Q&A’s: ‘In This Town’ With Loiter

Photo: Callum Cooper

Words/Interview by Sam Townsend {Melting Wax Photography}

Brisbane (via Newcastle and the UK) quintet Loiter have followed up 2019’s EP ‘Alternative Sidekick’ with single In This Town; debuting an edgier twist on the alternative-pop-punk sound previously heard from the band, and confirming the genre is in good shape.  

Produced by both Matt Cochran (WALKEN/Pandamic) and Keelan Sanders, and recorded between Bedlam Records and Matt’s home, In This Town is Loiter’s first new song release for 2020 and shows Loiter is on the path for a formidable 2021.

In This Town is out today (October 9) and thanks to Loiter and the crew at Habit Music Co I had the good fortune of an early listen and a Q&A with Darren Yeats and Mitch Chen about this new release and what’s on the horizon for Loiter.

Tell us a little bit about what ‘In This Town’ is about?

Darren: Basically it’s an alternative love song written about an abusive relationship. 

What was the catalyst for reimagining a song written several years earlier?  And what was the creative process like for the song? 

Mitch: When we first started to write together in the early days it was just Darren, Tim and I. Darren already had the verse chord stabs and a vocal melody for it that was quite alluring. It was much slower and the chords were predominantly played on a piano which gave it this haunting timbre. It likely was the first jam we had as a three piece where Tim wasn’t sure on the tempo and we just went through as much as we could and after that playthrough I had a moment of clarity and thought –  wow this could really be something. I think we all felt it in the room and Darren possibly felt we gave this old tune of his a new heart. 

From here it took years to get it where it is today. As soon as we added Amber to the band she created harmonies that really uplifted the chorus and gave the verses a breath of fresh air. And then when we added Brandon he added simple but effective guitar parts that complimented the song. Once we had all the parts, we had Matt Cochran (WALKEN/Pandamic) use his expertise to tie it all together and give it a pop production feeling while still maintaining its rock sound. 

You’ve been working with Matt Cochran of WALKEN/Pandamic fame on production duties with some of your music, we are big fans of his work, what’s it been like working with Matt?

Mitch: Matt is one of those guys that can get the best out of everyone and isn’t shy to tell you a take was unusable or wasn’t working. We’ve used Matt on everything we have released and there’s no reason we’d need to go looking elsewhere. 

How did the recording and production of In This Town differ from the recording and production of ‘Alternative Sidekick’?  And how have the band adapted during these challenging times?

Mitch: The first time round doing recording we had to go very cheap and went through friends as much as we could because we just couldn’t afford the studio energy. We recorded drums quickly in a day at Rangis’ (Pandamic) place and then did all guitars, vocals and production with Matt. When it came time to do a standalone single we realised that we just needed a spectacular drum sound and then could just do the rest at home. 

After we released ‘Alternative Sidekick’ we wanted to get into single mode and started planning dates to record and flights for Amber to come up. It was difficult as we had all the instrumentation recorded and just needed to do the vocals before getting into the mixing stage. The first time Amber came up would have been around late October 2019 for a week and we had planned to do vocals while she was up. What we didn’t plan on was Amber to get sick just before making the trip up which meant we couldn’t record vocals. It wouldn’t be until earlier this year we got to have Amber come up and finish tracking her vocals. As we started to get into the mixing stage we also wanted to have a video for it which proved difficult as the world stopped when Covid hit. We came to a standstill as Amber couldn’t leave Newcastle and Darren working in a hospital meant being isolated from the rest of us. We had to wait months until a pocket opened up for Amber to come up to get a video done for this song. We feel like we lost a lot of momentum after having such a long gap between releasing music, but that we’ve made the best out of a tough situation. 

I think In This Town has an edgier sound than the songs on ‘Alternative Sidekick’ – would you agree? And if so, was that a natural progression for the band or a conscious decision? 

Mitch: It’s funny you say that, when we first jammed together we only had In This Town & another one to jam on before we started writing other songs together. For me everything on ‘Alternative Sidekick’ was written having an alternative rock mindset and trying to pull off unconventional structures whereas In This Town we had been working on it for years to try and get it to sound like a single and have our sound on it.

You’ve got band members that stem from the UK, Newcastle and Brisbane, how did you find each other and decide to start the band? 

Darren: So I came from the UK in 2016 and moved to Brisbane the year after. My partner worked with a musician who put me into a Brisbane musicians Facebook page. 

I found an add on Facebook for a band looking for a bassist so I got in touch and eventually Mitch arranged a meet up. After a lengthy talk about music, we arranged a practice. It was clear early on that there were some big creative differences between us all and it was going to clash. But Mitch & I gelled so after the practice was over we decided to start an original band as he knew a drummer, Tim. We had some wings at Stones Corner, where I met Tim, and decided we’d go for it.

After a few rounds of tryouts we met Amber in Brisbane who was keen and fresh and would give us new avenues, stylistically, sonically and harmonically on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. She’s now got huge amounts of confidence and has taken the lead vocals on a few tracks. Sadly though she had to move to Newcastle to study Radiography. That didn’t stop her from staying on with us though. She’s still able to make time to come up to play gigs and record.

Eventually Mitch thought we needed more dynamics and we enlisted Brandon to pick up additional guitar parts to compliment Mitch’s lead parts and do duel guitar work.

How have the last 9 months influenced your music, and lives in general?

Mitch: The last 9 months have been a real challenge. Darren works in hospitals so we had to a lot of self isolation meaning there were times where we’d go months without jamming or even seeing each other. Amber being in Newcastle was tough, especially when the QLD border restrictions started and she was stuck down south. Luckily there were pockets where she could come up to complete the song. However, it does feel strange that we won’t get to play together for the foreseeable future. In saying that, it did give me time to learn how to home record better and utilise the internet to share ideas and write together. 

What does the average day for Loiter look like at the moment?

Mitch: Right now we are in writing mode and trying to decide if it’s best to go for a new single for next year or for another E.P. So I guess an average day is going back and forth on demoing ideas and seeing if Amber or Darren have any melody ideas for instrumental demos we share between us and then seeing what pops out in the band.

There’s an influx in new music coming out right now, we are loving it! What new music are you really enjoying at the moment?

Mitch: Tim has been really into his metal/punk lately giving Mindreader by A Day To Remember and Supremacy by FEVER 333 a lot of attention. Brandon has been loving Idles’ latest album release ‘Ultra Mono’ and has been raving about The Strokes’ latest album ‘The New Abnormal’. Darren has been showing me this garage rock band called Ash that’s a lot of fun and is obsessed with the latest Deftones’ single Ohms always playing. Amber and I have been playing the latest Dave the Band album which is just a really well written album. Amber being in Newcastle was lucky enough to see their album release show.

As live shows slowly start to resume, have you had a chance to play or attend any gigs? Or do you have any coming up soon? 

Mitch: We unfortunately haven’t had a chance to play shows as border restrictions prevent us from making it possible however Tim and I did get to see The Redundants, WALKEN & Pandamic play at The Zoo a couple weeks back. At first I thought it was going to be strange but it felt like any other show I’ve seen but less crowded so I could really hear the best of these amazing bands. 

Finally, what can we expect next from Loiter?

Mitch: We recorded another single side by side with In This Town and we hope to release it towards the end of the year!!


Loiter are:
Daryn Yeats (Lead Vocals/Bass) 
Amber Hudson (Vocals/Guitar) 
Mitch Chen (Lead Guitar/Vocals) 
Brandon Day (Guitar) 
Tim Ricketts (Drums/Vocals)

Photo: Will Johnstone

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With thanks to Habit Music Co.

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