Polished To Perfection: Bare Bones On Debut LP ‘Bad Habits’ and DIY Approach To Music

Sydney’s five-piece punk rock band Bare Bones are on wildfire and nothing can contain their excitement when it comes to their music. Their latest debut record Bad Habits is filled with riffs and dangerous instrumentation. Some have described their music as “furious” and “not for the faint-hearted”, accurately depicting the genius minds behind an angry yet powerful outfit.

Making themselves known within the local scene while playing at heavy music festivals such as Soundwave and UNIFY Gathering, Bare Bones enthuse on the idea of making everything on their own. We have a chat with drummer Chris Blancato on why it took them almost four years to pump out a new release while explaining the experiences that have shaped them to the band they are now.

Bare Bones’ debut record is out now and that must be exciting for you guys – it’s been really well-received as well. How do you feel about it being finally out and getting this response for Bad Habits?

Well, I suppose it’s pretty long journey for us to do it. I mean, it’s been almost four years since we released our last EP. I think we were all pretty anxious in anticipating for it to kinda come out. For us, we’ve been sitting on these songs for quite a while now and we’d spent a couple of years crafting and really going through the demo process and the pre-production process in a lot more detail than we had done in any of the releases so far.

To have it finally out is really cool and it’s really good to see what people have thought about it so far. I think we were a little bit anxious – there’s a little bit of a new sound, while it’s also got a lot of our older elements in there as well so it’s good to see that it’s been well-received so far. We’ve been pretty happy with it.

Fantastic, dude. Obviously, it’s been a long time coming considering the fact you did release an EP almost four years ago. So obviously the dynamic for making this record was probably different. How would you describe the progression from the debut compared to what you worked on in your EP releases?

Well, I think it’s something, which a lot of bands are gonna face when they kind of get to the point of doing the album. As much as you don’t want to dwell on this too much, I think it’s one of the biggest challenges people get especially when they do the debut album kind of thing. With the EP,  you can get away with you know four, five or six songs and you’re kind of just looking at the ‘cream of the crop’ – whatever you’ve got, ready to go, and it’s usually a run time of 20 minutes, sometimes even less. You can kinda get away with being a little less dynamic about the way you’re writing the songs and what you’re putting into the EP.

But when you get to twelve tracks, you need to have something a little more dynamic so I suppose one of the conscious things, at least from a writing standpoint, is that we had to incorporate a few more varied kind of sounds just to keep it a little bit more interesting over a twelve track, 35-40 minute listen. I think that was probably one of the biggest things we considered in making the album as opposed to another EP.

“You don’t have to work with someone else to make something happen.”

Did you guys at any point feel outside of your comfort zones when you were making this debut record or did you feel comfortable cause you knew where the direction of the record was going?

We did feel really out of our comfort zones but being honest, I don’t think we really did, you know. Our main ethos in creating the album is that we kinda want to make some music that we all really dig. When that’s kinda the main goal and objective, I don’t think that it’s too overwhelming and confronting to have that task of doing an album and putting that together ahead of you. If you just want to make music that you love, that is what you wanna do.  We had a lot of time to really refine the pre-production process and the demoing process to really make sure it was something we were really stoked with.

I guess having that time to work on that record sort of helped you guys process the it a lot more and really invest in it too.

We also had a bit of a luxury of being able to release a couple of singles along the way. We released “White Knuckles Black Tar” and “Dead Man Walking”, which was a good opportunity for us to kind of test the waters with. I mean, we talk about a new sound and stuff like that but it’s not vastly different from what we were doing before. At the same time, we managed to go in and do it and play a couple more times and actually make changes to them before we actually went into recording the songs.

You worked with Jonno Peters on this one as well. When you worked on the record with him, how did your work together shape the record?

It’s always been kind of like an internal – a little bit more of a DIY approach to the way it is. I mean, in saying that, I’m a record producer for a living so personally, I found it a little more challenging than working with a band, which I haven’t really worked before. In saying that, we had Jonno Peters on board to do the album with us and he really, really helped us with the songwriting aspect and really getting the dynamics, adding some extra spins and a little more variance in the album. He was, I suppose, a really big part of doing that. His production style and his production methods really come from a songwriting approach more than just the sonics and the ‘how big and how shiny’ the album can sound. I think his influence on that was really one of the best things that kind of happened to the album, you know.

Like you said, you were really involved in the production process. Did you sort of help with the mixing process?

Jonno’s role in the record was really more on the songwriting approach to helping us get that up to speed and as I said, you don’t spend four years crafting a record. You put this record together and it’s really hard to kind of have that perspective on what’s really good, what’s not. What’s the record missing, and what it isn’t – he was able to come in and kind of do that. In terms of the sonic side of things, I kind of handled most of that myself. When it came to mixing and mastering, I did that all myself with the album so I suppose having an extra producer to kind of work with, was definitely more on the songwriting thing.

The most challenging part of it is when you’re sitting there mixing an album and it’s your own album. You really want it to be perfect and you want it to be the best it can be but when it’s kind of within your control, it’s really hard to have that endpoint where it’s like alright, well it’s done, you know. You never really get that so you have to be really quite disciplined to say, ‘Okay, well we’re not making any more changes and we’re going to release this now.’

It must be really hard to just be happy with what you produce because obviously you wanna do better but you still think it needs to be fixed or something.

Well, that’s it. You don’t have to work with someone else to make something happen. So if you listen to the album one day and you decide that you want to make a change to it, it’s not really hard for you to go out and do that yourself. 

I think it’s really cool that you guys have supported the likes of Every Time I Die, Northlane. You also played a slot at Soundwave Festival in 2015. How have those experiences shaped the band?

I think being exposed to the bigger end of the industry, especially within our scene. I mean if you look at most of those – whether it’d be Soundwave Festival or UNIFY Gathering or even a lot of those supports, I think it’s generally given us a little bit of inspiration, a bit of a template to the way you conduct yourself around those kinds of shows and overall professionalism, I think it could be one of the best things you can experience as a local band – to be able to kind of have that influence. Fortunately for us, we’ve managed to have really great opportunities to be around that.

Through those experiences as well, you’re building your fanbase and a community of listeners. I think it’s cool to be in that local live scene of music too. It’s rewarding to see the diversity of the crowd.

It’s funny you mention that because we’re involved with a kind of real modern heavy rock/metal scenes. But when we had the opportunity of supporting Black Label Society, we were exposed to another demographic and scene of punters. I think that was probably one of the biggest [and] one of the best gigs we have ever played in terms of exposing us to a new audience.

Bad Habits is available now through Resist Records. Read our review of it HERE