Engine Three Seven

If their sophomore EP Atmosphere cemented them as a bonafide Melbourne rock juggernaut, then the upcoming DVD video album is set to put ex-Byron Bay lads Engine Three Seven on the map as one of the nation's most ambitious and sonically impressive live acts. Frontman Casey Dean reckons it's been a while coming, and the rest of Australia is about to find out why… 

"We finished our second EP Atmosphere at the end of 2010 and spent the last 12 months touring that," Dean explains. "It's been really cool because it's kicked us into gear in Melbourne and really opened the door for us within that rock scene, which was what we were trying to break into since we moved over here. We moved four years ago, but it took us about a year to first find our feet, then we spent a while gigging around, then we recorded our [self-titled] EP and then we released Atmosphere. The first record was very acoustic-y and folky, which is not really what we sound like now, we've moved on from that and you can hear it on the second EP."


Much heavier than its predecessor, the band's last EP was truly a communal effort, according to Dean - with Jarrod Hearman and Forrester Savell jumping onboard to help Engine Three Seven in the most quirky of ways.


"I was living in St Kilda at the time in the attic of a recording studio. It was a professionally-built studio but hadn't been used for 15 years, so we got it back to its original format and then we met Jarrod who did engineering for Mammal. I'd always planned to work with Forrester Savell ever since I moved to Melbourne because he was up there in the vein of our music. In the end we decided to get Jarrod to record and produce Atmosphere but get Forrester to mix it. So the way we worked was like a production chain! I'd finish the vocals of a song, then pass the hard-drive to Jarrod, then he'd work on it and pass it onto Forrester and then he'd start mixing it, and I'd be back on vocals in the meantime for the next song all over again…"


While it was yet another team effort when it came to the band's next project, it was on a whole different scale, according to Dean. Going all out and getting about as ambitious as a band possibly could, Engine Three Seven are about to release a "DVD video album" which not only pushes the boundaries musically, but also technically too.


"It's a video/audio bundle which is something not many Melbourne bands have done before. It's also just been signed to Valleyarm Digital Music for international distribution and it's coming out on iTunes on [Saturday] December 24. Basically, every song is broken up into individual clips so you can buy an individual film clip and when you buy it you get the video but you get the audio for your iPod too. So it's a pretty big push on the technology side which we were keen to try - just to see what mediums and formats we could provide punters with. It's probably the most out-there way we've ever gone about it. It's definitely been the biggest project we've ever undertaken as a band and it's really weird how it happened in the first place."


Rather than put on just another live gig, Dean and co. decided to up the ante a bit… Well, quite a bit. Recruiting Josh Meney from Non-Entity Designs, Engine Three Seven decided to go all-out no holds barred when it came to a particular show at The Evelyn. One thing led to another, as Dean puts it, with the result being something akin to a 50-minute album all done in one take…


"We had this show coming up and we figured, 'Well why don't we just shoot it'. We got onto a lad called Josh Meney who's a young kid that's done amazing artwork for bands like Mammal, so then he got onto his mates as well and the whole idea just grew bigger and bigger until we ended up with 11 cameras! The kids on the night were just going nuts - it was madness left, right and centre. One of our mates from Byron Bay who did our first EP, Sam Hannan, he came to Melbourne 12 months ago and started a new studio called The Alley so he said if Josh is doing all that with the video component, come in and we'll hire some gear and we'll record the whole thing properly! We had 22 channels coming off the stage and into the desk and then off the mixing desk into Sam's computer, from there we'd take the recording and have the audio mixed properly. So we ended up with a proper quality album all done in one go. It literally just got bigger and bigger and people were putting their hands up to help us out from all over the place, so we ended up with a full-length album."


As those who witnessed the entire spectacle would already know, the set list was a combination of the band's two EPs melted into one, and it's only whet the band's appetite for yet another full-length album of original material in the new year.


"We've already started writing for that, we want to make sure we've got about 25 tracks to work with," Dean reveals. "We're about halfway there already, we just haven't decided the specifics of who, when and where in terms of the people we want to work with. We're much more relaxed as a band now so it's flowing easier because we've got that confidence now. We're the most comfortable with each other that we've ever been because of the process we went through making the first two EP and now this massive DVD. First we're going to launch the DVD, then we're going to have a bit of a break, then some of us will focus on some of our side-project, and then the new stuff will come in the new year. But for now we're excited about being able to just say a big thank you to everyone with this DVD, it was a massive job for us so we're looking forward to seeing it do its thing."

Engine Three Seven play The Espy on Friday December 23.