'Let The Sunburnt Country Burn' was Recorded in Berlin, Sydney and an abandoned Shearing shed 40 minutes South of Mudgee in Western NSW, Australia.
I had just finished recording the second Westernsynthetics album, my electronica / dub / psychedelic dance music project and was living in Berlin playing big dance parties and club raves when I decided I wanted to write a blues, punk and country album. I wanted to go back to guitars and song writing. I was bored of synths...
While in Berlin I ran into an old friend from Wangaratta, Luke Millar. Luke had just arrived from London fed up with washing dishes and keen as mustard to start writing music again. We formed the Greta Mob while drunk at sunset on the highest natural hill in Berlin, Vicktoria Park, in the summer of 2011 at the height of the Arab Spring and at the beginning of the Occupy movement. We started rehearsing the following week and tracked a good chunk of the drums at Freeborn Studios in Kreuzberg a month after our chance meeting.
The rest of the album was completed later that year with Sofie Loizou and Bill Skermer in a shearing shed 40 minutes drive south of Mudgee in Western NSW. I was out there doing construction and timber work for the Milkwood Permaculture Farm. Part of the deal was that I got full use of the shearing shed to record. I would work most of the day on the house and record at night, often only getting a few hours sleep. The percussion on the album comprises of old railway bolts, chunks of steel and rusted farming equipment I found when I was looking for second hand timber in an old abandoned timber yard in the dying mining town of Kandos.
Final tracking was done in my studio in St Peters in Sydney. Mostly we tracked in the fire escape hallway next to the studio as I found it has an incredible natural reverb. In fact, hardly any synthetic reverb units were used on the recording, the reverb you are hearing is the sound of the shearing shed, the fire escape from the old factory warehouse my studio is in and the big warehouse recording room in Kreuzberg. The track, “The Building Is Talking” is me playing a harp in the rain in Berlin in the middle of four tall buildings that created an incredible echo chamber. I stuck a mic out the window of the 5th story and that was our reverb. The reverb on the drums is a lovely old German grand piano positioned close to the drum kit with a brick on the sustain pedal.
I started calling the band Greta Mob after the motley band of Irish horse thieves that knocked about the Wangaratta district in the 1870’s that formed the nucleus of an ill fated Irish republican guerrilla army around the Kelly Gang. In the early stages of recording and writing, all the players were from Wangaratta and were of either Irish or Aboriginal decent. The song “Yorta Yorta” was partly written while I was working on hop yards in the Myrrhee Valley, not far from Stringy Bark Creek where Ned Kelly shot those coppers. The name stuck.
The cover art is by Australian artist Peter Mack. It was painted from the back porch of his house not far from Mudgee. Unbeknownst to either of us around the same time he was painting this beautiful piece, we were recording the album. Effectively the musical version of his work, in a shearing shed a few miles up the road. His painting perfectly sums up the mood of the album.
Since this album’s completion Greta Mob has solidified into a band beyond Luke and myself to include Tim Korn, Adam Kennedy and Shane Fahey from the legendary Australian post-punk group, Scattered Order . At the time of writing we are putting the finishing touches to the second Greta Mob album recorded by the five of us after spending nearly a year touring and honing our sound as a live unit. Let The Sunburnt Country Burn is the foundation upon which our second album and live band are built.
Special thanks is due to Sofie Loizou who consulted, encouraged and constructively criticised me throughout. She also put up with my bullshit as a result. I love you.
This album is dedicated to the people of the Yorta Yorta nation and their ongoing struggle for peace, justice and the return of their stolen lands.
Rhyece O’Neill October 3, 2013
released November 29, 2013
‘LET THE SUNBURNT COUNTRY BURN’
Rhyece O’Neill: Vox, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion, synths, rhodes, piano, organ, harmonica; Luke Millar: Drums; Sofie Loizou: Or- gans, Synths; Charles Smith: Piano; Tim Korn: Guitar, Melodica; Emm Collins: Vox, backing vocals; Bill Skermer: Bass, percussion; Matt Knight: Lead guitar; Kirsten Bradley: backing vocals; Simon Paparo: backing vocals
GRETA MOB LIVE
Rhyece O’Neill: vox, electric guitar, harmonica; Luke Millar: drums; Tim Korn: electric guitar, pedals; Adam Kennedy: bass; Shane Fahey: VCS3 Synth & pedals
GRETA MOB MANAGEMENT
Henry Compton: compton.henry(at)gmail(dot)com
GRETA MOB: www.gretamob.com
P+C Rhyece O’Neill 2013. All Rights of the owner of the copyright in this sounds recording reserved. Any copying, renting, lending, diffusion, public performance or broadcast without the authority of the copyright owner is prohibited. Copyright Control.
DISCLAIMER: This album was completed and named in December 2012 and in no way does its title reference the recent tragic fires in New South Wales.