March 28th 2011
Nick La Rosa
In our new regular Q&A feature, we get a little dirt on the making of FBi's Album of the Week (AoTW). This week we're featuring Sydney outfit Karoshi's dreamy debut, Sleepwalker. The Flog sat down with frontman Beres Jackson.
Flog: How did Karoshi start?
Beres: Karoshi started about 4 years ago when I stopped playing in guitar bands and started writing music on a computer. I had no idea what I was doing at the start – just writing crappy beats and looping bass lines etc. But I learnt enough to release my EP in late 2007.
The name came about because I read about the Japanese word in an article about office workers in Japan who were dying from working long hours. At first it was just the name of one of my songs, but then people told me it would be a cool name for a band, so it stuck.
The actual lineup has changed quite a lot over the last three years. I now have my brother Dave on drums, and also Blake Wassell from Lessons in Time has taken up quite a permanent spot on lead guitar. Most of this album was written by myself, but the next one we do will be much more collaborative.
What are the pitfalls and benefits of being in a band with your brother?
Well, I would say TOO much honesty can be an issue sometimes. Dave will tell me straight up if he thinks something I write is a bit naff – but the flip-side is I can trust him when he says he likes something. I probably do the same thing with him when we are writing drum parts and other things. Bruised egos can still abound, but we are getting better at working together. But Dave is such a talented musician, so it definitely makes life easy to work with someone who is so professional and knowledgeable.
What were your main reference points or influences (sonic or otherwise) while putting the album together?
Well, the album has come together over quite a long period of time, and I find that my musical influences can change quite rapidly sometimes, so it would be hard to pinpoint. But I would definitely say that artists like Arovane, Apparat and Telefon Tel Aviv were big influences on the overall sound, but then bands like Efterklang, Mum and Milosh certainly helped me with the more conventional songwriting side of things. Also, I spent a fair bit of time in Europe a couple of years ago and I think that time really encouraged me to make something that could stand up over there as well.
Where did you record the album? How long did it take, start to finish?
I wrote most of the music at home by myself, and put together an album and a bit worth of demos. That process took quite a long period of time, and included a pretty long bout of writer’s block! But I finally got my shit together mid-2010, and Dave and I went into a studio in Surry Hills to record the drums and really work on finishing the album. I overdubbed guitars, keys, vocals etc. myself at home, then Jordy Lane came on board to mix the album and make it all shiny. We worked in SPOD’s studio in Marrickville, when I wished I could skate, cos he had a half-pipe in his lounge room!
We actually finished the album towards the end of last year, but wanted to wait for the right time to release it, so that’s part of the reason its taken us so long to get it out there. But I’m glad we waited. It’s definitely been worth it.
First album you bought?