There are some people in the world who are just natural born overachievers. While the rest of us struggle to get through the day without spilling coffee down our fronts and making it to work on time, there are others that simply make doing too much look amazing. Such is the case for Amy Franz and Hayley McKee of Super Wild Horses. Following their very much unplanned beginnings back in 2008, the duo is back with Crosswords, a haunting sophomore that is as delicate as it is gritty and grimy.
According to the band, Crosswords has been in the works for quite some time now, but acquiring patience and learning to give the melodies room to breathe has been the real learning curve. "The oldest song on the record would be one we wrote when on tour in America in 2010. That was where we wrote the beginning of Memphis and it only became the version it is now because we left it for so long," admits Franz. "Before then it was quite different, which is something that happened a lot on this album; we had the bones to a lot of the songs but we wanted to give them time and they only really all came together right at the last minute." Which in this case, seems to be a method that has worked exceptionally well for the pair.
Their sound has progressed from the gritty, DIY lo-fi that marked their first record to something much more developed. Says with a laugh: "There was no planning with our first [album]. That was the first time we’d been in a band or actually played instruments so all we knew back then was that we wanted to keep the songs stripped back so that we could still play them live!"
With most songs bursting for no longer than a minute and half, this time around the duo known for their heavily echoed, distorted sound decided to take a slower approach to their garage punk style. "I found it really interesting that people were calling us a punk band when we started out," says Franz. "Neither of us really listened to any punk growing up." But McKee says that she understands it perfectly given that, "it was very patched together and DIY, and that whole getting up and doing it and not caring is very punk".
But with album number two came not only greater knowledge, but also a greater period of directional contemplation. "I wouldn't say it's been difficult," says Franz. "I don't feel like anything has been difficult, but we went through a period where we had all of these songs and we weren't sure where to take them next. But I think that was mainly because we had so many ideas."
Firm friends since their high school days back in Perth and growing up sharing music together, being in a band had never been part of the plan for McKee and Franz. With McKee better known as the baking wonder woman behind Melbourne's Sticky Fingers Bakery and Franz running a jewellery import business, Super Wild Horses only came to fruition because of some instruments lying around Franz's then share house. "We just started making up songs and jamming together," explains Franz. "Then my boyfriend at the time booked us our first gig and then there was another and then suddenly Aarght Records wanted to put out an EP, and before we knew what was happening, we were a band!"
While we can't help but envy just how naturally things seem to have fallen into place, two separate careers and one band seems like a lot of work. "There's just a lot of work and a shared Google calendar," laughs McKee. "To be honest though," adds Franz, "it takes the pressure off having to be ‘successful’, and because of that a band can just do what it's supposed to do naturally."
Super Wild Horses' album Crosswords is out now through Remote Control Records.
Playing Melbourne Friday 31 May at The Tote.