Cable Ties: “The scene in Melbourne is incredible”

Guitarist Jenny McKechnie tells us about her new album.

Touring pals with the likes of Amyl & the Sniffers and Tropical Fuck Storm, Melbourne’s Cable Ties are champions of inclusivity and trying to right everyday wrongs, with a raft of defiant, impassioned punk tunes to boot. Their second album ‘Far Enough’ arrives via a newly-inked deal with cult indie faves, Merge Records.

Hi Jenny, how’s it going? Are you having a fun day?

My day has been quite good. I introduced Minnie (the most perfect dog in the world) to four magnificent chickens. There were two Australorp hens, one Isa Brown, and one white hen – I do not know her breed.

Tell us about your band then – have you been together long? What’ve you been up to so far?

We’ve been together since 2015. That’s five years now. Good grief. We released our first album in 2017 and have got to do a bunch of amazing shit we never expected, like play our favourite music festival in Australia (Meredith) and tour the UK twice and Europe once and have a bloody rad time.

How did you find your debut album release, was there a steep learning curve?

We were really grateful and blown away by the response to our first album. We had the support of our great Aussie label Poison City and local community radio stations like RRR and PBS and all our mates in punk/ DIY bands which meant our that release was a really life-affirming and great time.

What topics did the record tackle? Do they follow through to your new album, ‘Far Enough’?

The new album is rooted in the same core obsessions of the band that you can hear in the first album – a driving rhythm section, repetition, anxious and emotive guitar playing and defiant and passionate songwriting. Our new record has a bit less skittish post-punk and a bit more mid 70s hard rock/proto-punk. Conversely, it also has more nuance and dynamics across the journey. It’s more vulnerable and less self-assured lyrically. I’m no longer righteously angry, looking out and shouting at the world. I start looking at myself, and sometimes I don’t like what I see and need to work out how I’m going to improve.

What was the process like putting this one together, did you come up against any unexpected challenges?
We had a lot more time with this album. Our first album was recorded mostly over one weekend. This meant we had less time to make sure we got the ideal take and less time to expand on ideas and develop the songs. Our second album was recorded over several weekends and evenings mixing. We were also writing between recording sessions. This meant we had a lot of time to reflect and improve. There was one song that I rewrote the lyrics to twice and cried on the kitchen floor about once. It never made it on the album.

And you’ve recently signed with Merge, how did that come about?

We sent them our album in early 2019. They kept listening to it and decided they wanted to put it out and we were over the bloody moon!! We couldn’t have dreamed of a better label to be on.

It sounds like you guys are super involved in the DIY music community, can you tell us a bit more about the events and projects you’ve taken on?

The music community in Melbourne is super important to us. Community radio stations like RRR and PBS have been a big part of our lives. Nick (bass player) was the breakfast presenter on PBS for a couple of years. We often go into RRR at during their membership drive to play a live to air or have a chat on air. We put on a yearly event called The Cable Ties Ball with about seven of our favourite acts from across a bunch of the DIY punk and electronic music communities in Melbourne. Before Cable Ties, I was in a punk band called Wet Lips. We organised a yearly show called WETFEST with a bunch of incredible gender diverse, queer and feminist bands. Nick also puts on an event called Country Daze in a town called Castlemaine an hour and a half from Melbourne. Shauna also plays drums in Jackson Reid Briggs and the Heaters.

Is the Aussie scene a supportive one when it comes to promoting each other’s music? Which bands do you spend the most time with?

The scene in Melbourne is incredible. We started this band so we could be a part of the thriving community of bands playing every night at the Old Bar or The Tote or someone’s backyard. All our mates are incredibly supportive and encouraging and always putting on interesting lineups, creating zines and starting new projects. It’s such a creatively fertile place to live and create art, and we feel really lucky to get to be a part of it.

Do you get many opportunities to travel, where’s the most exciting place you’ve been with the band so far?

Yeah, we get to do heaps of great stuff! We’ve toured the UK twice and played some shows in France and Germany. We got to do a tour in Aotearoa (New Zealand) which was beautiful.

Have you spent much time in the UK? What are you most looking forward to experiencing on your trip?

We’ve done a couple of tours in the UK and had a really great time. We met lots of awesome like-minded punks and rock dogs on our last tour with Tropical Fuck Storm, and we look forward to making heaps of new mates this time around. The food at your service stations is surprisingly good. We kinda look forward to eating it. Dunno if that’s a compliment to your servos or an indictment of ours.

Taken from the April issue of Dork. Cable Ties’ album ‘Far Enough’ is out 27th March.

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