States of delirium and other things that shaped STUMPS’ debut album, ‘All Our Friends’

States of delirium and other things that shaped STUMPS’ debut album, ‘All Our Friends’

Photo by Jack Steel

The indie three-piece walk us through some of the unconventional sources of inspiration behind their new record.

Sydney trio STUMPS have revealed their debut album, All Our Friends, a genre-bending journey exploring heartbreak, not fitting in, depression and the general pressures of being alive today. While the content matter may seem a little bleak, the danceable melodies inspired by Brit-pop, late ’90s and early ’00s alt-rock and indie-pop makes for existentialism you can dance to – or contemplative disco, if you will.

The sonic backdrop is like a big, warm hug that promises it will all be okay, even if the lyrics tell a different story. The clever, reflective songwriting featured across All Our Friends calls for further inspection, so we caught up with the three-piece to hear about what inspired the songs on the album and the answers were not what you’d expect.

The Gerald Street apartment

I was going to put the full address in here for impact’s sake, but considering it’s a residential address (and not my own), I definitely cannot. This three-bedroom apartment was where the album came to life. Our producer, manager, and two other friends share an apartment and we pretty much moved in with them for three weeks to make this record. That was on top of months of demoing in their loungeroom, getting Guzman veg burritos delivered, and effectively making up wins to have bevs there after sessions. As a result of the housemates not strangling us, the entire apartment block not burying us in noise complaints, and a healthy dose of 3am delirium, the album started to take shape.

Soda water

While a hopped beverage may be the more obvious tonic for a band to get around, and we can’t exclude ourselves from that category either, we have recently formed quite the bond around soda water. Me and Jonny almost literally praise the SodaStream (not sponsored… Unless?). We know it’s a bit of a contentious beverage, and many people think less of us for being such huge fans of the straight fizz, but we are such big fans that as a placeholder name for a song, we dedicated it to soda water, with ‘Mouth Static’. I think the inspo initially came from a tweet from our dear friend Johnny Hunter, saying that soda water tastes like “tv static”. Maybe they were talking shit, but we went in to bat for it. So the placeholder name stuck.

Post-midnight songwriting

Lots of the ideas for the record, both initial song ideas and finishing touches, came in the wee hours of the morning. Some were extremely over-the-top insanity, such as the birth of ‘I’ve Had Enough’. We were all in the apartment just yelling shit at 2am over the guitar line that runs throughout the song, and Kyle just starting saying “Hey, I want Babaganoush, you want Babaganoush?”. Half the room thought it was hilarious and the other half were completely off it. Anyway, we all woke up singing it the next morning and so we stuck with the melody.

On the flipside, with ‘Mt. Pleasant’, the song was pretty much written musically but the lyrics weren’t quite matching the sonics. After a large night out, on the way home, Kyle had one of those self-loathing streams of consciousness that seemed to perfectly fit the music. I think all up the lyrics took five or so minutes to write. It’s strange how different those songs ended up considering their similar origin.

All My Friends is out now. Give it a spin here. STUMPS play the Grace Darling Hotel on Saturday May 15, 2021. More info via the band’s website.

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.