GOODBYE AUGUST // That Mitchell and Sean Sound

One of the breakouts in the Brisbane rock scene might not sear your ears off, but they will charm you with their laid-back approach to rock n’ roll: may we introduce Goodbye August.

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Originally comprised of drummer Sean Puxty and guitarist Mitchell Webb, stalwarts of other Brissy punk and hardcore bands, Goodbye August had a radically turnabout m.o.: instead of their usual bashing away at the drums and strings, they’d settle for the more dulcet and mellow sounds of shoegaze and alternative acts like Teenage Wrist, Whatever, Forever, and Basement. Recruiting a vocalist and bassist along the way, they recorded their breakout five-track EP You Couldn’t Even Wait in Sydney to chase that perfect sound. The EP itself is a harrowing yet enthralling reflection into the collective grief over the loss of a loved one. With that in mind, they’re saying hello to 2024 in a big way. We spoke to Sean and Mitchell about the EP and its incredible, expansive sound as well as what’s in store for the band next.

Hysteria: You guys are from Brisbane but you recorded You Couldn’t Even Wait at The Brain Studios In Sydney. Why the hike?

Sean: Definitely Clayton at the Brain Studio for sure. We’d heard a lot of his past records such as from Whatever, Forever and Justice For The Damned and things like that, and we were really into the sound, so it was pretty easy choice, comparing it to a lot of other sounds that we were listening to at the time.

Which is interesting to talk about because on the EP, there’s a definite flow from start to end. You aren’t trapped by one particular sound or style either.

Mitchell: We had this a grand idea, I suppose, and we wanted to break it down into bits. So I guess overall concept and then individual parts of set concept, and that was sort of how that worked in terms of putting songs in a certain order for the EP. I think that was a bit like, “oh, this is what they sound like as a collective.” We’ll jumble ’em up a little bit until we get the right flow, but I reckon there was probably nine or 10 songs that were written and then we cut the four or five out and we’re left with those five. Those were the ones that were like, okay, these are the most promising and a cohesive unit.

You two were the nucleus of the band and you recruited Andy Taylor on vocals and Josh Lund on bass. How did that add or change the dynamic of the band’s sound? Songwriting?

Sean: Mitchell and I actually had the songs pretty well done for the most part up until maybe October or November last year. And then I played another band with Andy and I was like, “Here’s the songs. We both really like your vocal range. Do you want to come over and see if you’re into it?” And Andy just was like, yeah, yeah, I’ll see how it goes. Then he just came up with these really cool melodies out of nowhere. It was really fun. Andy just was the wild card.

That’s kind of the gamble on having someone new come in, it takes on a whole other dimension.

Sean: Yeah, that’s exactly right. We had a couple of songs with melodies that I was like, oh, their vocals should sort of go like this way. And then when Andy came back, it was just totally different and it made the songs even better.

You could like any genre of music and still like our band. And I think that’s what we tried to do with this project where there’s some pop punky bits and then there’s some post-hardcore sounds, but at the end of the day, it’s just a rock song at its core and we are really happy that we managed to do that.
[ Mitchell Webb ]

You guys obviously draw on a lot of influences but what’s striking is the influence of this new breed of shoegaze or grunge, bands like Teenage Wrist or Basement. Is that what Goodbye August was set up to emulate, or did your sound develop naturally?

Sean: Yeah, I think with the way the songs that we wanted to write, we wanted to do really big rock songs because we both come from relatively heavy and fast bands. So being able to capture really, I guess big soundscapes you can hear in a lot of our songs, but just a lot of airy drums, big guitars and big sounds. Bands like Basement and Teenage Wrist [they write] all solid rock songs at the very heart of it. So that’s where we draw that influence from.

Mitchell: Yeah, I think as Sean sort of said, the huge rock sound, those bands are just so easy to listen to because there’s nothing crazy technical going on. Yeah, there’s some awesome soundscape stuff in Teenage Wrist and it’s kind of poppy. Basement writes the definition of the perfect song… in my opinion anyway. They were a really good band to sort of base the narrative for what we want to do in our own music, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. At at the core of both those bands, they’re just rock bands that might go in one direction or another in the musical tree that is hardcore, is punk, is this, but they always sort of stick to that line of these songs are accessible. You could like any genre of music and still like our band. And I think that’s what we tried to do with this project where there’s some pop punky bits and then there’s some post-hardcore sounds, but at the end of the day, it’s just a rock song at its core and we are really happy that we managed to do that. While it’s super fun doing the crazy Drop-C tunings and fast stuff of our other bands, I wouldn’t call them as accessible to the general public because it is pigeonholed in that whatever genre it may be.

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Sean: Those are the bands that we sort of wanted to go with. They were just so appealing and Whatever, Forever’s sound that they did at the Brain Studios on their [recent record] that they did that was just like, “oh, this is it.” This is the perfect sound that we want and these are the bands. I think that we tried to bake a nice cake and then as long as everyone else likes it, we’re really stoked as well. Yeah, we’re happy with the product that we got.

These bands are rising in popularity especially among metalheads, punk rockers, what-have-you, because we’re kind of searching for a mellower sound yet a similar intensity of feeling. The kind of “I just got off a ten hour shift and I want to relax” music.

Sean: I certainly am feeling that in the last couple years. I love my fast riffs, breakdowns, all that type of thing, but being able to just sit back in the pocket as a drummer and bash away on a nice 22 inch or 24 inch crash and a four beat at one 50 BPM feels so good. And I found a much greater appreciation after the EP was done because I practise a lot, just whether I practise a lot on my own or practising along to the songs and things like that. I started feeling that, man, this is actually so relaxing to play, considering there are quite a lot of intense bits across the EP. It’s just very straight-up. It’s not anything that you have to get your brain around kind of thing.

That and there’s more dynamics. When a big chorus hits, it hits a bit harder because you’re kind of “allowed” to have softer, quieter moments.

Mitchell: Yeah, I think the chorus hits harder because the verses might be dynamically softer, and I think Clay and Ange were the ones at The Brain were like, yeah, “do just a little bit more.” It helps that dynamic impact.

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Your sound almost demands an album, and hopefully even a physical release. This is not “chuck this in a playlist” and go type of stuff. You are taking people on a journey, they need to be on board for the ride.

Mitchell: It means a lot that that’s how you interpret the music. I mean, I would absolutely love to do an album. I love listening to albums. I’m not one to shuffle and if I’m listening to music old, generally listen to an album before moving on to the next one kind of thing. I dare say, before doing an album, we want to aim for more releases, of course, and then build up who we are as a band and just get our name out there and things like that. And once I suppose the traction is there, then we will be able to do that. We’ve got so many songs in the backlog already that it’s certainly not off the cards by any means.

Sean: Yeah, I am sort of with that. I think that when you have bands who release a record, it could be a three track EP, it could be the five, like what we did, or a full album. It’s intended to be listened to in its entirety, and that’s what we certainly strive for with this release as well. You’re right, they’re not overly ‘single’ type songs. I think that one or two sound great as a single, but once it’s put into the collective record, you go, yeah, this is pretty cool. As for a physical, we might do the vinyl thing. I mean, Discogs is popping off with vinyl!

You guys haven’t been around as a band for all that long, so what’s the plan for 2024?

Sean: Well, we played a mini fest at Greaser Bar for the King’s Birthday long weekend. Then we did a show with Reside and Upsetter on their Queensland tour last October. That was at Vinnie’s Dive and that was sick. And then we’re announcing another show this Friday, which will also be at Greaser for just the end of January, so that’ll be a bit of fun. But yeah, we haven’t been around for a while. We wanted to do the Internet thing. Here’s some music, we’re going to be a little bit accessible that you can hear us before playing a bunch of shows.

Not having music released, not having the T-shirt, not having somewhere you can find anywhere on socials, it’s a bit hard to get people interested. So we actively said we need to sort of be a bit quieter until we have all those ducks in a row, and now we can just start going ahead. That’s the plan. It was just the end of this year, 2023 that we really were like, okay, now we can do the gigs thing. So hopefully next year we just go hard. I mean, this is going to be our main band, for sure. We want to take it as far as we can go.

Purchase and stream here.

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