Five Melbourne bands, one pop-up studio built into a laneway, and 24 hours each to turn out a recording. That’s the vaguely insane premise of Record & Release, which springs into action over the course of Melbourne Music Week.
It’s a concept initiated and run by Vice Australia and sees the The Buffalo Club turn into a creative (or perhaps more realistically, party) hub during the festival. The studio is in Racing Club Lane, a few blocks away, off Little Bourke Street. It’s essentially a shed decorated by local graffiti artists with windows cut out to allow for voyeuristic public viewing. The studio is also miked up, so those dropping by can listen into the process as it happens.
Gang-pop group The Parking Lot Experiments kicked things off in the studio on Monday night, and will be followed by psych-math trio Absolute Boys, post-punk jam group Electric Smile Band and members of the innovative //This Thing// production collective. Vice Australia’s Josh Gardiner, curator of the event, wouldn’t reveal the fifth band at the time of going to press, but tells us it’s a supergroup made up of “old-school Espy-slash-Tote rockers”.
Engineer Jack Farley, who has lent his hand to albums by Beaches and St Helens, is helming the recordings from 6pm to 9pm, then working through the night to get them mixed and mastered. “We might have a fold-out couch in the studio so Jack can have a bit of a kip if he needs to,” Gardiner says.
While the recordings are taking place, a makeshift bar in the lane outside The Buffalo Club hosts the previous night’s studio band on DJ duties, as well as DJs from Vice and Triple R. That’s where you can get your hands on one of the 250 CDs pressed up that day, with artwork by the likes of Oslo Davis and tin&ed. A screen shows what’s happening live in the studio, and Vice have also organised some kegs of beer to keep everyone drinking on a dime. As Gardiner says, it’s “happy hour all week”.
[More info on Record & Release here.