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78 Saab

The home rehearsal studio smells like stale beer, looks mighty messy and like a boy's club - which can only mean that Sydney faves 78 Saab are back in full-force with an upcoming tour. Perhaps it's best to clean up the rehearsal space, however, as frontman Ben Nash considers - especially since the arrival of new band member Kristin Morley on the organ.

 

"Yep, we've got our own rehearsal space set up which reeks like guys," confirms Nash. "But now we've got a girl in the band, so we're trying to stop swearing as much. Kirsten has been a friend of the band for a while and she's come on board to help flesh out the sound a bit more. It just makes sense because we've always had organ parts on record and now we'll also have it in the live experience.

 

"The plan is to tour the album over the next couple of months and then start working on some new material. We'll look at releasing another single for next summer, then we're looking at record another album. We admit that we've been a bit lazy the last couple of years and we've had no album for like three years, and that's the first thing that comes from the fans too - they're always telling us to hurry up and work a bit quicker! Hopefully there'll be a new album in the first couple of months of 2012."

 

Of course, 78 Saab's current and fourth album Good Fortune is by no means old news. Released in August last year, the record has spawned the latest single Warm Jets as well as led to an upcoming national tour. According to Nash, the album in general has been a bittersweet experience for the band.

 

"To me personally, Warm Jets is a really special song," says Nash of the single. "It's been a bit of a template for the whole album actually. A really good mate of mine passed away in 2008 - he was a brilliant photographer who did some photo shoots for us as well. The song was built around him and his love of photography, but the trick was to write this song about a mate passing away, though without sounding too heavy-handed. In the end I was happy with the way the message is conveyed - it's still uplifting at the same time as touching."

 

As it happens, according to Nash it was a series of different events that played a major part on the theme of Good Fortune. The band had been drifting and procrastinating for a while at that point, the music taking a backseat to 'real life' - but when real life showed its uglier side, Nash and co. realised just how important music really was…

 

"We were going through a difficult time as a band anyway. We didn't really talk about things, we just internalised a lot of stuff lyrically, maybe that's why the album is a bit darker than usual. But when you have a close friend that passes away or issues on the home-front, it makes you realise how fleeting life can be and how important it is to grab those opportunities. You just may not be here next month. As soon as that hit home for us, we realised we still had a purpose as a band and we'd been coasting around for too long. We knew we were capable of walking into the rehearsal room and punching out a couple of good songs - so we decided to do that and concentrate completely."

 

In that sense, Nash claims it's been a bit of a return to the band's earlier philosophy when putting songs together used to be fun and exciting. Giving it a hundred percent and nothing less, Nash says Good Fortune sees a rejuvenated 78 Saab and marks a new cycle for the lads.

 

"Good Fortune was titled because we've really had good fortune in that we are still mates with a good body of work behind us as a band. From day one the philosophy has always been that you're in charge of your own destiny. It's amazing when you think that we started out in Canberra back in 1996 after winning a band competition. Once the band managed to find its own identity and its true sound - that was the most exciting experience ever. When you start putting together quality songs you realise that this is no longer an illusion, you're a real band. It's that moment of, 'wow, we're really onto something here…' I think maybe with our first album (Picture A Hum, Can't Hear A Sound, from 2000) we were still sort of throwing everything into the kitchen sink to see what sticks. I look back on it and it does seem like anything goes on that album. After that, I really think we refined our sound and got a lot more disciplined and that in itself was the biggest highlight for me."

 

78 SAAB play The Northcote Social Club this Saturday March 5 - tickets from 9486 1677 or northcotesocialclub.com. Good Fortune is out now through Other Tongues.