FOUR IN THE MORNING
Four In The Morning are a Melbourne-based band who embrace their mix of folk, jazz and rock to create music that is both beautifully intricate and a little chaotic at the same time.
With their debut EP, Half Asleep, coming out in November, we sat down with Kevin, Kiran, and Libby to talk about their upcoming release and what it’s like being a new band on an established scene.
So, let’s start with a simple yet horrible question. One that will probably be asked in pretty much every interview you ever do: What was the reason for calling the band Four In The Morning?
Kevin: The idea for the name comes from a project set up by the poet Rives. Apparently it’s the most quoted time in art and literature. You can see why – it’s a weird time. The grown up hour, you’re either out too late or up too early. Or you just can’t sleep. In my experience, interesting shit goes down at 4am, so it was either that or a Simpsons reference.
Kiran: I was pushing for “General Krull”, but even the most obscure SImpsons references get picked up these days. And once you’re aware of the 4am thing, you can’t help seeing it. It’s everywhere, even The Simpsons.
Kevin: Yeah, Paul Simon, Cohen, they all reference four in the morning. We thought it’d be fun to add to the pile.
Libby: Plus it just seemed to fit with the music we were making.
And so how would you describe that music? Who do you think will like it?
Kevin: It’s always tough nailing down a genre, but I think something like alt-folk describes us best. It’s heavier and weirder than a lot of folk, but it definitely has a bit of a folky core. And who will like it? I guess if you like rock with lots of words, we’ll be right up your street.
Libby: Yeah…if you like words and I guess…smart music…That’s what we try and do.
Kiran: We’ve been compared to Dire Straits, which we weren’t expecting but it’s pretty cool. And Kevin’s a touch obsessed with The National, so you can hear that influence too.
Kevin: I wouldn’t say obsessed…
Libby: I would!
As musicians you have mixed backgrounds when it comes to musical influences and styles. How did you end up forming a band together?
Kevin: Libby plays in another great band, A Rioting Mind. I’d seen them at a little gig, and Libby was making this huge sound. So I immediately went up after and asked if we could jam. Probably freaked her out a little, but it paid off.
Libby: And I think we just picked up Kiran off the street….
Kevin: But the first time we all played, it just clicked musically.
Kiran: I’ve done a fair few collabs, and working with these two is the most intuitive experience I’ve had – it was really quite lucky.
Libby: Kiran and Kevin can go off into their own little world every now and again. Sometimes I have to remind them that we’re not here to discuss new Netflix series’…
Kevin: Clearly we’re starved of human interaction.
With such differing backgrounds how do you guys go about putting together a song? Do you have a set process?
Kevin: Not really, we’ve actually stumbled on a lot of our work by accident through jams.
Kiran: Which I’ve never thought to be an effective way to write songs, but there you go.
Libby: One of us, usually Kevin, will start playing a chord progression he’s been tinkering around with, and either me or Kiran will start riffing on it. That’s usually followed by an interlude of Kiran and I thinking “how can we make this much, much weirder”.
Kevin: Which is great, we find this mad middle ground between my folk tendencies and their love of weird.
Kiran: It’s actually one of the best things about working in a team with different backgrounds – we each bring a little bit of what we know. So we aim for a familiar sound with sprinklings of intrigue.
Kevin: …does that even mean anything, Kiran? They basically just suppress my urges to make Dylan references as much as possible, which is important.
Your soon to be released debut EP, Half Asleep, was completely self-recorded and produced. What was this process like overall? Do you think you would do the same thing the next time around, or has the whole ordeal scarred you for life?
Kevin: Scarred, so very scarred.
Kiran: Yeah, we’d definitely do some things differently. Recording can be so temperamental, especially drums. We spent hours trying different tunings, mic placements, balancing, compression… then we just moved a pillow 15cm higher, and suddenly it was right.
Kevin: It was our first time really doing any of it, so we were learning on the go. None of it’s perfect, but I kind of love that at the same time.
Kiran: The imperfectness actually contributes to the sound.
Kevin: It’s a snapshot of where we were at, warts and all.
Libby: We definitely got better as we did it more, though that meant we were tempted to go back and re-record the stuff we did at the start.
Kevin: Ha, that’s when we started driving ourselves a little bit mad and over-analysing every little thing. And eventually, just going fuck it that’ll do. It was great having the time to think and full creative control. The other side of it though, was it was a necessity. We were recording on a shoestring budget. But hanging out in your sitting room having a few beers is a great way to make music.
Libby: I think there’s a great sense of pride in being able to say “yeah we did that whole thing on our own”. That’s incentive enough to go through it all again I think.
Kiran: Yeah, all in all we loved the process. It’s a shitload of fun, even if drives us a bit nuts, it helps us bring out the best in our songs. But I can definitely see the benefit in an external set of ears, so we’d maybe be looking at a producer for the next go-around.
Your songs deal with a mix of topics, from relationships to religion. What is your songwriting process like and how do these ideas come about?
Kevin: Without sounding too punny, it’s kind of just whatever’s keeping me up at night. I write ads for a day job, so telling stories and playing with words is where I have the most fun. Musically the guys are way out of my league, so it really drives me to work on the lyrics.
As for content, yeah I guess it’s a way of making sense of stuff. Some people keep a diary or see a shrink, I just try and make it all rhyme. Hopefully that’s why people enjoy it. They’re songs trying to figure things out.
Libby: If they can understand Kevin…
Where can people catch you playing/get your music/find you online?
Kiran: We’ll be launching our EP at The Gasometer on the 19th of November. We’ve got some great mates playing alongside us and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Kevin: For other gigs, best bet is to follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FourAmMusic/). And then our music is up pretty much wherever you listen to music: Bandcamp, Spotify, all that good stuff.
Kiran: We go for the scattergun approach. Throw everything on every platform and hope it sticks.
Libby: I think we’re even on Tidal for some reason.
Your short career has seen you play a lot of shows around Melbourne. What do you think of the music scene in the city? Are there any other Melbourne bands that you think people should be checking out?
Kevin: Man, we could go on all day. The scene here is amazing. Greg Steps, The Slingers, A Rioting Mind, Xhambo, Lijuka, Ciaran Boyle, Anna Cordell, Mystery Tram, Joyce Prescher…
Kiran: We’re just plugging our mates’ bands at this point…
Libby: And all our other projects…
Kevin: No, in fairness, it’s because they’re awesome! Which is what’s great about the Melbourne music scene. We just hang out, make music, get jealous of each other and push to do better. There’s always so much going on.
Going into 2018, what are your plans/dreams for the band in the new year?
Kiran: We’re getting a good bit of experience playing live and writing, which is great. So I think some scattered gigs with a back-room focus on songwriting is a good strategy. It would be amazing to drop a full album…
Libby: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Kevin: We’re hoping to drum up a bit of support and keep playing. An album would be pretty cool…
Finally, If Four In The Morning had a band motto, what would it be?
Kevin: “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”
Kiran: Either that, or “Don’t rehearse on an empty stomach”.
Libby: They’re such children…though Kiran’s probably right.
Upcoming Melbourne Shows
29nd of November
The Drunken Poet
19th of November
The Gasometer // EP Launch
30th of November
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