ARTIST PROFILE|THE MOLTING VULTURES
By Sean O’Grady
Adelaide based The Molting Vultures have just released a new Best Of album Crowd Surfing with The Molting Vultures that covers the bands four studio albums. What stands out about this band is their raw stripped to the bones sound combined with a relentless energy and passion. Over the past decade they have established themselves as a revered live act on the Adelaide music scene. With their live and recording work restricted due to members of the band living in different locations this new release is a great reminder of what a great garage rock band The Molting Vultures are.
Opening with The Grace, a tribute to the Grace Emily Hotel where the band were frequent performers, the vultures kick things off into overdrive. It’s a song that reflects not only a great live venue but a place where fellow rock travellers could meet over a beer and talk about music. The Trough and Drop In and Go reflect lead singer Nick Vultures passion for surfing while Rowley Park takes a reflective look at the past.
I recently sat down in the convivial surrounds of Brunswick’s Union Hotel for a chat with guitarist and songwriter Nick Vulture. Most obvious starting point was how the concept for a best of came about.
“Mick Baty from Off The Hip records wanted to do something with us and I was struggling to come with new ideas because I live in Melbourne and the rest of the band are in Adelaide, so it would take years to come up with enough new material for an album. So I suggested what about a best of, we had four LP’s and a vinyl single so there was plenty to draw on. Plus we had some songs that we had played live that we hadn’t recorded so we added them in as well.”
Releasing a best of has allowed Nick to look back over the bands career and reflect on their early beginnings in Adelaide, I asked Nick how the band formed.
“We started as a three piece around 2004, just playing covers, we were rehearsing at a famous jam studio in Adelaide called Custom Music and we would go there once a week. Eventually we got enough songs together of our own and thought we should go and do this live. Our first gig was an engagement party, we were way too loud as soon as we started playing all the parents got up and left the room. Within a week the couple had broken up so the moral of that story was don’t get us to play at your engagement!”
Crowd Surfing with The Molting Vultures charts the band’s evolution from the more full throttle sound of their debut to later albums like Get On Board where the band combine their garage sound with elements of psychedelic rock and blues. A feature of this is the work of keyboard player Jamie Vulture who captures that classic vox organ sound of the 1960’s. Nick reflected on the changes in the bands sound over a decade and discussed how the band had evolved it’s sound in the studio.
“The first album you hear is rough and raw but as went along we used better studios and worked with a really good engineer. I especially like the two new tracks that we have recorded for the new album I feel that we got the balance right. I’ve learnt how to better record my voice, for a while there I put heavy reverb on my vocals which I think was due to being self conscious about the sound of my voice but I’m more relaxed about how I sound these days.”
The Molting Vultures will be launching the new album on March 17th at the Old Bar in Fitzroy as part of the 15th anniversary celebrations for Off The Hip. They will be returning to their old stomping ground the Grace Emily on April 15th. Crowd Surfing with The Molting Vultures is out now on Off The Hip Records.