy on line, the hum of wheels on the road, relentless sledging, thinking of home and dreaming like a romantic idiot.
We follow the calendar. Some promoter has a brain storm, hangs out a sign. We turn up hoping it’ll still be there in six months. There’s been plenty of North Queensland action for some reason. We found a place called the “Dalrymple Hotel.” McKenzie took a night shot deep in the thriving heart of Garbutt. The rooms have windows, facing in. I’m good with that. Keep it simple. A wise man once said to me, I think it was 2001, “Oh, you won’t be playing in pubs in ten years”. I don’t know where he got ‘ten years’ from. And now, come to think of it, I don’t really know why he bothered saying it. No one had died. I don’t mind where I play. I never did and I’ve never made any secret of it. All that matter is that YOU turn up. Otherwise there’s no point. Songs are meant to played to real people, standing in a room, or sitting, if they’re corns are hurting. 2014 is closing. Got a New Years Eve show in Cairns. Try driving. You learn more that way!