Q&A Scene: Track-by-Track: The NAYSAYERS’ Gordon Holland explores HELLFIRE SING SING

Hellfire Sing Sing marks the long-awaited first album release by Melbourne garage rockers The Naysayers. The album contains plenty of the garage-surf sound that they’ve made their trademark along with songs that cover more psychedelic ground. Hellfire Sing Sing features lead single Paper Person, a song with plays on Triple J and Triple M, as well as community radio, across the country and praised by Josh Merriel (Triple J) as a “ridiculously fun little piece of guitar driven surf-punk”.

Founding member, Gordon Holland, takes us through HELLFIRE SING SING, track-by-track:


This is a riffy little number that we’d had in the bank for a little while. It was one of the first ones we’d written together for this new batch of songs, it came together along with a few others in one writing session.
(Don’t Tread On My) Blues Shoes: 
This came from the same writing session as Psychopath, it was a bluesy thing that Nathaniel had and we ended up adding the Sabbath-esque breakdown after we’d been playing it for a while. Also the first of three songs to feature Rachel from Honeybone on backing vocals!
I Hate Your Band:
This is the first thing we did for the album, we self-recorded a single version of this back in 2016 that kind of sparked this album off. It’s one of the angriest-sounding things we’ve done and we had a lot of fun getting the surf-punk sound on this one.
Psychopath Pt II:
This was one that Harrie had for a little while in a 3/4 waltz rhythm which is a first for us. It has a fadeout too, which you don’t hear too much any more!
The Bounder:
From a guitar riff that Jakk had which we took and grew from there, Nathaniel wrote the lyrics and melody. “Bounder” is an old-timey word that he came across which means “a man who is untrustworthy or dishonourable”. Also has a cheeky Monty Python parrot reference in the lyrics which cracks me up.
Paper Person: 
This is another atypically angry song about someone who’s a ‘Paper Person’. Sort of this figure who doesn’t have any real personality but people can just project whatever they want onto and in that way relate to and adore him. Someone who can do no wrong in people’s eyes. Kind of like a cult leader in a way. Second song featuring Rachel’s vocals.
Maya The Cat Girl: 
This was a jam that we’d all been working on for quite a while and eventually completed. Lyrically this is from an old Twilight Zone episode where this guy has nightmares that he’s going to die at this circus/funhouse place and tries to stay awake so he doesn’t, then it has the trademark Twilight Zone twist ending. I imagined a similar thing but moved it to Luna Park in St Kilda – A real ‘Nick Cave goes to the beach’ kind of thing. This one features Nik from Dada Ono on electric violin, she’s such an incredible and expressive player and she’s brought so much to the song. Same with Rachel’s singing, it rises the song up to a place that I couldn’t bring it to alone.
Jammin’ In The Stairwell: 
This is one of the oldest Naysayers songs around. Nathaniel and I wrote this when we first moved to Melbourne back in 2011 and it’s changed so much since then that only the riff and chorus are the same. It was one of those songs that just didn’t want to be finished until it was ready, songs can do that sometimes though! Lyrically it’s the culmination of this hellish journey, complete with duelling guitar solos at the middle section, in an unintentional nod to that old musical folklore of duelling with the devil. That wall of vocal part at the end was a lot of fun (but very difficult) too! Second track to feature Nik on electric violin.
Grab your copy now: Hellfire Sing Sing

Catch The NAYSAYERS live:

Saturday 13th JANUARY   

The Grace Darling Hotel 

Collingwood, VIC, Australia

Get your Tickets

A brief history of The NAYSAYERS:

 Known for their frantic and energetic live shows as much as their infectious recorded output The Naysayers came to life in 2011 in Melbourne from the members’ shared love of garage rock, melody and psychedelia.
The group was founded by Gordon Holland (guitar/vocals) and Nathaniel Parbery (bass/vocals) in Perth with the aim to explore the rich musical landscape of 60’s garage and beyond as an ego-free collaborative with nothing off limits. Soon relocating to their current base of Melbourne, the two became three after a chance meeting with the ramshackle nomad known as Harrie Kingston (guitar/vocals). Later they found their drumming equal with the explosive Jakk Burgess (drums/percussion).
Previously, the release of their 2016 single I Hate Your Band saw them travelling nationwide on the I Hate Your Summer tour. This was followed by widespread airplay on community radio stations across the country, including rotation on national digital radio station Triple J Unearthed. Impressing garage rock aficionados in Australia and beyond, the single offered an early glimpse of what would become The Naysayers debut album. The year also saw them playing to a sold out crowd at the Kennedys Creek Festival – sharing the stage with Cosmic Psychos and Alex Lahey amongst others.

The group’s prior release Passing By received much praise, with the tastemakers at Tone Deaf proclaiming the song as “everything that’s so great about local garage rock right now”. Accompanying the single was a highly ambitious music video which boasted a new standard of quality and artistry for the group, with animations provided by The Naysayers’ Harrie Kingston and Canberra based visual artist Danny Wild, and filming and editing by videographer Ben Davies (Monuments, Twelve Foot Ninja, Dead Letter Circus, The Red Paintings). 

The band’s 2014 single Fools Gold Rush hinted at the rise which was to come, kicking some serious goals. The track was featured on AirIt’s Top 10 Most Ordered For Airplay. The group also scored gold when the single was selected by British Vogue to accompany their December 2014 campaign The Shooting Party which included the likes of Cara Delevigne (world famous), Tim Walker (world famous) and Kate Moss (also world famous). 

The Naysayers have a huge 2018 planned, independently releasing their debut album Hellfire Sing Sing on 2nd January and launching the album this Saturday (13th January) at The Grace Darling Hotel – with more dates to be announced. 

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About Mary Boukouvalas 957 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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