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The band talk about Remote Luxury Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 January 1984
The Church: Calm Before The Storm

By Katherine Tulich

When their third album, Seance, did not do as well as they'd hoped, the Church
opted to take matters into their own hands.  Thus their new five-track EP,
Remote Luxury, shows what the band can do at producing themselves.

Their first two albums were produced by Chris Gilbey and mixed by Bob
Clearmountain (who's done the same for such groups as the Rolling Stones)
while Seance was mixed, engineered and produced by Nick Launay, who gave
Midnight Oil exciting new dimensions of sound on their album 10 to 1.

"Clearmountain did a good job," explains drummer Richard Ploog, "but I don't
think we were Nick Launay's type of group.  Or maybe it was because we
recorded it ourselves and asked him to mix it.  You really have to work with
a producer in a studio throughout the recording."

While Remote Luxury was produced by the band, lead vocalist Steve Kilbey and
engieer John Bee took a leading role in proceedings.  They've achieved a sound
that is more bright pop than their earlier records, and in many ways more
accessible.  There are walls of guitars and vocals, and Kilbey's voice avoids
his frequent tendency to drone.  Some of the tracks are enhanced with Hawaiian
guitar, brass and the cello effect of using a bow on the guitar.  The tracks
vary in style from the hard driving "Maybe These Boys" to the melancholic
almost easy-listening instrumental title track.

All the songs were wrtiten by Kilbey, with the exception of 10,000 Miles,
which was co-written by Marty Willson-Piper.  "The song was originally done in
the Seance sessions, but the record company decided that it should not be
included.  Steve was upset.  He felt it was cheating the album as a complete
package.  "The EP took about three weeks to record.  "We're a fast recording
group," Ploog says.  The band intended to do a fourth album this year with
more time spent in the studio to experiment and to record a more spontaneous

Prior to Seance, The Church released another EP called Sing-Songs which
inlucded a version of Paul Simon's "I Am A Rock".  "That started off as a demo
for the record company which we were going to re-record."  Ploog says.  "They
decided to release it and it was not as good as it could have been.  We'll
never do that again.  We'll go into the studio record them rather than have
tampered with."

The Church had been off the road for some months before Remote Luxury was
released.  They decided to wait till they had product out before commencing a
five-week national tour (during which their sound will augmented by keyboards
from Craig Hooper from the disbanded Bells).  While the band were off the
road, Ploog played drums in a temporary Sydney band, Salamander Jim, with Kim
Salmon from the Scientists and Tex Deadly (of the Dum Dums).  The other
members have been concentrating on writing.

Plans for another international tour are also in train; their first foray
overseas was in September, 1982.  "Australia is the least popular place in the
world for us," Ploog says.  "We get letters from all over America.  We have
huge cult following there.  Sing Songs was in the Top Ten imports in Cashbox
and Number Three favourite album amongst the critics.

Seance will be released in April in England and Europe.  In the U.S. the first
album has been released, but the rest have been available on import only.
They are hoping to sign a deal there soon.

"We would like to spend more time going over there, but financial difficulties
keep us here," says Ploog.  The band have thought of moving, but have made no
plans as yet.  They would also like record their next album in England or
Europe.  "Not for a different sound, just a different atmosphere.  So far
we've recorded all our records at EMI's STudio 301," Ploog continues.

"I think the band could escalate," he says.  "This is the calm before the
storm.  It's been rumbling for a while."
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