Published in Drum Media (WA) | 01.11.12 | Issue # 312
Curiosity spiraled into obsession, which resulted in a new EP for Davey Craddock & The Spectacles. Daniel Cribb finds out what caught the frontman’s attention.
Almost every scenario and possible location for a band photoshoot has been exhausted. That’s why, when it came time for Davey Craddock and his backing band, The Spectacles, to churn out a visual representation of their music, they headed thirty kilometers north of Perth to WA’s first railway tunnel, Swan View Tunnel, built in 1894. The resulting photos and time spent there provided more than just some fresh imagery.
“I was really struck by how eerie and beautiful the site is. It also feels really hidden and almost secret,” Craddock begins. “When I got home I casually read about it a bit on the ‘net, but once I decided that I wanted to use one of the photos in our cover artwork, learning about it became a bit of an obsession. I ended up going through old newspapers in the microfilm section of the Battye library to learn more about its history, particularly a train crash near there, and in the end I found two really beautiful images of the tunnel that the library kindly gave me permission to use in the cover art,” he explains.
But the songs for their new EP, Going Home, had already been written by this stage. Which begs the question; why is the EP now dripping in the eerie beauty that Craddock experienced during the photoshoot? “It was a case of them actually coming in right at the end; when I did learn more, though, and once I visited the site a couple of times the whole story and atmosphere there seemed to fit so perfectly with some of the ideas on the EP.“
To match that eerie atmosphere. they recorded live, directly to tape. It’s a hell of a lot more expensive than plugging directly into a computer but, as Craddock emphasises, is worth every penny.
“We think the charm of the band is that we’re a bit loose and rollicking at times, and we wanted to try and capture that. If you’re recording to a click track you can lose a lot of that. It was nice to be able to look at each other and wink, nudge and shout our way through tunes just as we would on stage,” he explains. “I think there’s a little bit of magic that can come from all recording at the same time onto tape. That said, I’m not the kind of wanky, romantic retro purist that would want to record a whole album onto a wax cylinder in the loft of a 14th century church,” he laughs. “I think most bands like us strike a balance between using a bit of old technology and a bit of new.”
Although the foundations of The Spectacles consists of drummer Todd Pickett and bassist Pete Stone (both stalwarts of the local scene), Going Home boasts a wide array of guest appearances. “Sean Pollard (Split Seconds) recorded the bass and harmonies on the EP before leaving [for Melbourne]. I have massive respect for him as a songwriter, so having someone in the band like Sean who I could bounce ideas off was fantastic. Tal Cohen also played in the studio with us and will be joining the band live for the launch. He’s a highly respected jazz player around town and recently got a four-star review in The Australian. I don’t know where he finds all them extra jazzy notes, but he does somewhere. The inimitable Luke Dux from The Floors/Timothy Nelson & The Infidels will also be joining the live line-up of the band for our launch on lead guitar. Having so many incredible local musicians wanting to help bring my songs to life live and in the studio has been the most exciting part of making this EP.”