straight arrows

Out & Down

I like to record fully fleshed out demos cause I guess I usually have a very specific vision of how I want things to sound.

Photo: Sam MacDonald

Owen Penglis of Straight Arrows

Hi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Musicology.

Back with Out and Down your new single, can you give us a little insight as to what subject matter you are addressing on the track?

This is probably one of the most positive tracks I've ever written - it's pretty much just a supportive message to a friend who recently became comfortable and open about their sexuality. That's the OUT bit. And the DOWN is about embracing it and being down to party. Yeah!

Has this track been with you for some time and only now seeing the light of day or completely fresh and only recently laid on tape?

The demo for this was written and recorded almost exactly a year ago - I like to record fully fleshed out demos 'cause I guess I usually have a very specific vision of how I want things to sound. I gave that to the band and we put it to tape about October, and sent it off to the label, then we all sat around waiting for it to get pressed on a 45 by the record plant. The label that put it out, Spacecase, outta Austin, Texas, have been brilliant.

Would you say there has been an evolution in your sound over the last few years or still the same balls to the wall indie punk that we know and love of Straight Arrows?

I mean, I'd like to think we've moved somewhere from ridiculously blown out (have you heard the first 7"??) to something more 'mid-fi'. You can almost hear everything, but it doesn't sound 'modern' and disgustingly polished. You're still getting a band recording to tape, so there's always some warts and fart noises captured in there.

I remember seeing you guys play alongside Parquet Courts not so long ago. An amazing band and the guys picking you to play with them on the night was a perfect match. What do you take away from performing with touring acts and their live sets?

Sometimes it's really cool to see how these bands work a crowd, and then steal their ideas. And also their rider - we like to walk away with a lot of their drinks.

Speaking of live sets, you are currently on tour with Out and Down. How has the reaction been so far?

We haven't toured much over the last year, so we decided to book a bunch of shows that were mostly house parties or non-traditional venues. The kind of places where people can show up, feel at home, and not have to pay $10 for a beer at. We just got back from the first show in Melbourne and it was absolutely wild! And Henry Rollins showed up! It's pretty surreal to see him standing in a lounge room watching you play.

When you are on tour do you find the process to be inspirational whereby it provides additional material for new lyrics and songs or are you so focused on the task at hand that writing / jamming takes a back seat?

To be honest, when we're touring the last thing I tend to think about is writing. I like to use that as a time to relax, stare out the window, and find all the amazing, weird, and wild things that come with whatever city we're about to arrive in. I'd like to say we hit a lot of art galleries, but 80% of that is gonna wind up being op shops, second hand record stores, and high brow cultural stuff like 'the world's biggest hotdog', or the big potato.

What’s on the cards for the rest of 2018?

Right this moment I'm recording the vocals for our next LP - hopefully we can get that out in about 6 months and hit the road somewhere new and exciting overseas. There's always a space in my house for more foreign records and op shop scores.

Listen To Out And Down