Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Bites - I'm Not Coming Down (2005)

2004 was a year of transition for The Bites. We lost Monika to Love Of Diagrams and Gen to Your Wedding Night, but we gained powerhouse drummer Simon Parker. Our first release as a 3-piece was the single I’m Not Coming Down. It was meant to be the taster for a full album on the Unstable Ape record label. ‘Eno’, from White Lines And Runways had been included on UA’s compilation Make Mixtapes Not War, and label head Tim Picone was keen to include us on his roster.

We had recently forked out a fair amount of cash to lay down tracks at Melbourne’s renowned Sing Sing studio (home to the likes of John Farnham, no less). Simon’s mate Jed was working there as an engineer and somehow managed to find time to record us during off-hours. Who were we to decline the offer?

‘I’m Not Coming Down’ is one of my favourite songs ever. Musically it’s deceptively simple. My lead guitar literally consists of two notes in the verses and three notes in the choruses. The genius lies in Kirsty’s lyric, which somehow (yet again) manages to make the personal universal. Kirsty’s writing straddles that fine line between being confessional and addressing greater truths through simple stories, told from a first-person perspective. Only she really knows what is heart-felt emotion and what is generalisation. All I know is that this song is brilliant.

Oh, and our friend Simon Strong shot a genius single-take video for this song at The Tote one night, somehow capturing the very essence of what The Bites were all about.

The funny thing about the 4-track demo version of ‘One Million Miles’ is that it almost sounds identical to the highly polished “proper” recording which was later included on This Is a Full Stop. It’s a testament to Kirsty’s skill in recording with the most lo-fi equipment. The same goes for ‘Helicopter’. This was a tune we kept in our repertoire for years, and even included in the Hand Hell live set later on. Despite being a home recording, this is the definitive version of this song.

1. I'm Not Coming Down
2. One Million Miles
3. Helicopter

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