Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
The year is 2018, and pop-punk is officially cool again (my condolances to anyone that didn’t realise it went out of fashion for a good half-decade there). And the latest band to break out with a ripping set of high school anthems is Melbourne’s own Between You & Me.
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Their debut album is the insanely energetic Everything Is Temporary—ten slices of teenage angst and early-twenties relationship drama wrapped up in galloping drums and guitars that outright demand your best punk jumps. And though its comparisons to the pop-punk greats of the early Aughts are well deserved, Between You & Me dole their record a unique—and uniquely spicy—flavour.
If you’re reading this piece on the day it goes live (Friday, July 13th 2018), you’ll be stoked to know that Everything Is Temporary officially hits shelves today! To celebrate all of its angsty and upbeat glory, we (belted along to every word of the album into a hairbrush, then) caught up for a short chat with frontman Jake Wilson, who was more than stoked to help us pick apart and analyse/froth over his masterpiece.
How does it feel to have written the best pop-punk album since the invention of pop-punk itself?
That’s very kind of you, I’m semi-erect right now [laughs]. Yeah, we’re super stoked about the album, man! It all came together super organically. I’ve been listening to the CD in the car and it’s just fucking awesome, like, I still don’t get sick of listening to it.
I like that the album has such a painfully emo title—it reminds me I’m still able to get feels over trivial shit like CDs, so thank you. What’s the significance of Everything Is Temporary for you?
It’s just like… Everyone has shit days, and everyone has wicked days. I’m having an in-between day right now. I guess when you’re having one of those shit days and you think about the title, it kind of works as though we’re saying, “Don’t get too down, because everything passes—everything is temporary. You might be having a shit week, or something shit may have happened to you, but it will pass.” And that includes the opposite as well. If you’re super high on life, it’s a reminder to not get too caught up in it, or to enjoy it while you can. Because y’know, we don’t have a lot of time here on Earth, so you might as well enjoy it while you can because you never know when it’s going to be up.
And that carries over to the theme of the record itself, right?
Yeah. With the last song, the title track, you really get the vibe of, like, “Let’s make life happen before we cark it!” But there’s also a lot of negative subjects on the record—well, not negative, but I wouldn’t say they’re positive subjects. And that fits more into the sadder part of the meaning of Everything Is Temporary. It’s me looking at some of the events that have happened in my life and going, “Hey, don’t get too down, shit will pass.”
So what’s the modus operandi for this record? What do you hope people get out of it when they pop this beast in their little CD players?
I just want people to vibe with it. Even if they just have one or two songs that they vibe on, but they really connect with those songs. I want people to froth our music because it’s real, y’know? It’s just like, “Cut the shit, here’s what it is. If you’re going to like it, you’re going to know you like it straight away.” I mean, I love it, but I also made the album, so… For the band, we hope it sends us to new countries and new cities and all that stuff, and lets us play to anyone that wants to hear us play. We just want it to take us wherever it does, and we hope that people love it as much as we do.
So this is your first full-length album. Did the process of making an LP fit what you thought the process of making an album would be like?
Yeah! I think we went into the recording process with less songs than you would normally go into one with. Normally, I think you’d go in with at least five back-up songs in case some of the main ones didn’t work out. But we pretty much went in there with twelve songs, and there were a couple that didn’t really fit the record in the end—along with timing constraints and stuff like that too. The last track we recorded was the title track, and we still had one more song to record after that but we were like, “Dude, this feels like the perfect ending. Why should we try and push for another song when this feels like we’ve done it?”
To have the finished copy in my hands and being able to just sit here, drooling over it… It feels amazing.
– Jake Wilson
Was that by necessity of like having to work around schedules, or did you want to go in with less songs than most bands do so that you were able to fully focus on the ones that you had?
We had full confidence in the songs that we did have, and the two that didn’t make it were both songs that we’d written later on in the process. We thought what we did have was pretty solid, but again, none of us had recorded an album before so we didn’t really know what to expect. Like, we were fairly prepared, but we didn’t know what we should’ve had going in. So now we know that for next time, we should be like, “Hey, let’s just chuck 18 songs in the mix.” But man, time constraints! My God! It was gruelling. I’ve never sung that many songs that many times in a row. I was doing three, four takes of the same vocal line in every chorus, and Stevie [Knight, producer] at Electric Sun was getting me to do these high harmonies… I was just like, “Man, I am cooked!”
I guess you’d kind of want it to be a bit like that, though, because if it was an easy process, you’d look at the album and go, “Yeah, this is chill.” But if it’s torturous, you look at it and go, “Holy shit, we got such a sick product out of a shit time!”
Yeah. I’m literally looking at the vinyl right now and I’m thinking, “Fuck!” It’s so cool. It’s so cool that we were able to complete it. And we all wanted to like record an album—it’s always been on the bucket list, so to have the finished copy in my hands and being able to just sit here, drooling over it… It feels amazing.
What was going through your mind the first time you saw a physical copy of this record?
I was like, “Holy shit, it’s legit now!” Because yeah, we had the artwork on our Facebook folders and stuff that we send to each other, and we know the songs are all there, but to actually have everything in my hands and to be able to play it all the way through and experience it like everyone else is going to be experiencing it… It’s kind of surreal.
Obviously, the big goal in chucking out your first album is to get as many new listeners onboard as you can. Hypothetically, say someone’s just heard Dakota on the radio, they go, “Yeah, this shit’s fire, I might swing ‘em a Google.” They look the band up and come across this interview—what should they know about Between You & Me? Why should they give a shit?
Because we’re fucking top blokes, we tell good jokes, play some fun songs… We just have a good time onstage, and I think we’re pretty relatable with the content of our songs. There’s a lot of shredding, too—the musicality on this album is insane, so if you’re not a vocal nerd like myself but you’re a guitar geek, I’m sure you’ll love the shredding. I just think we’ve created a wicked album, and I think it’s worth listening to. And with the artwork too, it doesn’t look like a pop-punk album cover. It looks like something I’d walk into JB HiFi, or like, Sanity, or whatever CD place there is these days, and I’d look at it on the shelf and go, “Fuck, that’s pretty sick! I don’t know what genre it is, but I’m intrigued by looking at this album cover.”
How would you describe Everything Is Temporary in three words?
Very. Fucking. Awesome. I did finish high school, I know some words [laughs].
Going into emo night, you know that you’ve got so many fellow emos there, and you can all just get drunk and listen to some emo tunes and have a good time.
– Jake Wilson
I have to say, if there’s one band that has mastered the art of the punk jump, it’s Between You & Me. How much practise did it take to get that prodigious skill under your belt?
James [Karagiozis] has played in bands for years, and he plays bass, so he’s obviously had a lot of time to “perfect the craft” [laughs]. I played basketball for all of my high school life, and I got pretty close to dunking, believe it or not—I used to be able to grab the ring. So it’s like, if I use that height to jump, and spread my legs a bit—not in a sexual way—and then have a microphone in my hand… Boom. You’ve got a punk jump.
You’re basically dunking on the crowd with a sick tune.
[Laughs] I’ve never thought about it that way, but yeah, that works!
Speaking of the live show, you’ve got this east coast AM/PM run going on right now. What is it about the humble emo night that you think is so important to Australia’s music scene?
So when AM/PM opened up in Sydney, I’d never been to an event like that. I mean, obviously you’ve got Bang! in Melbourne, but when you’re surrounded by a bunch of people that you all know you’re definitely going to have something in common with, it’s just a really cool atmosphere. Like, I suppose if you go to the footy and there’s 50,000 fans there, you all know that you love the sport. But going into emo night, you know that you’ve got so many fellow emos there, and you can all just get drunk and listen to some emo tunes and have a good time. It’s sick that it’s going to different cities other than just Sydney as well.
How good are Yours Truly, too!?
Dude, they’re amazing! They are probably my favourite Aussie band at the moment.
Full offense, I think if there’s one band that can knock your “best pop-punk album” trophy off the shelf, it’s Yours Truly.
[Laughs] Come at me bro.
It’s been about a year since you lot hooked up with the big boys at Hopeless Records. How’s the past year been, being on one of the scene’s biggest and most beautiful labels?
It’s awesome. Like, the amount of support we have, and all the connections that they have… It’s like a super big support group where everybody knows how to get stuff done… Sorry, I’m just looking at the little Hopeless stamp on the bottom of the vinyl and tearing up a bit. Yeah, everyone there is super nice, and they’ve been great with pushing our songs on playlists and all that good stuff, which is getting us more exposure to a lot of new people. I think we’ve picked the perfect label to sign us, to be honest—not that we really picked them, but y’know what I mean.
And just to wrap it all up, what is one interesting or funny story, fun fact or piece of trivia you can give us about the making of Everything Is Temporary?
If you delve into the lyrics of Dakota, you’ll find that it’s about a douche, and that douche doesn’t like me. So I wrote a song about the douche, and now the douche is getting his douchey mates to try and do douchey things to me. But it hasn’t happened yet. So when we do a follow-up interview and I’ve got bruises under my eyes from getting beat up by the douche, then we’ve got a front cover. The swelling under my eyes will make for a great photoshoot!
Everything Is Temporary is out now via Hopeless Records.
Between You & Me are touring Australia this July with Yours Truly. Catch them at the following dates:
Friday July 13th – Colonial Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday July 21st – Crowbar, Brisbane
Tickets on sale now via ampmemonight.com
They’re also joining Neck Deep on their December 2018 dates:
Saturday December 1st – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Sunday December 2nd – The Triffid, Brisbane
Tuesday December 4th – 170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets on sale now via livenation.com.au