The Peppermint Club are a glorious ethereal psychedelic, neo-Sgt Pepper era Beatles band - with just a hint of digital-age shimmer. They've released their debut self-titled album, which is a truly remarkable offering with intricately constructed soundscapes, lush and airy vocals over a textured fabric of pastel-hued rock. If you're a fan of Mild High Club or Tame Impala, then best you get prepared to fall in love with these guys. I know I have! They've been getting a thorough spin on Spotify over the last week or so. So I am excited that Chris shared his thoughts and experiences with us here at EatNoise ...
Congratulation on your debut album! Tell us about the album and the sound and stylings you've achieved ...
I wanted to create an album of songs that reflected both my musical and personal journey and in a way adopted the concept album approach. A lot of the songs on the album address human emotion and situations that we all experience at some point in our lives... such things like finding love, heart-break, depression, addiction and questioning life direction. I love albums that can tell a story through both it's music and lyrics and so I attempted and spent a lot of time trying to create beautiful soundscapes that reflected those emotions.
What inspired and influenced this album?
The Beatles, The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd and others from that era are my biggest inspiration when it comes to song-writing and production. There's something kind of magical about the way their recordings sound and the performances are just incredible. During the recording and mixing of the album, they were pretty much the only artists I was listening to as I would have spent thousands of hours in my home studio trying to create something beautiful in the same vein...though I would never compare my music to the same level as Pet Sounds, Dark Side of The Moon or Sgt Peppers as that is pretty much unreachable in my opinion...however I am proud of creating something I can listen to in a few years time and hopefully still enjoy it!
Who was involved in recording and production of the album?
Most of the songs would have it's core elements recorded live and so both myself and my childhood friend and bandmate from previous bands Daniel Henry would normally record drums, guitar and a guide vocal take and then build upon that foundation. Every now and then the other guys Sky and Tom would come in to record parts as there's something unique about creating with other musicians because they have their own playing style and flavour. However, since everything is pretty much done in my house I am always ready to press record or pull up a mix and more often than not I'll work on a song through till the late hours of the morning. When I get to the point of not knowing what even sounds good anymore, Dan normally comes in and helps me finalise a mix and provides that much needed outside perspective.
So, how does your band go about writing songs?
It kind of changes from song to song...sometimes I'll have a drum track from a previous song and write something completely fresh to it like with 'Beihai' and 'Young Lovers' and other times it can come completely organically such as sitting down with a guitar and writing a song in the more traditional way. I find that most of the time I would create the music first and get a vibe and then record my vocals...there's never really an intention about how I'd go about it.
The creation of 'Lost' is probably the most unique method we've ever taken. We were rehearsing in my living room for a show we had that night and about five minutes prior to everyone arriving I had come up with some chords and a skeletal melody. I then suggested we try to record it live and see if anything would come from it and so what you hear is literally the first time the song had been performed and all the instrumentation minus strings and pads were created in that moment. For that reason, it's one of my favourite recordings we've made.
What influences and informs your group as a whole, and individually as musicians and songwriters?
I think we all just want to create music we are proud of and enjoy.
Now you've finished your album - what next? Are there any tours or festival appearances planned?
We have our album launch on the 22nd of September at the Aardvark Norfolk Basement Hotel in Fremantle and a WAMfest performance on the 3rd of November. Apart from that, nothing else has been planned yet but hopefully an East Coast tour will soon be on the cards!
Tell us the story of how The Peppermint Club club came to be, and about the members ...
The Peppermint Club started off as a studio project with just myself creating songs in the bedroom and eventually there was that itch to get back into playing live again. As mentioned earlier, Dan and I would jam and write songs together and once we had enough for a set we decided to try to bring them to the stage. Another long-time music and highschool friend Tom Allison whom I played with in Rainy Day Women then joined us on bass guitar and we recruited keyboardist Sky Eaton whom I had played with in The Brow a few years back. The Peppermint Club is essentially a musical vehicle for all of us to continue writing, releasing and playing music together.
What's behind your bands name?
As cliche as it does sound, the name came to me in a dream but it was 'The Peppermint Cloud Club' at the time and we dropped the 'Cloud' part to avoid being pigeonholed as well as the fact that it was quite a mouthful to say.
If your first single off the album - the catchy "Passing Through Your World" - was included on a various artists mixed-tape, what other songs from other artists would you like to see on that tape?
Our good friends of The Money War have just released their new single 'Hollywood' which is a lovely song as well as Camarano's new coming single. There has been so much great music coming out locally such as 'Shadow In A Dream' by Sam Carmody and 'Dawn' by Michael Savage. I think a mixtape of Western Australian artists would go well and follow a similar theme...though I wouldn't complain if there were songs by The Beatles, George Harrison, Drugdealer, Tame Impala added into the mix!
If The Peppermint Club launched your own music festival (with you on the bill), what line-up would you curate? Who would headline?
Well the Austin City Limits festival looks absolutely incredible and it would be a dream to play a festival alongside Paul McCartney! ...so I think they pretty much nailed it. I would definitely leave Sir Paul McCartney as the headline act.
What would your bands rider be?
I've recently discovered and fallen in love with WA locals Feral Brewing's Dank Blanc Brut IPA. A few cases of those would be just fine.
What is on the bucket list for The Peppermint Club?
Getting our album pressed to vinyl, touring the East Coast, touring the world, recording an album in Abbey Road with Geoff Emerick.
Describe the best gig you've ever played ... and the worst!
I think the best gig we've played was for Sofar Sounds at The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle. It was the first time we performed the songs in a stripped-back fashion but something about the set-up of the evening being more intimate than your regular gig and the crowd interaction made it a highlight. I really love the concept of Sofar Sounds as it brings the artist close to the listener and vice versa.
I can't we've had a worst gig as of yet... they've all been pretty fun!
What food/drink serving suggestions do you have for this album?
Maybe a nice pinot noir on a balcony overlooking the beach while the sun sets.