Melbourne band Second Prize have just put their latest album. Taking its name from the world of Pro Wrestling, The Heel Turn is the moment when a good guy (or a “face”) becomes a bad guy (or a “heel”).
Tomatrax caught up with Dave Rogers from the band to ask a few questions.
It wasn’t really ever like the band “formed”, as such. I had played some guitar for John in his old band The Raylenes and he had come on board to play guitar for my band. We had been writing songs and making scrappy demos and decided to start working towards a record. We recorded the drums at drummer Dave Kleynjans’ basement, which was a like a museum for vintage Ludwig drum kits. We built the arrangements up as a four piece and went from there.
John had always had it kicking around for a while. We text each other band names all the time but none of those ever made the cut. I really liked The Brains Trust, Rusty Dad and My Friend Likes You
It’s been a long journey to get this record finished. We worked on and off on it for five years, I think. It wasn’t like we planned it that way, life just happened around it. I played in other bands and made other records for people so the time I had to commit to it wasn’t consistent. Same with John. But it’s a great feeling having it done and draw a line under this part of our musical lives.
When we made the record, we did it with a complete disregard to how we would play it live. So the rehearsal process has really been about dividing up parts and essentially rearranging the songs to make them work in a five piece band. The band is cooking so at the very least, you’ll see at least three people at any one time in complete command of their instrument.
I think it’s an interesting environment for middle-aged white guys making music right now. We recognise the work that has been done and continues to be done to make and promote safe spaces for diverse voices to be part of the music scene. John’s lyrics are anything but the usual rock and roll platitudes. It’s natural for his lyrics to reflect that idea of putting masculinity under the microscope.
I think as a song it represents Second Prize really well. It’s a love song in essence but the characters aren’t typical. The production felt like a real collaboration to with our drummer wanting to push what was presented as almost a ballad, to more extreme places. That gave me license to create a wall-of-sound outro that was a heap of fun to create.
It varies but they’re usually developing alongside one another. The way John and I work, we don’t usually muck around with the bones of the song once it’s written but the production is about dressing the skeleton up in the fanciest clothes possible.
I don’t know about John but because I produce and mix it and check the masters, I’ve listened to these songs more than I care to think about. But I still love them and listening for me is less about what the songs actually sounds like coming out of speaker and more about remembering the decisions we made along the way to get it there.
John’s already sending around new songs so we’ll start thinking about doing another recording, so I’ll be rolling my sleeves up and getting into that.