The Chlorines deliver their debut album, Inhabitants, a concept album full of drugs, deception, mental illness and love. Ahead of the launch, JEFF STRONG gave their singer/songwriter Owen de Marchi a call. Owen was sitting out the back, watching the rain fall with his greyhound Jack feeling pretty good about getting this album out into the world after two long years of recording. The Chlorines play Hidden Treasures in Fremantle this Thursday, July 6 before launching Inhabitants officially this Friday, July 7 at The Bird with Pat Chow, Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care and Oosterbanger.
Inhabitants is a concept album. One which asks the listener to go on a journey through some pretty heavy stuff. To me it is a raw, challenging and emotional album. Tell us more about the concept behind the record…
The concept is looking at all the different, distinct sort of archetypes or parts of your personality and giving them their own voice… Sort of studying all these distinct people that could make up someone’s personality or make up someone’s person and studying each one and how they interact with each other to create the whole.
So, is it personal?
Yeah… I mean it is personal. I have taken time to understand all these different parts, desirable or undesirable, how they interact with each other – how they come to the forefront or don’t.
So who did what? Did it all come from yourself, as in the writing?
I started writing it in like, late 2012 maybe? Most of the writing had finished probably… 2015. I wrote the music and all the lyrics.
It sounds like to me you had a vision and wanted to deliver it as is. Did you change a few things around when it got to the band or was everything pretty much locked in?
That was pretty much the vibe… I had pretty much everything set in stone and mapped out before bringing it to the band. Not the whole album, here you guys go, but song by song. As I would finish the song I would bring it in. As it naturally does once you get all the different personalities involved, the style of playing changes a bit and takes on a life of its own. But, in terms of generally how the songs are, the vibe of them have remained pretty close to what I envisioned before bringing it to the band.
When I was listening to the record it reminded me of Perth band The Silents. It made perfect sense when I realised Michael Jelinek, who played for The Silents, was the engineer behind this. It sounds pretty spot on to me, big, lush and clear. Why did you choose Michael and what did he bring to the experience?
I think it was almost through default to start with because Tom (Freeman), who at the time was playing drums, who now plays bass, had done some recording with him and he worked with him like outside of that as well. And so he knew him and I got in contact and went from there. I think it was a happy accident really. We just went ahead with it and it worked out really well. He’s an incredible guy to work with and he has brought so much out of the songs. In the recording process, I was in there with him and like with guitars we spent a long time trying to get the right tones and everything. It was pretty collaborative in that process. But with mixing and stuff I sort of just said go ahead. I didn’t have many notes to begin with and then we just sort of work off what he’d done with the tracks. For the most part it pretty much all came back good to go. He really understood the project and did a great job.
I think you can hear that he just got it. The whole thing just sounds right to me. I also love the guitars on this record, especially the slide…
That’s Re Ne (Tucker). He’s amazing, hey? He’s a really quiet, shy guy. In terms of how the song writing and everything went, like I’ve never ever said to Re Ne I think you should play like that or play that. He just sort of will play very emotively and it will be kinda different every time he plays the song. It’s just sort of however he’s feeling he will just play like that and I think it works so well. The intent of that instrument is to give that extra texture and emotions to the songs. Some of the stuff he does I just listen back and go, “How does a guitar even make that sound?”
It took two years to finish. At any point did you think, “nup, we’re never gonna get it finished”?
(laughs) I think probably on a weekly basis. It’s like that kinda thing where… I find it so hard to switch off from that stuff. I think about just about all day, every day, you know? And so it’s that thing where you’re constantly running over it in your head. Your thinking “oh no it sucks” and you’re just gonna bar it and start something else.
What was the thing that pushed you through?
I believed in the concept and I really wanted to document it. I really wanted to have that document of the idea. Just to have that and be able to share it. And a bit of headstrongness. I was like “I can’t just stop, I gotta do it”.
Any other projects we should look out for?
Well Brayden (Edwards) just put out an EP of his stuff (Deep West). Sort of like alternative country. It’s amazing. He’s such an incredible songwriter. And Re Ne has the Physical Release band who are awesome. Tom, who plays bass, has a lovely little family unit thing going and he’s just cruisin’.