Sydney rockers Magnus have just released their brand new LP, a follow on from their impressive singles ‘Pandora’ and ‘Non-Activity-Negativity-Not-A-Tivity’ this new LP sees the crew expand on their already impressive depth of songwriting.
Self-described as “oddly timed stoner jazz rock with a dash of goth” the band never conform to traditional genres, which makes them an entity of their own.
With a desire to capture the energy of their raucous live performance, Magnus set out to approach the recording of their debut album in a raw and unique way. The band spent a week in seclusion jamming from dawn till dusk in a sheep sheering shed near the regional town of Cootamundra NSW, where they laid down their demos before collaborating on pre-production with ARIA award winning music recorder and producer Paul McKercher (Gyroscope, You Am I, The Living End).
The new 13 track album was recorded and mixed by good friend Wade Keighran (The Scare, Wolf & Cub) originally at Jon Prior’s (Known for the 80s band Matte Finish) before subsequently finishing it at Linear Recording in Leichhardt. After an initial streak of bad luck Magnus managed to record the full album in a mammoth 3.5 days instead of 6 originally planned.
To celebrate the release of this new album, the guys have kindly penned a track by track run down of the release which you can check out below. Give it a spin and if you like what you’re hearing be sure to catch the band on the road and follow their Facebook page.
A collaboration between our drummer who came up with the main riffs and myself, bringing levels of weird to an otherwise fairly straightforward rock song. Just when you think it goes off, it goes introvert. Then goes warble-y and psychedelic before it ends with a bang. A foot stomper all the way.
A little funky, with jazzy chords in the chorus & big rock drums throughout. This song started out as only a few jazzy chords which sounded like they should be a chorus. They sounded so sweet & lovely that I thought they
needed to be balanced with a nasty funky (I was listening to a bit of James Brown back then) rock riff. Doing our endless jamming to songs we channelled The Who and some manic fuzzy Pumpkins into the ending.
This song was pretty much in the bin before I, while walking home from work, came up with the bass line in my head. Humming it all the way home until I could figure out how to play it on the bass guitar.
Suddenly the song was all about the bass & drums instead of the guitar, which opened it up completely. It’s really dark, and although the end doesn’t have any lyrics, you can just imagine what happens listening to the music. Also we’ve outdone ourselves this song, coming up with an ending to an ending to an ending…
Probably the most surreal song on the album, “Pandora” starts very mysterious while the lyrics paint a slightly creepy picture of our society. Massive 180 degree changes guide you through the rest of the song, underlining how moody and banal our ways can be.
The lyrics speak about being fed up with how we have become virtual clones of each other, occupying a digital world with one dimensional opinions and a severe case of voyeurism, when all the joy, hurt and danger you need is just there on the other side of your door.
I guess everybody at some point in their life goes through a phase where the monsters hiding in the dark parts of our mind grab the reigns and take control of your life. How do you deal with that? How do you pull yourself out of self-pity, grow up and hang those monsters of the tree on the hill?
There’s a real haunting lonely feeling to the first half of this song. A little desperation even. Then it gets more aggressive, when trying to resolve the situation you’re in…
Some people don’t tick right. Having the unhealthy obsession to watch and vicariously live other people’s lives instead of simply living their own.
I had the music written and was struggling to find the lyrics to go with it. Being stuck in the same melody that I didn’t think was very special. So as a joke I started singing lyrics / melodies of songs I like over it. Then I grabbed a memory from a far away childhood and started singing a Mary Poppins’ tune over it …
Chim, chim, cher-oo…
This instrumental used to be the ending of Negativity. Actually, one of the many endings that song had. We like to shake things up every once in a while. It works so great here, totally changing the dynamics between two pretty intense songs.
We didn’t intend on recording this one. Together with Numb this is one of the oldest songs… We were noodling around in the studio, waiting for Wade to prepare the next session and as soon as he heard the riff he turned around and asked “what’s that!”.
I think we did only two takes of it, still not with the intention of it ending up on the album. Lyrically this one’s about escape. Which sort of happened in real life. I was looking for an escape from my day-job through online shopping…for a motorbike. Found this really cool, all black, bad ass mean looking beemer in Adelaide.
As a joke I emailed it to my girlfriend, saying I would buy it if she’d come and ride it back with me. I expected her to laugh, shrug and give me that look that says “no ff-ing way.” That didn’t happen. So this song kind of formed in my head when we were tailgating a truck all the way through the 90 Mile straight, no turn whatsoever Hay Plains to stay out of the cold wind.
It’s about everything and nothing. About someone who says something and then someone else who says something else. It’s about dead end beats and tip of tongues, so of course nothing makes sense. But that’s just a matter of opinion.
I had been playing the various parts of this song for as long as I can remember. Never even thought about putting them together until one day I forced myself to write a new song. We always like dramatic changes in a song and this one goes from a very tight verse into an almost chaotic open sounding chorus.
The ending for this song changed a few times as well (and hopefully will again in the future), so what got recorded on the album is a pretty good snapshot of the flavour of the moment.
I’m still wondering where the riff came from, but the lyrics are about a few specific moments during a trip around the world I did some years ago. At one point we were in a 4-wheel drive, going across the Bolivian high desert.
It was minus 20 degrees at night up there and it seemed there was no life whatsoever. Yet the driver suddenly stopped, got out and, before we knew it, was holding up an armadillo. That just really got me thinking how one can be so blind to their surroundings.
If you live in a place where everyone and everything screams for your attention these silent beauties can pass you buy so easily. And from there I started thinking how strange we travellers are. Wanting to be part of a different world, yet only being able to see things as an outsider, an observer.
20th April | Frankie’s Pizza | Sydney, NSW
23rd April | Lass O’Gowrie | Wickham, NSW
Saturday 7th May | Beetle Bar | Brisbane, QLD