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Bloods take us track-by-track through their new album 'Feelings'

In light of their stunning new album Feelings, we sit down with Bloods to get the low-down on how it all came together. 

Bring My Walls Down

Dirk: This one is exciting for me, it's the first Bloods tune that I brought in from scratch. Usually, MC writes, or the three of us jam out a song in the rehearsal room. I basically had this pretty complete tune, but the demo sounds really funny as I had no lyrics yet. So I'm kind of just hum-singing the tune in falsetto to give MC and Sweetie an idea of the melody (maybe we can save that one for the 20-year anniversary box set). Anyway, we figured it out, MC got to work on the lyrics, and in my opinion, she really knocked it out of the park. I love how visual her words are, it really paints a picture and it took what I thought was a pretty cool tune and made it one of my favorites on the album. 

Feelings

MC: This was the last song we put down for the record. I wrote it on a whim one morning and it actually all came together really quickly on the song-writing front. I was about five months into a break-up and had started seeing someone new, who I really liked. The line “learning to be happy without you” refer to both learning to move on from a broken heart and not relying on the new love to soothe the heartache. 

We rehearsed this song a couple of days before we had a recording session booked. I was a bit unsure about the track initially because I thought it kind of sounded like an early Taylor Swift song, like if you slow it down it could actually be a country song. Anyway, Dirk and Sweetie were encouraging and made it sound like Bloods instead. Mike (our new guitarist) produced this one for us, so it was a full Bloods team effort. This is also the only song that features Mike on guitar! He plays the cool riff in the verses. 

Talk 

MC: This is one I wrote a while ago when I was mucking around with the magic chord progression. It started as a joke because I wanted to see how dynamic you could make a song with the same four chords. I wrote the whole song really quickly one afternoon after I’d had an argument with my ex. I think the lyrics kind of speak for themselves. This is classic Bloods in that it’s actually quite a scathing song lyrically, but feels like it’s super sugary sweet and happy. 

It is also, in my opinion, is probably the most teen-movie sounding song we’ve ever put down, and if you look at the Bloods back catalogue, that’s a pretty big statement. 

Step Back

This one came as kind of a curveball to be honest. I love Beck and I wanted to write something with that Sex Laws old soul-funk drumbeat. I came up with that bass line because I wanted something that sounded like Peaches and then I started rapping a weird Kathleen Hannah inspired rap over the top, and after a couple of hours, I’d written the track.
I sent it to Sweetie and Dirk with a big question mark. I thought it could be cool as something we experimented with. We actually tried so many variations to make it sound more ‘Bloods’. We gave it at least two months of rehearsals, trying to change parts to bang it into Bloods shape. In the end Dirk just pointed out that the demo was actually really cool and should be how we play the song instead. He was right! I didn’t write actual lyrics to this song until the day before we went in to record it. Clearly, I was really feeling myself at the time. This was probably the most fun to put the vocals down too. Even Liam and Dirk make guest appearances in the gang vocals. Sweetie was actually meant to sing the lead on this track, but she couldn’t make the recording session we had booked so I ended up doing it instead.

Nothing Can Change

Dirk: This was the second song I presented to the band, and it's one of the more serious ones on the album in my opinion. I had the music part down, as well as the first verse and chorus, lyrically. MC finished up the lyrics and we were done! It's got a bit of a different structure for us, in that it has a pretty big double-time outro with solos and everything. I really dig how it builds and then collapses on itself at the end, with the vocal holding everything together. It was completely subconscious, but this song feels a little like a companion to an earlier Bloods song 'Back To You'. 

Bug Eyes 

MC: I wrote this one while I was going through a real 90’s renaissance. I’d been listening to Dookie a lot and I wanted to write something that felt like it could’ve been released in 1994. I knew it had to be love song and I wanted it to be almost obnoxious, so when I was writing all the lead guitar parts I made them deliberately sound naive, like schoolyard taunts. The lyrics are about that initial stage of seriously crushing on someone. The phase where all you do is think about them and when you are around them, everything comes out wrong or weird. I always described this one and BMWD as wanting them to sound as if Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers wrote a love song.

Penny’s Song 

MC: This song was written in about thirty minutes. It’s one of those rare songs that you start writing and everything just kind of comes pouring out. It’s a love song I wrote for my daughter, Penny, so I wanted it to sound sparkly (because she loves glitter) and for the verse to feel like it pulsated, like a heartbeat. This is one of the only songs we recorded with Liam in a proper, big studio. I’d been listening to a lot of Granddaddy and that was probably the biggest influence for this song. I remember Liam used about six guitar pedals to get that guitar tone and he’d get this crazy grin on his face every time I played a chord. It was pretty fun. 

Broken Heart 

MC: I wrote this song during a really weird time in my life, where I was pretty freshly out of a breakup. It felt like it was way too sweet a song for me to sing, so I thought Sweetie would do a much better job of conveying the song’s sentiment of longing and hope. I think she did a really amazing job of it. Mike produced this one and when we were recording it, I was playing guitar in the control room while Sweetie and Dirk put their parts down in the studio. At one point I turned around to Mike and the engineer and said, “I want the second half of this song to sound like a Ride song.” Without a blink, Jack who was engineering, plugged in a bunch of pedals and got that awesome, swirly guitar you hear in the bridge. Randomly, there was a Mellotron in the studio so we got that on there too, to emulate the weird drone coming out of the pedals and that added even more of that sweet shoegaze texture. 

Slow Break

MC: I wrote this one when I was really sad, I’m sure you can tell. It was actually really therapeutic to write at the time. It was like a torch song about anxiety. 

Part Of Me

MC: This song managed to sneak its way onto the record, as I’d never really intended for it to be recorded. I’d written it as a gift, but I remember I sent it to Sweetie and Dirk and when we were talking about the album, Sweetie flagged it as one of her favorites. I feel like this song is bursting with love and positivity, so it feels right that it’s the last song on the record. When I wrote the song, I wanted the chorus to sound as sugary sweet as possible. I’d been listening to a lot of girl group music and I wanted something that could’ve been taken straight out of a Shangri-Lah’s song.

 

Bloods will play Old Bar, Melbourne on Friday December 14 and the Union Hotel, Sydney on Saturday December 8.