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Sly Withers Harvest New Songs, Sounds and Sophistication On Third Album, 'Overgrown'


IT'S RIGHT WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THIRD ALBUMS, and whether Sly Withers are in on it or not, they've harvested something very special on Overgrown.


It's the eve of release of the album and both Jono Mata and Sam Blitvich are online, all smiles and ready to chat. These two fine fellows both act as co-frontmen for the group and share everything - all the vocals, songwriting and lead guitars - and they both confess to the "butterflies and heebeejeebees" understandably settling in. After all, it's an uneasy time on an artist's journey to releasing an album - they're likely creatively spent from completing the record, but now are forced to wait for its release with no validation from anyone beyond those who already support and love them, their team, band mates and, more than likely, a few select friends and family.


"Feelsy indie-punk from Perth's northern suburbs", the group experienced a huge reaction to their second record, Gardens, released only a little over a year ago. The accolades quickly piled up and the dedicated fanbase swelled beyond their wildest expectations. Overgrown is its spiritual successor, if you will, an unintentional sequel which brilliant takes their botanic analogy a step further.

"It was never intentional," Sam explains. "But I think the nature of our process facilitated the fact that we viewed it as a sequel. Plus a couple of handy lyrics here and there, referencing other things on the last record. The way we write, I see it like a bit of a subconscious journaling process. Gardens was like that, it's kind of a snapshot at the point in our lives, Overgrown is literally just picking up a year later. It's a bit self-absorbed, but I think in the terms of the music we're making, it makes sense for it to be a sequel. Also the song 'Overgrown' being called that and the kind of lyrics it has make it a natural pickup point for it to come in on after Gardens. There was just a lot of nice things, a lot of planets aligning moments that led to that kind of vibe."

From the opening bars of the title track, the song introduces the sequel perfectly, inviting the listener back into the band's green thumbed universe ("the SCU, the Sly Withers Cinematic Universe," Sam jokes). If Gardens was, as Sam puts it, indeed a subconscious journaling process, in that case, of navigating adulthood, then Overgrown is the self-reflection required to face their potential future and what it might bring, for better or worse.


However this time around, not only has their level of maturity grown exponentially like the garden scenario everything is themed around, but the band also expose clear hints of their future, showing great strength in melody and execution along with perhaps their first signs of longevity and of an ability to go the distance. While having Spacey Jane's Dave "Parko" Parkin ("a mountain of a man") on board as producer obviously assisted refine the sonics beyond previous efforts both musically and thematically, the band strived for a coherent piece with production ideas which takes in extra elements and, most importantly, more time.

"That was the defining difference with this record," Sam explains. "We allowed ourselves that time to be creative through every step of the process in the studio and pull the songs apart. In the past, just by necessity, the song has been written and we go in and record it with the time we have as it is basically. It's literally down to time and budget."


"We've definitely done it both ways now," Jono continues. "I think the way we've done Overgrown is far more enjoyable and far more manageable for us and we've proved that's how we get the best product out of ourselves and how we're able to push things further. If we had've done it the same way we did Gardens - it was rehearse the song as much as we can up until the day before you record it and that's what's being recorded - if we had've done Overgrown in that same way, it would've been a completely different album. We understand both points, sometimes it is just based on timelines and budgets and who you're in the studio with, your producer, as well. Parko takes on the fifth member of the band thing and that's what he's good at and that's what we loved about working with him. He's there to help you from an outside perspective, rip it apart and find the best way to put it back together from the ground up. You need a lot of time to do that for 14 tracks, especially if you've gone in thinking "this is you're going to record" and all of a sudden that song gets put into a completely different genre and maybe everyone's part changed, the tempo changed, everything swaps - it's a completely new song - and if you don't have the time set aside to do that, it's never going to come out like that.

Everything about Overgrown props Sly Withers up as a superior outfit. Singles 'Passing Through', 'Radio' and 'Something' dropped listeners back into the SCU comfortably and they retained everything that makes Sly Withers great - the impressive spiky guitar riffs, the massive hooks and the deeply vulnerable and relatable lyrics. Just after the album's halfway point, Jono and Sam each take the lead on a rather stunning slow burn each - 'Put Me Down' and 'Don't Wanna Leave' - featuring extra instrumentation and a sophisticated leap in detail. Elsewhere, the closing 'Last' and penultimate 'Sundays' reveal even more layers to the individuals as writers.

"The song 'Sundays' is one that Jono basically wrote the entire thing and it didn't really change," Sam reveals. "It's in this pure, untouched space and the thing that I really love about that is that it's got all these incredible moments and incredible complex chord progressions. It's just nice to sit there and listen to my friend come up with this genius and not have to put any effort into making it as incredible as it is. It's like a beautiful piece of music just lands in your lap and then it doesn't need anything else and we just learnt it and translated it to the recording. That ability to lazily/semi take credit for someone's brilliance is pretty cool."
"In general, I am very, very happy with the guitar tones we were able to pull across the record," Jono explains. "I feel like that was such a step up for us. It goes back to having the time to sit in that room and try every single amp before you even track anything and you can figure out what you want to use before you start and having that weeks on weeks to try everything, different guitars and different pedals, everything. The tones especially really bring out the lushness in the songs, we were after the prettier vibe from the onset of this project. That was one of the ways I set about trying to achieve that. The other thing is the strings. The few places we peppered in strings on these tracks really elevates everything else going on around it."

Whether a novice or no matter the level of appreciation you have with Sly Withers, you're bound to walk away from Overgrown more engaged. It's just that good. Hearing the album, witnessing the ambition and hunger paired with humble and grateful, wide eyed attitudes and after chatting to them in some detail, one gets the sense that they're in it for the long haul and have quite the career, whatever shape they want it to take, in front of them.

"We're just four normal guys from Perth and we love making music together," Jono confesses. "We love the opportunities we've been given because of the careers we've chosen and that we're able to travel the country and play shows and make music for people. Every step of the way, we want to keep developing and keep progressing and I think Overgrown is just the next natural step forward for us and we hope it's one that people can get on board with. If you like it, I think there's enough tying back to older stuff, it's not a complete change to who the band is. You'll be able to draw lines back to previous songs and previous releases. The goal for us when we went in was to make the pretty stuff prettier and the heavy stuff heavier and really focus on getting the most out of our songwriting."

SLY WITHERS' OVERGROWN OUT NOW ON DEW PROCESS.


 

ON TOUR:

Fri 04 Nov | THE GOV • Adelaide, SA, Australia TICKETS

Thu 10 Nov | UC HUB • Canberra, ACT, Australia TICKETS

Fri 11 Nov | METRO THEATRE • Sydney, NSW, Australia TICKETS

Sat 12 Nov | PRINCESS THEATRE • Brisbane, QLD, Australia TICKETS

Fri 18 Nov | NORTHCOTE THEATRE • Melbourne, VIC, Australia TICKETS

Sat 19 Nov | UNI BAR • Hobart, TAS, Australia TICKETS

Sat 26 Nov | DARWIN RAILWAY CLUB • Darwin, NT, Australia TICKETS

Sat 10 Dec | ASTOR THEATRE • Perth, WA, Australia TICKETS


 

JOIN THE CLUB TO RECEIVE THE RECORD AND FUTURE BONUS FEATURE RECORDS


 

WATCH MORE OF OUR CHAT WITH JONO AND SAM ON YOUTUBE






1 Comment


Releasing an album can be an uncertain time for artists. They have dedicated their creative energy to completing the record, and now they must wait for its release, hoping for validation and positive reception from a broader audience. At this point, the support and love from their existing fanbase, team, bandmates, and close friends and family are crucial sources of encouragement. To get more song plays, you can order soundcloud promotion - https://artistpush.me/collections/soundcloud-promotion


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