Something for Kate is back for their first national tour in 5 years to promote their new album, ‘Leave Your Soul To Science’. It’s been six years since SFK produced their last album and fans have been eagerly anticipating the release of a new one.
It was back in 1996 that Murmur Records signed the three-piece band. Paul, Steph and Clint toured endlessly throughout Australia as well as internationally. They’ve toured with a multitude of international artists, ranging from David Bowie to Death Cab for Cutie.
They’ve received a variety of accolades, including 13 ARIA nominations, 4 Top 10 albums, taken out numerous award’s for Best Live Band, Best Album, Best Single from Rolling Stone Magazine, Triple J, The Age Newspaper and the Australian Music Industry Critics Awards just to name a few.
They have certainly left their fans wanting more and are hoping to meet those expectations with their newest album. GCMag caught up with Steph to see what they had been up to and to get a better insight into what we can expect from the new album.
One word of advice, get yourself some decent speakers! Listening to this record on a laptop won’t do it any justice, and the Bass player will be a little bit miffed!
The first question I have to ask, the name of the new album, ‘Leave your soul to science’, it’s got an eerily sterile yet emotional feel to it, was this what you were aiming for?
Well, I hadn’t thought of the word sterile but I think what we were really aiming for with that was we were being a bit cheeky! There’s a lot of talk about people leaving parts of their bodies to science for the furthering of medicine and mankind in general, but there’s also a lot of talk about the soul and things being soulless. Everyone feels that they have a soul and what we’re saying is if you have one let’s see it. Let’s dissect it.
This is your 6th album in 14 years and after listening to it I can tell that you’ve evolved into a new sound that is vastly different from previous albums. What prompted this desire to experiment? I think just sanity and life. A lot of people talk about the first album and they desperately want everything to sound like the first album and I think that you can’t replicate your early work and you don’t want to. It’s natural evolution that you change and everyone changes. The book you write as an author at 20 would be very different from the book you write at 30. It’s just an extension of the idea that people change and they want to explore new things. You don’t want to get stagnant and sit on the same sea all the time. A natural evolution I think. There’s such an immense array of emotions that are touched on throughout the album,
Were you aiming for such a broad spectrum when you began working on it?
Absolutely. I think that you just live one day of your life and you think of how many things you go through in that day, this record was written over a period of two years. A lot of it was written while we were living in New York. During that period a lot of things were happening in America at that time with relation to the recession, the social fallout from that and politically a lot of things are happening. You go through a lot emotionally through that time so there are definitely songs about all sorts of different things on that record.
Paul has described the album as organized chaos. Is it chaotic because of all the different themes within the album? Paul doesn’t like to pin down lyrics to meaning one exact thing because he has his meaning and he doesn’t like to enforce those upon the listener so we’re always hesitant to say what things are exactly about.
You spent a lot of time in New York now and spent the majority of the past 2 years working on the album, what did you enjoy the most about your time over there? We’ve been spending a lot of time in New York for the last decade to the point that we just decided to move there. It’s just everything. It’s just a place where we feel at home. Culturally, socially, politically, politically it’s still very dicey, but I think when you’re a musician living in New York is a really great thing.
What has been your main source of inspiration for the new album?
Probably everything I was just talking about. Living in another country, experiencing a lot of different things. There’s a lot of talk about the social fallout from political things that have happened, the Wall Street stuff had a big impact on everybody and Paul was really interested in exploring that from the perspective of how it affected people’s relationships. The idea that if you’ve got a lot of money then your relationships surely must be fantastic, but actually there’s a character in one of the songs who is a hedge fund kid genius who lost everything in the recession and who has just realized he can’t pick up women with the line that he’s this successful hedge fund guy because it’s really unfashionable to be in finance.
The track ‘Back to Normal’ resonated with me, it was so base and so carnal and conveyed emotion that so many people would be able to relate to. When you put the album together were you hoping that your fans would be able to relate to the music at a raw emotional level?
Absolutely, I think that lyrically there are some really potent images in that song in particular that they stick with me and I hope that they stick with other people. I think of that song and I think of this crazy woman with a gun in her bathrobe and there’s just all these domestic scenes, they’re almost like something from a violent movie but they’re most about domestic terror and the emotional or mental violence that goes on in relationships and behind the doors of households, you’ll never see into. I think we tried to use the music to sort of push those buttons and to create as much of a raw connection with the music and the lyrics together.
Your fans have sorely missed you and that’s evident in the speed with which your shows are being sold out, what are you most looking forward to during the upcoming tour?
I like the idea of people knowing the new songs before we play them so it’s kind of weird when we’re going on tour a week after our record comes out. I’m not such a big fan of that, I would have preferred to have waited so people could hear the record and live with the record and then go on tour so that people have a connection with the songs and then they hear them live. I think that hopefully people will have an even fresher relationship with the record. I’m looking forward to playing those songs live and seeing how people will respond to those.
Well, welcome back, we’ve missed you and can’t wait to see how the music industry and your fans react to the new album, it sounds divine! I’m so glad you liked it. Our records take a few listens, I think people listen to a song one or two times and kind of go ‘huh?’ and particularly with us we’re not really a one listen kind of band.
It’s a blessing and a curse for us. Our songs require that kind of attention span where they reveal something more profound to you the more you listen and the more you put the images together with the subtext of the lyrics with the music and I think that’s something that doesn’t happen with the first listen, or very rarely.
You always hope that people will give them some time and live with them a little bit and allow them to sink in and then the reward of it comes. That’s how I approach a lot of records I know that the first listen is not going to pay off for me, and I kind of don’t want it to because I feel as though there has to be a lot of work involved. Perhaps I’m just a product of my generation, living with records for a long time and buying actual CD’s.
That actually opens up an interesting topic; do you feel that social media, YouTube and iTunes have cheapened the way people listen to music?
It’s hard to say because the relationship with music is such a subjective one. I will say from the musician’s perspective that it saddens me that people listen to music on their laptop.
I think it’s an oral medium. We go through a lot of trouble to make it sound great and knowing that people are listening to streams on their laptops drives me insane! I play the Bass! My whole life is about the bottom end and it’s just not there when you’re playing it on that medium. In that sense it’s incredibly frustrating because you used to get a CD, go home and put it on your stereo and you’d have these great speakers and you’d sit down and read the booklet and the minor notes everything and now it’s a record, it’s on iTunes, you can listen to it at work while you’re typing something. It’s like never mind about that mastering mission where it’s all about frequencies and getting everything perfect. Little bit of a bummer.