How to Survive a Shipwreck

A few years ago, I took a short holiday with some friends in a cottage by the sea. It wasn’t a regular cottage, but a re-purposed lighthouse keeper’s cottage, situated on Green Cape – a secluded peninsula on the far south coast of New South Wales, girt on one side by one hundred square kilometres of national park, and on the other by the Tasman Sea.

When I stayed there in 2012, I was struck by the sense of isolation, and at the somehow enriching feeling of helplessness that I felt when being as exposed to the elements as the lighthouse and cottages were. This was particularly true on one clear night. As I lay on the grass beside the classic white picket fence that seems at once apt and out of place bordering a cottage beside the sea, gazing up through the dark, clear night at unimaginable numbers of stars, I was overwhelmed at once by the sound of the sea, the icy chill of the southerly wind, and the depth of infinity laid out above me.

It became obvious to me why ancient peoples looked upon the elements of nature with the reverence that was only deserved by gods, and a thought came to me: I want to record an album here.

Bass & Lighthouse

Over this past week, I did just that. Four members of The Button Collective (Brodie, Quinton, Ben, and me) gathered up our things, and our audio engineering friend Steve Law (who I had worked with before on tracks with Blood, Guts & Firetrucks), and drove down the coast to Green Cape. Once there, after admiring the sights of the area, we set up shop in the living room of the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage and prepared ourselves for a long week of recording.

As any good band should while recording an album, we went a little bit crazy. I’m sure there’s plenty of video evidence of that, as we had several cameras set up over the course of the week. We played well, made good time, and came out the other side with 13 fantastic tracks – our second album, which we’re calling How to Survive a Shipwreck.

We’ve still got a handful of things to add to the tracks, most of which is fiddle parts to each of the songs. As we haven’t got a full-time fiddle player at the moment, we weren’t able to track fiddle parts live as we did the rest of the band, and we’ll be overdubbing at some point in the future. I’m looking forward to finally releasing this album. I’m incredibly proud of the way each of us has played on it, and with the overall structure and arrangements of the songs. It’s a very diverse album, with quiet, intimate, honest songs as well as upbeat party tracks. Keep an eye out for it towards the middle of 2015!

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