Wax Chattels tour, album overdue

Auckland-based band Wax Chattels is playing at The Crown on Friday. Photo: Supplied
Auckland-based band Wax Chattels is playing at The Crown on Friday. Photo: Supplied
Wax Chattels is an Auckland-based post-punk power trio which is about to embark on its album release tour, starting at The Crown Hotel.

Despite touring the country a bunch of times, and even managing a 22-show tour of Asia, they've never made it to Dunedin. And while they've picked up numerous fans along the way with their energetic live show, the only recorded material they've released is a couple of singles on Bandcamp.

But that's all about to change with the long overdue release of their self-titled debut album. And it really is overdue. Lead singer and keyboardist Peter Ruddell explained to me how they recorded "maybe six or seven tracks quite frantically" around this time last year for an October release because their drummer was moving to China.

"The first couple of tracks we recorded ourselves were super DIY, like, we were taping mikes to the ceiling because we didn't have enough mike stands."

But plans were put on hold when, at an energetic live show at the Others Way festival on K' Road, they managed to impress some industry people and were signed to both Captured Tracks and Flying Nun.

"And they basically said `Don't do it, pull it off' because they wanted to do an international release. And so we held off.

"We recorded a couple of tracks in that time which made it into the album, and I think it was a very good call."

Rhythmic, dark and hypnotic is how I would describe Wax Chattels' sound, based on the three tracks available. Post-punk basslines intersect with complex rhythms and the standard three-piece configuration is pleasantly distorted by the presence of an organ, not a guitar.

"I was actually working on an EP with my last band and there was a Yamaha, like, '70s organ sitting in the studio," Peter explained.

"Ended up playing on it and loving it so much that when one popped up on TradeMe I nabbed it and played that just in my bedroom for a couple of years, then I went to Japan for a little bit and came back, fell in love with it again and was like `Okay, we'll start a band with this'.

"And Amanda, our bass player, uses a bunch of effects, like reverbs and overdrive and stuff, and we kind of figured that has enough `swagger' to make it like a rock 'n' roll band with this kind of angularness of the organ which kind of, I dunno, married into this nice kind of sound, I guess."

I'm not sure if "nice" is a word I'd use to describe Wax Chattels. It's frenetic, dirty, sinister even, and apparently the atmosphere on the album is exactly what we'll be getting at the live show.

"Basically we did the album, live tracked everything to make it sound as live as possible because we're a live band, and I think the record reflects what the live show is all about. It's loud, it's heavy, you can feel it, you know?

"We've been meaning to come down for a very long time, but things have always come up. There've been logistics issues which have prevented us.

"We've finally managed to get it sussed and it feels pretty good."

Thankfully, Friday's gig will be at Dunedin's best venue for heavy music, The Crown Hotel. Local pop-punk rascals Coyote are supporting them, along with Birdation.

See it, hear it

• Wax Chattles Dunedin Album Release , with Coyote and Birdation, Friday, May 25, at The Crown Hotel. Tickets $10 from www.undertheradar.co.nz

• Album available May 18 at waxchattels.bandcamp.com/ or your local record store. 

For more from Fraser Thompson go to dunedinsound.com.


 

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