Melbourne’s Strickland released their new studio album, ‘Human‘ this month.
Described as a record that, “has so much charm and charisma about it” (Killyourstereo.com album review), vocalist Scooter Stevens provides a track-by-track summary.
Be Free is an anthem for those of us that have ever been held back by ourselves. I have always had trouble when writing for our songs. I would always over think and over complicate everything to the point that I could listen to the music to a song 156 times, and still sit there, with pen in hand, staring at a blank page. Be Free was written as a motivational song, to remind myself to “just get started” and take the pressure off of myself. What you start with is almost never going to be what you end up with and if you don’t feel comfortable, that’s mostly a good thing, you’re out of your rut, and you’re pushing through, always push through.
- This Is Love
This was a hard song that kind of all poured out at once. When I write, I have no idea what I’m going to be writing about. I listen to the music that the boys have written, or sometimes while they’re writing it in the rehearsal room, and I’ll pay attention to how the song is making me feel. If it’s upbeat, I might write about something cheery, if it’s more down tone, the song could end up sounding sad, or defiant, I really don’t have a plan when I start any song. When I heard this, instantly the chorus lyrics came to me, “Lately I’ve been complaining, and I don’t have a resolution”.
What was I complaining about? What could this resolution be? As I listened to the song, more and more phrases came to me, and they all had one general feel. The person saying these words is having a tough time with someone in their life.
At the time (and even now) almost everything in my relationship is running smooth, my partner in crime and I share a deep honesty, and there is no longer anything left unsaid.
I guess I was remembering back to when we did hit a rough patch and ultimately broke up for a short period of time (that felt like an eternity).
I realised that the feelings that led us to that boiling point, were feelings that I had that I didn’t have the courage to bring up and discuss. Things that she was doing/not doing that in hindsight, definitely needed to be addressed.
I felt really crappy around this time, but most of all, I felt unappreciated.
This short time apart, gave me clarity, and after some long conversations with some great friends, I realised that I/we had gone about this all wrong! All we had to do was communicate and be more conscious of each other. I wish didn’t have to go through that, but at the same time I’m glad we did, I have no idea what my life would be like right now if she wasn’t in it.
- This Hunger
This Hunger is about my passion and energy for this band. It’s a constant motivator and it keeps me pushing everyday for us. A while ago we didn’t have a very bright future, we had a couple of demos out online and released a split with our best friend band Cavalcade, but we weren’t really doing anything. We played shows every now and again, and although we were still having fun, it didn’t feel like we were going to do or become anything, but we wanted to keep it going.
We decided to pull back from shows and focus on finding our sound, focus on writing music that we were proud of and ultimately put out an album. This song is basically about that process, the realization that we had the hunger to do great things and all we needed to do was focus up and do it. The song is about having that realisation and then committing to it. It’s a fun song.
- The Fear
This song is about my irrational fear of death. I have never related to songs that celebrate or call for death, I don’t see anything wrong with it in other people’s music, but it never made sense to me. I love being alive and I love my life. Yes, shit gets rough, stressful and hard to deal with sometimes, but I’m alive and I want to look for the good in things and try my best to celebrate that.
I can’t imagine my consciousness just ending, it fucking freaks me out. When I was younger, I was loosely raised with an idea that there was an afterlife and there was something else after you die. As I got older I started to question it all and when you stop believing everything that your parents say, shit starts to get real and scary.
I try not to think about it, but it’s pretty much a daily thought, I can’t help it, I hate that it’s on my mind and I can’t let go of those thoughts, but they’re in me and this was one of the first times that I got to say it out loud. Am I alone in this? Does anyone else feel like this?
At the end of the day, if I continue to live my life how I want to, I’ll always be young, until I die. I try to cope with it with that in mind, sometimes I have good days, sometimes I have bad days, but I keep having days and that’s important to me.
- Left Out
Left Out is about feeling pushed aside and feeling wrongly judged by people that have no idea who you really are. It might just be me, but I’ve felt this over the years, that someone may have formed a negative opinion on me for no real reason, and there was nothing that I could say or do to combat it or prove it wrong.
That drove me mad. All I wanted was for them to see that I wasn’t this person that they had fabricated in their minds, but that I was just a dude, a potential friend that they were holding at arms length.
Did they see something in me that I didn’t know about? Was I wearing something on my sleeve that made me unappealing? What on earth was it and why was I left out? In the end, I can only be me, and if they’re not into it for whatever reason, then it’s not meant to be. What someone else thinks of me is none of my business.
We have always fucked around in the rehearsal room, we’ve jammed a million different intros/interludes for shows but this is one that we kept coming back to, we really liked how it made us feel when we played it, so we worked on it, we jammed it out, we let it just happen and we were stoked with how it came out. When it came time to record, we were like, “Fuck it, let’s record it” so we did it and it just felt right to name it ‘Human’.
This is about seeing a problem in a relationship with a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, workmate or whoever and not doing anything about it. Instead of trying to do something about the problem, you let it build and build until it becomes the reason that you no longer want to be around this person.
For me, it’s about a friend that over time, specific personality traits got harder and harder to deal with. The person was a nice person, but started being rude, confrontational and manipulative. At first it started small, small enough to think that it could maybe be a joke or that it might change or something, but it got worse, and because it wasn’t brought up early on, it made it really hard to ever bring it up.
The issues grew bigger and bigger and were ultimately never brought up. This hangs over my head and I feel responsible for this.
- This Is Forever
This Is Love was about issues that weren’t brought up in my relationship, which ultimately caused damage and then a break up. This Is Forever takes it back to a conversation we had when we met up to exchange the last bits of our “stuff”.
We were both emotionally wrecked, we had only been apart for a short amount of time, but it was enough to know that the hurtin’ was real and that if we believed in it, we had to start fresh with a new outlook and attitude to how we worked together as team.
We loved each other, but we were doing it wrong. We openly communicated, we shared the good and the bad and we promised that we’d do everything that we could to never let it get back where it was and that these changes in us were forever. So far, so good.
- The Only One
This song is about having something or someone in your way. I had a friend that was being smothered by his partner at the time. He was a bright, talented, great dude that was with someone that didn’t appreciate him. At the time when they were together, he wasn’t able to live his own life how he wanted and that killed me.
He was always under pressure to do things that he didn’t like or agree with in order to make his partner happy, she was literally standing in the way of the plans he had for his life, it was a massive struggle that went on for a really long time. He was stuck in a rut and couldn’t get out, and not unlike me in the past, feared bringing up the problems at hand in order to avoid further conflict.
He wasn’t the only one that ever had to deal with this, and she wasn’t the only one for him. He just needed to see it for himself. He did, he’s a different person now and it’s brilliant!
- Plastic Crowns
I wrote this song after I felt like a friend had attacked me. I felt like I had had all of the hard work that this band has done, torn apart and belittled by someone that had assumed that we hadn’t earned the opportunities that we had received.
We scored heaps of awesome support slots early on because our mates were willing to come out and support us and come to our shows, we were basically called out for that and I was targeted specifically.
I was taken aback at the time, I couldn’t believe that a friend would try to do me harm like that, it seemed so weird and pointless to me, but I couldn’t wait to prove this motherfucker wrong, I couldn’t wait to let our music speak for itself.
It helped me figure some important shit out early on too, do whatever you want and do whatever you think is right for you, there is always going to be someone that thinks they’re the king of whatever you’re doing that will be willing to give you a piece of their mind whether you want it not, fuck that fake king and his plastic crown.
- I Will Follow You
This is a song about sheer helplessness brought on by love and the idea of love. It was written with a friend of mine in mind, this friend is in a good place right now, but for a very long time, this friend’s happiness heavily relied on the relationship that they were in.
If they were single, they would be miserable and as soon as the prospect of a relationship presented itself, everything would change.
They would be instantly smitten, instantly crazy in love, and right away in the best mental state possible. Then when problems would arise, and the relationship would take a turn for the worse, my friend would basically become a punching bag for their partner, doing anything that was asked of them with no questions asked.
My friend would take on this helpless, submissive role and their personality would change and begin to revolve around their partner, what their partner was doing, how their partner was feeling, etc.
To me, it was soul crushing, and over and over I kept picturing my friend drowning, being smothered and being kicked while they were down. It seemed so pathetic and sad, but to my friend, it was comfort, it was love, it was the only thing that was keeping them happy. I wrote this from the perspective of my friend and what I imagined it would feel like.
Catch Strickland this weekend in Melbourne: