Interview with Drastic Park|New EP. Imposter Syndrome

Drastic Park's been SCREAMING INTO WALLS and RECORDING IN CLOSETS to make their new Ep!? This trio of troublemakers are back again with their 2nd Ep of 2020 ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Drastic's very own John Stokes (Stokesy) and Chris Tannahill (Tannah) had a chat with Jess from Moody Music about their new EP and what is was like working with Cassie Sutton from Terra on ‘Work of Art’.


This drastic interview includes:

  • DRASTIC PARK's COLLABORATIVE WRITING & RECORDING PROCESS IN ISOLATION

  • FILMING OF THE OFFICIAL 'WORK OF ART' MUSIC VIDEO AT AN ART GALLERY

  • WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH CASSIE SUTTON (from Terra) ON 'WORK OF ART' ?

  • THEMES IN THE 'IMPOSTER SYNDROME' EP.

  • THE UNDERRATED/ UNDERDOG SONGS ON THE EP

  • FAVOURITE TRACK OFF THE NEW EP

  • FINAL WORDS FROM THE BAND

*please note Drastic Park are a very funny band, and love to have a laugh, some parts in the interview are intended to be in a jokey or sarcastic manner. And no unfortunately Drastic Park the musical is not currently in the works… yet, give a few more weeks in lockdown wink wink*

Interview with Drastic Park about their

new Ep ‘Imposter Syndrome’


DRASTIC PARK's COLLABORATIVE WRITING & RECORDING PROCESS IN ISOLATION


JESS (Moody Music) With your previous Ep. for ‘Last World’ that was also released in 2020 earlier this year, that was mostly written by you John wasn’t it?


STOKESY I wrote pretty much all of it. So, even the drums to an extent, but I think Jordan (former drummer) kind of just added his own thing to it. Same with Chris, I wrote the bass and then he added his own flavour from there. Yeah pretty much the songs were just like straight from my brain.


Obviously, this Ep is a little bit different, where we all kind of joined in.


JESS (Moody Music) You guys noted that you really wanted the new Ep. Imposter Syndrome to be very collaborative. How did that work with all you guys being in isolation, how was it more of a collaborative process between all of you? Was it like phone calls every night or sending bits and pieces back and forth?


STOKESY I don’t think we had a single phone call haha.


TANNAH haha yeah Facebook Messenger.


STOKESY Yeah, we would wake up with like 200 notifications every day. Cause we are always chatting anyway, so that was fine.


TANNAH and then these guys would have to wait like 200 years for my uploads to come through, so freaking slow internet out in the country.


STOKESY Especially with doing videos and stuff, cause we also did some in lockdown as well. Yeah, it was pretty easy actually in terms of the writing process. I think Chris wrote two songs, I wrote three songs, and then one song we all wrote together. So, the opening track on the Ep (Patience Wearing Thin), Joe wrote the drums, then I wrote the guitar and vocals, and then Chris wrote the bass and backing vocals, so that was a cool one. ‘It Feels Like Forever’, ‘Work of Art’ and ‘B+’ were all me, and the guys added their own thing. And then Chris’ ones were ‘Trouble’ and ‘10 Years’. So, it all just kind of started with writing on guitar pro and then took it from there. But it all just kind of went… I think I started with guitars, so, I would just record the guitars and then added my own stuff. Then it went on to Joe and Chris. Chris did bass while Joe did drums, and then it all just came together, and then we did vocals after that, so it was pretty much just all in a straight line. Except that I changed my mind every two seconds and drove these guys mad.


JESS (Moody Music) So, it was like passing the next part onto each other?


STOKESY It’s pretty much like that. The bones of the song were already done, like the structure of them were just done in a program call guitar pro where you can tab it out musicly. And then just went from there.


TANNAH A little bit of theatre in there too haha.


STOKESY haha yeah a musical, we are doing a musical guys, Drastic Park the musical!


JESS (Moody Music) Are you doing Drastic Park the musical? haha


STOKESY Nah Yeah, No haha.


JESS (Moody Music) can’t wait to see that at shows.


STOKESY I know right.


TANNAH Yeah


JESS (Moody Music) It’ll be a whole Broadway production


STOKESY I think I would be happy with just a show at this point.


TANNAH Yeah, it would be a perfect opportunity to bring back ‘dino-core’ John haha


STOKESY Nah, oh yeah, me and Chris once invented a genre of music called Dino-Core, that hopefully never hears the light of day!


TANNAH It was ridiculous! It was pretty much just playing like heavy guitars with screeches and stomping around, pretending we were dinosaurs.


JESS (Moody Music) haha do you have video evidence of this?


TANNAH I hope not!


STOKESY Nah, this was back when me and Chris didn’t even own mobile phones to film on.


That got slightly side-tracked with the brand new music genre Dino-Core, but let's save that for another day and get back to the new EP's collaborative process.


STOKESY I think it was different from the last one because, this time everyone was having their input constantly, with plenty of arguments in a good way, but that’s a good thing because we all cared about the songs and what they ended up as. That’s why the Ep is so different as well, while still having that Drastic Park sound.


JESS (Moody Music) How did it go with the physical recording? Like were you recording in a closet? Or in the bathroom, gotta get the acoustics right.


TANNAH Yeah, trial and error.


STOKESY haha I told Chris to record vocals in a closet, which is the most stupidest idea ever.


JESS (Moody Music) Did it work though?


TANNAH Not great haha.


STOKESY Well, what you will hear on the Ep is Chris in a closet. But probably next time, we wouldn’t do it that way. I just did it straight into a wall in a bedroom, and it was okay, just a little bit echoey. But in terms of equipment and stuff… all we did was buy the only thing we didn’t own which was just a drum microphone, so Joe got them. I already had a sixteen channel mixer, then I sent it to Joe, then he recorded his drums, and then Chris did have a mixing desk thing that broke. So, he had to borrow one.


TANNAH Yeah Oh My God.


STOKESY Yeah, we all had pretty average equipment, but we got it done.


JESS (Moody Music) was the Ep. fully recorded at home?


STOKESY Yeah it was all recorded in just like our rooms and stuff.


JESS (Moody Music) Would you do it again?


STOKESY I would do the mixing and recording ourselves again. But not in our houses at all, definitely go to a studio to do it. But, I think we just wouldn’t want the burden of it, and get a producer to do it.


TANNAH I mean we say that, but, it probably depends on how long lockdown goes for. We might get pretty bored in like three months if we are still stuck at home.


JESS (Moody Music) Yeah, cause this is your second Ep of just 2020, there’s still time, are we gonna see a third?


STOKESY Well, I’ve got like 50 songs just waiting there.


TANNAH Yeah, there’s heaps of material.


STOKESY Yeah, we’ve got tons of music. I’m always writing songs. But, Yeah I would definitely would do it again, but that’s just me because I enjoy all the learning and mixing sides of things. But I think, next time, we probably shouldn’t be learning. And we should just…


TANNAH Just go to a pro with it.


STOKESY Probably the hardest part for me, was with recording vocals, was not having someone there to record and cut as they go, and tell me if the tape was good or not.

FILMING OF THE OFFICIAL 'WORK OF ART' MUSIC VIDEO AT AN ART GALLERY


JESS (Moody Music) I wanted to talk about the latest single ‘Work of Art’ featuring Cassie Sutton from Terra. So, the actual video clip was shot in an art gallery, and in the background you’ve got all these Mona Lisa’s (paintings) everywhere, and the song features the lyric Mona Lisa. How did that happen, was it just pure coincidence?


TANNAH ha we are also artists!


STOKESY Yeah, we are all artists haha


JESS (Moody Music) That’s what I suspected! That you guys were up all night the night before, got the paint out, the crayons out and took it to the shoot next day.


STOKESY Originally, I was looking for an art gallery space and I found a bunch of them said no or too expense. We found this one for a reasonable price (HONEY BONES Gallery), and originally my plan was to get heaps of kids drawings and popped them all over the place. And obviously anyone can do a kid’s drawing haha so, we were going to post them everywhere. But then when I contacted the gallery, they were like ‘If you want we can leave our art up for our next exhibition’ and I’m like what is it, and they’re like ‘Mona Lisa’, and I’m like “What!?! YES!”. They showed me all the art, I’m like “this is sick”, and it was good because it was all appropriation of it to, which matches the whole imposter syndrome theme. Because it’s not real Mona Lisas, they’re all imposter Mona Lisas, so, it just fit so perfectly. I’m like “this is meant to be”, they you go it was an act of god.


JESS (Moody Music) It was a sign


TANNAH It was, straight up!


WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH CASSIE SUTTON (from Terra) ON 'WORK OF ART' ?


JESS (Moody Music) What was it like working with Cassie (from Terra) for this pop-punk song? Cause she would have just come off finishing ‘Into Deep Blue’, Terra’s singer/song writer Ep.


TANNAH She’s a complete bully! (jokingly)


STOKESY She had also just done a feature on Beach Panic as well, just after we had asked her to, so that was really cool. It was a very quick process because she’s such as pro. I recorded the vocals myself the first time I tried it like *high singing* it sounded horrible. And she heard it and surprisingly after hearing me sing like that, she was still so keen. I pretty much gave it to her, and in a few weeks, she got it to us done and just smashed it.

It was just like message, message, done and she just sent it. And I’m like “woah yep this is perfect”, and it was better recorded than our own stuff. I almost had to decrease the quality of hers just to get it to our level. I think her boyfriend Darcy produced it, and it was crisp as! She’s a pro.


With the music video we hadn’t met her yet in person, we had never played the song together, and we just all got together and she knew her parts inside out. She’s a pro. Luckily Joe our drummer is an absolute pro, he just walked in with playing the song once from recording and just played it. Whereas me and Chris, I don’t know if we were playing the right chords? haha


TANNAH Probably not haha


STOKESY The main thing is we were able to mime the lyrics so that was the main thing we focused on. But I’m pretty sure I played the right chords, but my guitar wasn’t even in tune, it wasn’t plugged so. But yeah, that was interesting.

Cassie was awesome!


TANNAH Yeah, she was definitely the star and yeah 100% would work with her again. If we were a four-piece and looking for member, she would definitely be in the band, she’s sick. I mean she’s got her own band, so she would probably turn us down, but you know haha


STOKESY Yeah it would be sick. But, I think me and Chris have struggled with four pieces and five pieces before, and we’ve got a good thing going with the three piece. 100% we would work with her if we ever needed some higher vocals.

THEMES IN THE 'IMPOSTER SYNDROME' EP.


JESS (Moody Music) For this new Ep ‘Imposter Syndrome’ there’s been a whole contrasting theme of light and dark, you can see it within the songs and how they are arranged on the track-listing, and also with the pink and green within the colour visuals. Why did you guys decide to do that?


STOKESY It actually started when Chris wrote the song 10 years, and basically in the vocals it pans. So, my vocals are panned right, his vocals are panned left all the way through the song, and it’s like the two voices in your head are fighting each other kind of thing. So, we just had this idea of just like one side verses the other all the time, and so light and dark. And if you invert pink and green, its green and pink, so we just kind of ran with that. And we all started to realise that all the songs kind of matched that in a way, the whole “imposter two sides”. If you listen to B+ its pretty much all the verses are positive (and the chorus is negative)…


JESS (Moody Music) B+ is so good *laughing*


TANNAH We were actually sitting on a zoom call with Maddii (Maddi Nightmare, Band Manager) and I was explaining the concept behind 10 years, and John’s just like during the meeting “I’ve got all these amazing ideas for it now, it’s like BANG, BANG”, so like it pretty much just sprouted up and all this visual stuff just hit John’s mind as I was talking, with like juxtaposed colours and the whole thing.


STOKESY My brain just exploded! This is why collaboration’s good, because the Ep was going in a very different direction, originally it was called ‘Lockdown Lullabies’. And then Chris said all that, and that’s why collaboration is good, it sparks my brain.


JESS (Moody Music) Was 10 years the first song on the ep. that was written?


STOKESY So that’s a tough one, Work of Art started a long time, like 4 years ago, as in I wrote that chorus a long time ago. The first song we did for this was definitely Feels Like Forever, I think, except it had a very different start, which we won’t go into… I wrote a riff and Chris was like, that’s way too much like Dammit by Blink 182. I’m like “F*ck off, it’s nothing like it”.


TANNAH But then we changed it, and it’s soo much better now anyway.


STOKESY Yeah, it’s so much better now. I’m glad he pushed me to change it, cause it’s pretty just a basic punk riff to start it and then get straight into it. So, I think that was the first one wasn’t it Chris?


TANNAH Well, it depends. As band yes, but on our own Work of Art existed like in patches four years ago, and then 10 Years I probably wrote six-eight months before, I just sent it to John as me playing bass and doing the different overlapping vocals and that. So, like the ideas were there for some of these songs well in advance, and we didn’t realise we were going to use them. We had other plans to do other music, but then this lockdown hit, so we’re like we gotta adapt, and can’t work with the people we want to work with at the moment cause none of them are working. So, we were just like why don’t we pick up some of our other projects we had on the back burner and then we wrote some new sh*t as well. So yeah I think that the oldest one would be Work of Art in a musical concept wise, even 10 years is probably six months old lyrically, but we really re-wrote this to bring it all together as a band.


STOKESY I think that even ‘feels like forever’ the chorus was actually a song I wrote ages ago about a girl rejecting me at a club haha, the chorus is actually way different now that I’ve changed it.


JESS (Moody Music) Now it’s an isolation song! What?!


TANNAH Yeah, it’s funny cause that’s what I’m Trouble’s about!


STOKESY B+ was literally, I just thought of an idea, like we had 5 songs I’m like wouldn’t it be good to have 6. And it was literally like, that chorus just hit my brain, and I’m just like ‘OH MY GOD! Wait!’, and I went away quickly wrote it on guitar pro and showed the guys, and in 20 minutes it was done. It was a massive joke, and originally it was just going to be acoustic and I sent it to Joe and he’s like ‘Oh My God! I’m putting drums on this!’


JESS (Moody Music) For the chorus of B+, was that just like written on a really bad day? Haha


STOKESY Nah haha. B+ is actually, making fun of people who have been freaking out this whole time. All the Karen’s who have been doing massive bulk shopping and panic buying. The verse is basically, you know, everyone is saying “you’re good, you’ll be fine, you’ll get through it”. And then there’s people who have gone psycho about and making things worse. It’s supposed to be a confusing song, cause it’s a confusing time. We haven’t really struggled through lockdown as bad as some people have, so we can’t complain.


TANNAH If anything, it’s probably made us write faster and be more prolific with our music.


THE UNDERRATED/ UNDERDOG SONGS ON THE EP


JESS (Moody Music) What song do you reckon is the underdog/underrated song that you think fans are going to be surprised by?


STOKESY Probably B+ haha


TANNAH I think B+ is gonna be huge! Initially when we did 10 Years and we were thinking like Ep, we were like maybe we won’t even have 10 Years on the Ep. or I’m Trouble either, cause we were like they might have not have been ready in time for when we wanted to release. But, then lockdown sort of blew out and got extended, and we were like ok obviously we have more time to ready this stuff together.


But, for me, I think 10 Years might be the underdog, it’s one that we didn’t even really expect to even use, it was just a maybe song. But then, when we heard it all put together with the dual vocals, it was like actually there’s something in this that’s got a really cool vibe to it. And people we were showing were like ‘Holy Crap! This is really good’ and we were like okay we definitely really need to keep this song then. That’s yeah probably from my point of view, that’s the one I didn’t expect it to even make an imprint on anything.


STOKESY The main thing is that people have said that it’s been a long time since someone has done something like that. And that’s actually, what you’re hearing there, it’s all Chris the way he writes the vocals with the overlapping. Which is like, I mean I haven’t heard it in a long time like either. Chris just has a good brain for that so, he’s been writing stuff like that for ages, just hasn’t seen the light of day yet.


JESS (Moody Music) He’s just hiding them all, he’s got all these hits, but just won’t show you guys haha.


TANNAH haha Nah, it stems back to when we used to have jams together, like 10-12 years ago, even back when we were like teenagers and we were listening to bands like The Used and Taking Back Sunday were huge, they had some songs with these over lapping vocals and they were our favourite things to do for a long time with these dual vocals.


STOKESY Yeah, that’s all we did.


TANNAH Yeah so, that’s something that we haven’t done in a full song for about 10 Years or maybe more. And so that was bringing that back, and having people receive it well, that’s been pretty impressive for us, because that could potentially lead to more dual vocal stuff in future that there wasn’t really any room for on the first Ep. because it was all written by John and from, you know, John’s perspective. There’s still a lot of that dual vocals and stuff, but not really through the whole song like in 10 Years.


STOKESY Yeah it’s funny in the first Ep, Jordan (former drummer) sang as well initially, so he was singing backing stuff, and so he’s in Bother Me, and Chris probably just had a few back up parts and we actually had a bit of back and forth on Nostalgia.


Chris stopped singing for ages and then I think we just wanted to do more dual stuff as well, because not many people are doing it in a cool way.


TANNAH I definitely lost a fair bit of my range in coming back to writing stuff, this is why we didn’t even consider having me singing Cassie’s part (in Work of Art), because like back in the day I might have been able to hit most of it, not all of it, but then like this time around it’s like nah I can’t hit those notes anymore I just can’t get there. That was why we incorporated Cassie instead of one of us doing those higher parts.


But for me, yeah definitely I took maybe 3 years off singing just to rest my voice and I had this uncomfortable tension in my throat feeling just from history of abusing my vocal chords singing stupid high trying to be that kind of vocalist, like screaming, metal band, all sorts of sh*t like that, you know so I completely wrecked it. And now I’m back into it and I’m a bit more cautious of that and careful with how far I push it, but I’ve also learned to sing in a few differently styles now a bit more properly without hurting myself.


So, for now, like these days you’ll hear a lot of my harmonies be lower harmonies, whereas they used to be in the past higher harmonies, so that’s a bit more comfortable for me. And it kind of leads to this different dynamic or different sound as well where you’ve got two singers that can sing lows and highs, but I tend to stick to the lower level. But I think we actually get this, you know how you get Mark Hoppus in Blink 182 he’s sort of got this more round and vibrant voice, and then you’ve got Tom DeLonge with the more higher pitch sort of stuff. And it’s sort of, just how naturally our voices are, and they happen to be our biggest influences as well so, I think it’s pretty to cool being able to sing a bit more in my own style is fitting more the band to.


STOKESY and we’ve got more songs with Chris coming up in the future so stay tuned.


FAVOURITE TRACK OFF THE NEW EP


JESS (Moody Music) What’s your favourite track off Imposter Syndrome?


TANNAH at the moment? haha


JESS (Moody Music) Does it change every week? haha


TANNAH Yes!


STOKESY So, Work of Art would be my favourite, but I’ve heard it so much I think I just find Feels Like Forever the easiest to listen to. But, at the same time, I have favourites for all different reasons, it’s so tough haha I think I really like B+ right now even though it’s not even our style. I can just listen to it and enjoy it so much, just because of how comedic it is. But yeah if I had to answer, it would just definitely be Work Of Art, just because it is the Drastic sound, like it’s almost a direct follow up to 'Lost World', it could’ve fit on that Ep as well.


TANNAH Yeah, I would agree. Work of Art is the masterpiece so to speak, on the record and you know because it has Cas in it, it’s a real stand out obviously. Yeah as John said, it kind of links up nicely with our previous sound but also brings in a bit more of my vocals and my backing, and then having Cassie there just brings it to this next level that we’ve never had before so that’s really cool. But I figured it would also have the most appeal, and like at the moment we are getting so much amazing feedback about it and we are pumping the promos on it, and like it’s hard for it not to be the favourite because it’s getting all the attention and all the love.


But I tend to agree with John, like when we were first recording B+ and when John finally put it together he was really frustrated by the way it was being mixed by him, he was like ‘I really can’t get around this song, this is annoying the sh*t out of me’ and put so much work into this song, and then was like ‘OH MY GOD! I’m actually starting to love this song’, like man it sounds amazing and has always sounded amazing. I said to him, I’m like B+ is gonna be your Blur ‘Song 2’, where you end up hating it, but it’s the reason you get famous.


STOKESY I think it was just tough cause I hadn’t really thought about mixing much yet, and I was doing a lot of widening of vocals, that’s when all the vocals are like just across the channels kind of thing, and same with bass, I was widening the bass for some stupid reason and I just watched like one tutorial and it said, ‘vocals straight down the line, bass straight down the line and then guitar, guitar and the drums fill the rest and I’m just like “no sh*t” and then I redid all the songs and the guys were so pissed cause they thought we were done, and then they were like ‘oh wait sh*t this is crisp as!’, I’m like that’s cause I didn’t watch a single tutorial and thought I could just teach myself without doing that. So, thank you whoever did that tutorial. So yeah, I learnt a lot of things, but got there in the end, and yeah it sounds sick now.

FINAL WORDS FROM THE BAND

JESS (Moody Music) Do you guys have any final words that you would like to say about Imposter syndrome, and any messages you would like to get out to your fans?


STOKESY We have fans?


TANNAH My Mum says I’m cool!


STOKESY Yeah, my Mum says I’m cool.


Just listen to it I guess and stay tuned for more because we are always active, always writing and always being creative. And also, go easy on me for the home mixing, first time mixing.


TANNAH We were like initially these are just home recordings, we are not going to do anything with them they’re a bit of fun for a demo. And then as we put more time and energy into them and as John learnt the art of mixing, we were like holy crap this could be an Ep. and then we were like well we don’t want these songs to go to waste anymore, these are sounding really good.


For me final messages, I guess just on a small note like with 10 Years it touches on some pretty heavy themes with the split personality or split perspective side, which is kind of a dominant theme through the Ep. it might be a pretty vital time to remind people to speak up and there is help out there if you are feeling any mental pressure like you know call your hotlines, your Beyond Blue’s, reach out to your friends, there is so much freaking craziness in the world right now with all of this Rona sh*t, so I think it’s just important to remind people. Cause it’s such a lyrically heavy song that’s gonna be dropping with such a heavy theme, we want people to know they have support around them and they should reach out, or even find ways like I did when I was having a hard time, put it down on paper, put it out on music, write it down, speak to someone and get it out. Yeah, we are in the most unprecedented first situation of anyone of our lives.


STOKESY And if your listening to it and feel depressed, just go listen to B+ haha.


TANNAH That’s right, it’s a polar opposite haha


STOKESY you know we keep saying “B-plus” all the time, it supposed to be “B-positive”. Yeah, we keep saying B+, cause we have this running joke of what all the song’s names mean. And we would be talking about stuff like ‘oh it feels like forever since that..’, or ‘my patience is wearing thin’, and then it’s like I give this song a B+, so the joke has lead to us calling it B-plus, but it’s supposed to be Be-positive.


TANNAH Yeah as per the lyrics.


STOKESY The only reason that’s it’s like that is because we wanted the song names to slowly get smaller, so Patience Wearing Thin is the first one and then all the song name get smaller as they go down. Except because we have Cassie featuring, the song name for Work of Art


JESS (Moody Music) Yeah, it chunks out!


STOKESY It F*cks it up haha


TANNAH She F*cked up our masterpiece, while giving us another masterpiece haha.


That was John Stokes and Chris Tannahill from Drastic Park chatting about their brand new Ep. Imposter Syndrome which is OUT RIGHT NOW! Also if you haven’t seen the music video for Work of Art what have you being doing?!?! Go check out that masterpiece! You won’t regret it, that’s a promise!


Drastic Park are

John Stokes (Vocals/ Guitar)

Chris Tannahill (Bass/ Vocals)

Joe Larwood (Drums)


Imposter Syndrome Ep. tracklisting

Patience Wearing Thin

Feels Like Forever

Work Of Art feat. Cassie Sutton

I'm Trouble

10 Years

B+


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Sat 22 Aug 2020