I first met Christian from Recovery Room when Touche Amore toured Australia with Make Do and Mend in 2012. He was following the tour around the country with a friend and I found him on another friend’s couch one afternoon before the all-ages Brisbane show at Sun Distortion.
Over the years since we have bonded over our mutual love for bands like American Football and Comadre, so I was stoked to hear he was starting a new band that was more of that ilk than his past efforts (most notably hardcore band Clipped Wings).
Recovery Room, named after a song by The Jealous Sound, play late-‘90s to mid-’00s influenced emo out of Sydney. They put out their debut EP, A Lesson In Letting Go, early this year and have since shared the stage with bands such as Oslow, Have/Hold, Safe Hands, and Jacob.
I called Christian recently to catch up and ask him a few questions about the band. I cut a lot out of this interview to save you from hearing about our personal lives, but just know that a good chunk of it was spent talking about how much Christian loves Doctor Who.
So Recovery Room really started with Dylan writing songs by himself?
Yeah, pretty much. After Clipped Wings broke up, he and I were always kind of looking to do another, I don’t know, hardcore or heavy band? Then he wrote these songs, some of the songs that were on the EP, and sent them to me and said, “this is something else I did”.
And we just kind of went from there. And were like, this is going to be a lot easier for us to actually do something with than try to do another hardcore band. And it was something a bit different for us to experiment with.
What do you mean by easier?
It was easier for us to find members to help us out in the short run. He was singing on everything so instead of us having to find a singer, drummer, and bass player, we only had to find a bass player and a drummer, which is just that little bit easier. That’s really all that was.
It was something you could get started by yourselves.
Exactly, that’s what it was. A Lesson In Letting Go was completely recorded by Dylan except for the drums, which were recorded by Chris Blancianco who drums for Bare Bones. So everything was done by him and I, except for the drums, and now we have a full-time drummer and a full-time bass player.
Did he bring those songs to you and say, “hey maybe we should do this?” Or was he just showing you what he had been doing?
He was just showing me something he was doing and we just both kind of went, “why don’t we just do something like this instead?” We just went with it and the EP was the four songs we picked and here we are now.
I read in another interview where Dylan mentioned that you have around 35-40 songs at the demo stage at the moment.
That is now sitting at-let me check because he’s just added another one-fifty-seven.
Fifty-seven. Is that just because he will think of something and sit straight down and do a rough recording?
Yeah. He just kind of builds on it. Of those fifty-seven, there are still some songs on there that are the original songs from when we first started talking about [Recovery Room] but we’ve got about eight that we’ve chosen to record next.
How do you pick the eight that you’re going to record?
I think it’s just the general mood of what we all think of it. Some of them are just… from the moment we all heard them we knew they were great and we really want to use them. And then there are other ones that we were a little unsure about. But it’s mostly the songs that Dylan has sat down with. Everything in
But it’s mostly the songs that Dylan has sat down with. Everything in demo, Dylan has done all by himself. He programs the drums, so pretty much everything on there are things that he’s been able to comfortably keep going with the songs. So of those eight, they’re the best eight he’s come up with so far that are complete songs.
How long have you and Dylan been writing and playing music together?
I met Dylan… I would have met Dylan in… 2008? And we’ve pretty much been doing stuff since then.
Out of all the people you’ve made music with, why do you think it’s you and Dylan who have stuck together?
I think it’s just because Dylan and I have always gotten along so well. We both just mesh really well. It’s mostly him bouncing ideas off me. He’s always been the first person I’ve gone to when I’ve been thinking about doing a new band. Just because he’s so easy to work with. I’ve never had any gripes or writing differences with him. We just both work together really well.
I know he listens to a lot of metal. I’ve never really known you to listen to a lot of metal.
Not really. I’ve listened to a lot of high school metal like Killswitch Engage and that, and I still do. But other than that… I mean one band we really both like is Ringworm. He’s definitely more into them than I am.
I can totally hear the Ringworm influence in Recovery Room…
Oh yeah, 100% (laughing). He’s starting to do a new band now that definitely does sound like it has Ringworm influences, which he’s very happy about. But yeah it’s mostly been bands like Ringworm, Cursed, Sect xvx that he’s really been into as well, which I’ve been listening to because of him.
With both of you listening to and playing in heavier bands in the past, how do you think that has affected the way you approach Recovery Room?
With recording, Dylan has been given more room… it’s been a lot easier for him to record because he recorded the Clipped Wings stuff and all the earlier bands we did, so I think that through doing all the hardcore stuff it has given him more free reign to do whatever he wants, rather than having to be just stuck to hardcore. I think us doing hardcore bands together has given him an appreciation for doing anything else he can.
Moving away from the conventions of hardcore?
When you recorded the EP it was just you and Dylan. Since then you’ve become a live band and have brought in Dave and Isaac. How has moving from a recording project to a full live band changed the dynamic of the group?
It’s worked really well. We always kind of had Dave as an idea for our bass player because he was in bands like The Spontaneous Kevin Costner from Armidale and when he moved to Syndey he was in a band called Sweater Season, who were on Lacklustre Records like our old band used to be. And Isaac I had worked with in a previous job so we’ve always been friends.
I think the thing is that we’re all so understanding of each other’s ideas and the dynamic just works really well with the group. We just all mesh really well. No one has a bigger ego than anyone else. I think because Dylan does everything at the moment it just works so well because then we all just put in little bits of input and he’s really good at bringing those ideas to life.
Do you think, moving forward, that the songwriting process will stay as it currently is, or do you see more of the band putting forward ideas?
Oh 100% it will mostly all come from Dylan. He’s just so prolific with his songwriting. I know Dylan is very keen to bring the other member’s influences in and I’m pretty excited to see how they come out. When we’ve been playing these songs in a room together the different dynamics have worked quite well. I’m really interested to see how, for example, Isaac’s very different take on the kind of style of music that we do. And how it works.
Having a drummer come from a background that is usually faster and heavier, playing something that is traditionally a bit slower and softer?
Speaking of Dylan and how he writes so much of the structure of the songs himself, why do you think it’s important for him to have built a set band and not just kept this as a solo project?
I think he enjoys having other people to bounce off. I don’t think he wants to just have everything to himself. He does like having other people there to bounce ideas off. So while it did all start as a bedroom project for him, he does enjoy sitting down with the rest of us and going through ideas. I suppose it’s like he’s the architect and we’re the little minion builders that work along with him and make everything come to life.
You tell him when walls can’t go where he’s trying to put them.
Yeah pretty much. We all listen to varying styles of music and we’ve all played in different bands. Having Dave and Isaac there does give us very different opinions. Dave listens to a lot of Mogwai and Minus The Bear and stuff like that, I listen to bands like American Football and some skramz, Dylan listens to everything under the sun, and Isaac listens to a lot of Northlane. I think one thing we all come back to are bands like From First To Last and My Chemical Romance. Those kinds of mid-’00s, I don’t really want to use the word but, “emo”.
I think they call it third wave emo.
Yeah, your “Hot Topic emo”.
I did see that Dylan was working on a My Chemical Romance cover. Will you be playing that soon?
We may. We have jammed it. I think while we’re trying to cement how the new songs are going to sound we’ve put it on the backburner for now. I think it will definitely come out one day. We’ll see, we’ll see.
You mention your influences from those mid-’00s bands, but your first EP has a strong mid-to-late-‘90s emo vibe. Do you think your next release will wear the mid-’00s influence even more?
A lot of the songs that we have picked for the next batch of recording kind of meet somewhere between My Chemical Romance and Algernon Cadwallader. Dylan has listened to a lot of both of those bands and they’ve both come together in this weird little mix that we’ve been doing. I think it’s really made our own sound. We’re really liking how it’s sounding at the moment so we’re really keen to hear them recorded and how they sit together.
Do you know when you’re going to be recording next?
Hopefully within the next couple of months. We’ve picked the songs we want to record, it just comes down to sitting down and laying out exactly what we want to do with each of the songs. There are four songs that I think are definitely done and ready to be recorded. We just need to work out the little ends and finding where each thing is going to go with the others.
You mentioned recording around eight songs; is this going to be an album?
No. I think we’re going to send it around to a few different people. We might want to do a 7” if possible and keep the other songs for a split with someone else, or just other songs for online release or something. I think we’ll just send it someone and see what they think about it and we’ll go from there.