Today, we’re premiering the latest track from Sunset Junkies. Band leader Byron Short discussed the single at length with us, offering an insightful look into the hard-hitting, rollicking track.
‘Inertia’ was conceived in my studio, Endurance, after I had purchased – on whim – an Ibanez 7-string guitar that was on special at a music store in The Valley. Since my days as a bleach blonde pre-teen, obsessed with Silverchair, Nirvana and Soundgarden, I had cultivated a love of heavy music, alongside my propensity for Blues, Country, Americana, Folk, Jazz, Hip Hop, Soul, RnB, Roots, Classical and just about every other genre you could imagine. Buying a 7 string, I thought, might encourage me to explore my love of heavy riffage and inspire me to incorporate it more into my songwriting. Having released a string of solo albums that really only hinted at a heavy side and focused more on a singer-songwriter aesthetic, albeit with a plethora of different musical influences and production techniques, I felt like a part of me was screaming out to create something extremely dense, layered and heavy which still leaned on the catchy songwriting sensibility I has cultivated my entire working life.
When I plugged in the guitar and tuned the low string down to a guttural ‘B’, the riff for ‘Inertia’ seemed to escape from my fingers and spring to life, informing the rest of the writing of the track and subsequently, the album it would come to belong to. Its heavy passages were balanced by lush verse sections, punctuated by acoustic guitar and piano and underpinned by layers of ambient synth sounds. As the track began to build, the lyrics and melody began to take shape. I had been heavily influenced at the time by popular science writers like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene and Edward O. Wilson and a concept formed in my mind around the parallels between celestial bodies (like stars and planets) and human bodies. A perfect vehicle for this juxtaposition, to my mind, was the principle of inertia, which has both scientific and social connotations. The first two couplets of the first verse quite neatly sum up the theme of the lyrics
Billions of bodies suspended in space
Cast a cold eye on this human race
Billions of bodies drifting through time
We jump the gun and we walk the line
‘Inertia’ came along with impeccable timing. I had just fleshed out the line up that would become Sunset Junkies with a brutally hard hitting and technically mind blowing drummer who felt right at home in the heavy realm the new music was pointing at. Daniel Trickett had been my mate for 10 years and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before our creative paths crossed. Bassist, Jeremy Klysz had been a member of the band that had backed me as a solo artist for the last couple of years. He had a blues background but also held a deep understanding and appreciation for styles as diverse as jazz, soul, punk and metal. I knew this was the lineup that could explore this new direction with me and decided to form Sunset Junkies as a fresh start for a fresh sound.
Also contributing to ‘Inertia’ is Richie Thayil, a brilliant piano/keys player with a jazz and classical background and Ellie Jane, a frighteningly talented rock songstress in her own right who provided some gorgeous backing vocals. After building up the track over many moons I consulted with my studio guru, Stefan Fuller about who might be able to handle a mix of this magnitude (the track count had blown out to almost 200, including layers upon layers of voices). After putting the feelers out for some local mix engineers, we decided to send the track to a small selection of what we referred to as ‘pipe dream options’ to see if we could get lucky. To our delight, David Bottrill, a world renowned producer, mixer and studio engineer who had previously mixed some of our favourite records by the likes of Tool, Silverchair, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and Muse replied to us within days with an offer we couldn’t refuse. We now had what I considered to be a killer band with a killer track with a killer mix. Joao Carvalho did the mastering in Canada to add the mysterious sheen that good mastering engineers seem to magically manifest and we had something we were all extremely proud of.
The icing on the cake is the artwork, put together by Adrian Maione at Skybar Studios which, I think, perfectly reflects the sentiment of the track and sets the tone for future releases.
I hope people love ‘Inertia’. It’s the music I’ve always wanted to make.
The track will be officially released on all platforms on Monday the 5th of February.