When people say “lo-fi” and “DIY” in one sentence, it can bring any number of things to mind, most commonly a sad dude sitting in his bedrooom and jangling acoustic, emotive, sad and intimate tunes that no one will ever hear. Alex, our Australian guest from Campbelltown, and his project MISERABLE KIDS CLUB, takes the acronym to a new, weirdly minimalistic level. Alex seems to be enraptured by this type of art, and his new record ‘Textbook Depression” marks a fascinating, and highly creative return. To showcase this special independent record, we have teamed up to give you a first hand commentary about each single composition.
Here’s Alex’s word about the artwork (scroll down for the full track by track breakdown):
The album artwork is a Polaroid picture I found back in August 2015. I was leaving a casino in the city with a couple of friends early in the morning and I saw it face down. I’ve always had an interest in analog photography. All of my releases except “September 25th” are shot on 35mm film or Polaroids. I picked up this photo and kept it, knowing I would use it for something. The title seems really fitting to me with the image as well, on the outside they are smiling but within they show classic signs of unhappiness.
nostalgia streets – This song sets the theme for the record right from the start. Nostalgia, the past and looking back over the past few years. The idea for this song came to me when I walked through the streets near my high school for the first time in quite a while. It caused me to reflect on all the good memories I had in these places during my school days. It really did seem dreary at the time compared to the years prior. I realised I wouldn’t have another experience in my life like it. The song reminisces on vaguely on moments and places. It also has what would probably be my favourite guitar riff I’ve written.
sadness in summertime – This was the last song finished for the album. In the summer of 2016 I was in a pretty low state. I thought about how strange it was (for me) to have depression in summer. Summer tends to be associated with warmth and happiness yet, to me it was all hazy, blurry and dull. There were originally meant to be lyrics as well but as I neared my deadline I realised I didn’t have enough. Rather than force something out I left the song instrumental to get across my feeling. Like the whole album though, you can mould your own meanings to the songs.
lemonfish – I feel like a lot of people will interpret this song to be about a girl. For me personally though it’s about one of my closest male friends throughout high school. One of the earliest songs I was writing for, the lyrics are very literal. The track name was one of his nicknames in high school.
delivery boy 2000 – I was working as a pizza delivery driver when I came up for the opening lyrics for this song. As it says “It’s a dreary Tuesday afternoon and things are running slow” which was very true, I was folding pizza boxes out back at the time. The name is a take on the Futurama episode “Space Pilot 3000” (hence the sample) and the fact that Fry was a delivery boy in the year 2000.
best listened to after midnight – I write most of my lyrics by hand and a lot of the time there will be bits and pieces or even just single lines on some pages before becoming a full song. I had about half of the albums songs in scraps and I came across a small paragraph on one pages. I tried adding it but it seemed to work so well on its own, and that is exactly what you hear in this song. It’s the only song I have done to date to be recorded all in one take, which happened to be done sitting on my bathroom floor during the early hours of the morning.
Smother – Originally titled “when you’re ready you’ll tell me”. I was definitely stuck on this track lyrically for a while but the instrumental was done, thus making this track one of the last to be finished. The spoken word outro was a complete accident. I had no melody past the verse and just recorded the lyrics in a friend’s car. Rather than repeating the same guitar notes I decided to add some back-masked guitar and leave it as it was.
you were afraid – This was the first song I had written and also the first song I recorded for the album. It’s the only song recorded on the same guitar I used for most of first record. I originally intended on doing the rest of the album on the same guitar but decided against it in favour of the acoustic because it sounded so much nicer and emotive than the unplugged, out of tune electric guitar I used. This is the only song of mine that has a chorus. I don’t really like choruses in this project, I think it breaks the flow but it seems really fitting here and I’m proud of it.
Lyrically it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written and delves into a high-school crush that self-harmed. It was my first experience of any sort with cutting and I didn’t know how to handle it, I just wanted to help but didn’t know how. She is okay now.
untitled ii – After naming all of the songs on the record I still had two pages of lyrics with ‘untitled i’ and ‘untitled ii’ at the top of the page. ‘untitled i’ became “best listened to after midnight” but I couldn’t with a title for this song. Eventually I decided to just leave it as it was written. It makes no sense and I always imagine someone trying to find ‘untitled i’ with no luck until reading something like this. I had the concept for this song way back at thestart of writing but nothing actually came to form until near the end of the recording process. Back in 2014 when I was in year 12 one of my best friends and I had a free period instead of class. It was sunny and warm despite being a colder month. We spent the time reminiscing on the future and everything we’d do and like to do after we graduated. This song looks back on that moment and our expectations of everything 3 years ago.
nostalgia park – The most personal song to me on the record. I had lyrics for this song at the same time I was writing ‘you were afraid’ and this was the second song completed for the record. The name of this song is what conspired the whole theme for this album and compliments the opening track as the closer. I was at this park for the first time in a while and I sat at bench in the sunshine. I started to reflect on the events that are spoken about in the song and started to record the ambience which is at the start and end of the track.