Interview: The Laurels

Noise purveyors The Laurels are launching their debut EP after a five year wait. Guitarist and vocalist Piers Cornelius talks of the sometimes hard road to Mesozoic.

The myth of The Laurels’ EP is a well-known tale in the Sydney scene. Renowned for their astounding live shows that attack audiences with wall-to-wall sound, the four piece formed five-odd years ago. They’ve since played shows in nearly every venue across our city and supported heroes such as Swervedriver and Low, but whispers of a record have lead to nothing until now with their debut EP Mesozoic. Though fans may have been waiting impatiently, there’s a solid reason behind the delay.

“We were strapped for cash I guess,” explains Cornelius. “It’s pretty costly getting all that stuff mastered and working out how you’re going to release it.”

“Recently we’ve been learning a whole bunch of new songs to play live, cause we finished recording the EP last year sometime, and just spent a little while getting it mastered and the artwork done, stuff like that. We’ve just been hanging around, twiddling our thumbs, learning new songs, waiting to go back into the studio again. And it won’t take that long ever again, hopefully.”

The real story behind the making of the EP says more of The Laurels’ dedication to ensuring their music is always representative of them at the moment, rather than the past.

“I think we started [making the EP] probably in 2007,” says Cornelius. “We started recording with the aim of doing an album and we spent quite a long time because we could only do it sporadically, because the studio was set up, so that we were recording in a place that was an office in the day time hours, so we could only really do it at night whenever our producer Jon (Hunter, The Holy Soul) was free, and whenever we all were free. We were all working and it ended up being one night a month over a couple of months.

“Then after we completed it, we realised that the songs that we’d finished were really old and we didn’t even really like them anymore, so we went back in cause the place where he was recording us was actually closing down. He said, ‘We’ve got two weeks when we can do it’, so we went in and redid another six songs over about three nights. It was a long time spent stuffing around basically for getting something quickly done in the end.”

The end result is the melodic psychedelia of Mesozoic, a title Cornelius insists is open for interpretation.

“Anyone is free to take whatever they want from the name, we just thought it sounded pretty good and looked good,” discusses Cornelius. “I like words that have a ‘z’ in it, but the whole thing’s to do with how that was a really important time in history with environmental changes, and we’re all into the idea of history repeating and saying stuff that was going on back then is still happening now, but just at different levels… Mesozoic is actually a song that will probably be on our first album when it gets recorded.”

The band certainly have a deep history, their music having changed since they first began playing shows locally. Years of live performance allowed them to hone their skills and the songs that eventually made the record.

“Playing all the songs so much live, our sound has matured a little and we’re a bit happier with the sound that we ended up putting down,” admits Cornelius. “I guess it’s good in some ways that our first record, or our first recordings, have come out with a sound that we’re happy with, rather than just a rush job to get something out and looking back on it a few years later and saying ‘oh well, that’s not very good.’”

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