When Brad Smith of Heroes for Hire split ways with the band, the Australian pop-punk heavyweights slowly started to tread water. It was an interesting decision, which saw the local musical staple, part with a key cog.
Yet out of this separation came a new form of bubbling melodies and energy; complete with its own identity. Cambridge offer up all the excitement and fun that was found within Heroes for Hire, but for Smith it provides a clean slate.
Smith and co. have recently released their stellar debut album, ‘Create.Destroy.Rebuild’.With a powerful pop-punk aesthetic and driving pulse, the full-length is sure to win over fans by the play through and equally as Cambridge take to the stage over the next few years.
We spoke with Smith about the full-length and just how Cambridge ticks in its infancy.
We immediately probe Smith regarding the album title, with the musician stating it has an avid and almost poetic meaning.
“We sat down and talked about album titles and it takes a while to think of an album title when each song is like a story together. Where we came from was that everyone in [Cambridge] was a part of my old band, [Heroes for Hire] at one stage. We created something back then, that ended and now we’re doing it again. It was a rebirth of what we started seven to eight years ago.”
Production isn’t something the band took lightly either. The group knew the sound they wanted and they knew who they wanted to help them achieve it: Matt Malpass (Lydia, Cute is What We Aim For).
“We flew [Matt] out from the States to do the album and he’s done bands like Cartel and Lydia, and a lot of pop stuff too. We wanted to work on the production, so we got him to try and do stuff that wasn’t just guitars, vocals and drums. We wanted someone who could work with other sounds and from his previous stuff we knew it would be him.”
Lyrics were always a strong section of Heroes for Hire and they are no less withCambridge. It’s a part of the group’s identity, as with most bands, yet Cambridge have spread out the lyric duties, rather than relying on Smith to produce one-hundred percent of the words.
“With this band, every member has input to every part of the album. If I have a cool idea with the guitars, I’ll try and explain to the guitarist; I obviously can’t play guitar that well. Josh [Smith] and Dave [Smith], our bassist and guitarist, write some of the lyrics and I write some of them. It’s all across the board really.”
“We talk about what they’ve written about and what I’ve written about, and the things that we’re talking about are [general kind of] things that everyone goes through. If it’s about breaking up with a girl, it may not be a girl I broke up with but I can put myself in a position where I can relate to that. Kind of how you listen to your favourite and you can relate to the message despite the fact you didn’t write it.”
Any followers of the band will have noticed ‘Create.Destroy.Rebuild’ lacked one aspect that most records have: a CD. Where the everyday CD was missing, USB drives took its place.
Stemming from an idea of Smith’s, Cambridge plugged the album onto these drives as well as an assortment of other content that would please any fan.
“I was online, looking at CD pressing for the album and as I sat there, I was on my MacBook which doesn’t have a CD drive. I then thought about it and I realised that I own nothing but a PlayStation that can play a CD. So I thought that one way we could be new and I guess innovative was to put it all on USB drives. It’s cool because the kids get it, and they can get the album [from] it and the other stuff we added then use it for other stuff and it’s a really cool memento to have, [and] has more than one use.”
It’s slightly ironic when one sees the album’s initials are ‘CDR’ but nevertheless,Cambridge have proved that originality in the execution is just as important as it is within the art.
“I know we’re all useless so when we go on tour and we have a box of CD’s, they’re going to easily break. Whereas these are in a little box and won’t get broken,” Smith states.
It’s not until the closing of the conversation that Smith offers up the story behind the band’s name.
“It was a few years ago when I was over in England with some mates and we went out to some club in London. We were just doing the regular things you do; we were dancing, drinking and laughing a bit. I got a little tipsy, to say the least, when all of a sudden I turn around and get like three drinks spilled on me. It went all down my top and down some of my jeans. I look up, ready to go off at the guy when I see that it’s Prince fucking William.” the singer laughs in retrospect.
“He was so nice and apologetic that he gave me his jacket. He was just in like smart casual stuff so I took of my top and shit, and just wore his jacket for the night. I didn’t like hangout with him or anything but it was still cool. [It] wasn’t until before our first kind of gig when we didn’t have a name and they needed to do the poster that I came up with Cambridge. I was wearing his jacket when we were told to give the promotion guy a name and I thought, ‘Well, Prince William’s from Cambridge’. There was no band with that name over here at least and it’s short and easy.”
‘Create.Destroy.Rebuild’ is out now and available from the band’s store.
Read our review here.