New Year’s Eve
They are yet to release a full-length album, but Wollongong band Atticus are already deep in examining the nitty-gritty of their songs.
The four-piece indie outfit has spent the better part of the past year looking at their songwriting style, studying the musical poets of their time and delving into what exactly they want their songs to reveal.
Guitarist Sam James says this is an important step before they begin recording demos for their planned first album, which they hope to get down early next year, because they will be more confident when it comes to performing the tunes.
"You feel more attached to the song, you've got a deeper understanding of what's coming across. There's a deeper confidence from that insight," he says.
"It's really helped us to pull apart what it is as a songwriter that you're actually trying to say, because it gives you a succinct idea what you're trying to do in the first place."
Atticus were the 2010 winners of the Mercury BlueScope Youth Band Comp, which allowed them to record an EP and start to build a name for themselves in the Illawarra. Three brothers and a cousin, the James boys believe they have come a long way in the past two years, in terms of their ability as writers and as performers.
"We feel a lot happier, especially in a live show, about presenting this sort of work," James says.
While their initial sound had a funk vibe, their latest songs sit somewhere closer to the alternative and indie rock end of the spectrum. James lists British bands The Wombats and The Arctic Monkeys as big influences on their sound, but when it comes to crafting the words and the story, they look to a very different artist.
"Paul Kelly is a songwriter we particularly look up to, the way he is able to develop stories and get a point across in his songwriting."
"It's almost like a commentary on what's going on around you, not necessarily a particular thing that's happened to you."
On holidays from university for the next three months, the boys are preparing to knuckle down over the summer and get everything ready to record their album. James says one of the advantages about performing with family is the convenience of being able to practice or toss ideas around when they are hanging out at home, although they do make sure to set aside two nights a week for lengthy rehearsal.
While many would baulk at spending so much time with their younger brothers and their cousin, James, the oldest at 22, says he wouldn't have it any other way.
"A lot of bands fall apart because they can't handle each other, they keep worrying about offending someone in the band, whereas that's not even a consideration for us. We know that at the end of the day we're going to be friends.
"We can't offend each other too badly because the worst thing that could be said was already said years ago," James said.
"We've got something stronger than a friendship. It's brothers and you can't tear brothers apart in this instance."
Atticus is supporting The Villains at Waves' A Nightmare on Pioneer Road New Year's Eve party.