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LOSER’s CRAIG SELAK – THE ‘ALL THE RAGE’ ALBUM INTERVIEW

With their new album ‘All The Rage’, Melbourne-based rockers Loser deliver a sack full of summer bangers. Ten, no fuss, 90s flavoured rock n roll toons with all the fat trimmed off, spiced up with their special sauce and BBQ ready!

Ahead of LOSER‘s fabulous new album release ‘All The Rage’ this Friday Sep 10, in our video interview bass player Craig Selak talks to Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips about the creation of the album.

LOSER draw on tropes of hard-and-fast nostalgic rock throughout the album and have filled it with incredible touches and references to some of their heroes including Queens Of The Stone Age, Weezer, Oasis, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World and more. They are real “musicians musicians” and having packed in a fresh LOSER edge of their own and an incredible list of solos, All The Rage will no doubt be a favourite classic Melbourne rock record in years to come.

It was just last February when LOSER came roaring out the gates with their boisterous and buoyant debut album, Mindless Joy. But never ones to rest on their laurels, the Melbourne rockers celebrated their first full-length effort by slamming straight back into the ring for round two.

Armed with an arsenal of poignant pop-punk anthems and the spirit of rock ’n’ roll’s finest – and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, of course – LOSER wasted not a minute knuckling down on their next set of loose and lively, throwback-lacquered belters. They’re the kings of cranking out stadium rock on a bedroom budget (and in some cases, literally from their bedrooms), and they’re ready and raring to take on the world.

Guys, gals and non-binary pals, take a seat and crank those speakers up high, for this is the age of pure, unrestrained energy. This is a punk-rocking paradise of singalongs and solos, where melody reigns and fists pump with the force of a thousand islands in the sun. This is… All The Rage.

Across 10 tracks of rip-roaring rock and pummelling pop, All The Rage offers a powerfully honest, emphatically emotive distillation of who LOSER are at their collective core. Especially so for singer-shredder Tim Maxwell; while in the past he would hide behind metaphor to expound on his inner turmoils, LP2 marks a daring leap forward into a bold new world of soul-baring songwriting.

It all came to a head when Tim was laying down the vocal track for the album’s lead single, ‘On The Edge’.

“That’s the first time I’d ever broken down in the studio,” Tim admits. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me – I felt like half my body was numb. And I think you can really hear that through a lot of the vocal tracking and the lyrical content.”

The end result is an album that doubles as a lifeline for those struggling to find their own mental stability mid-pandemic. All The Rage encourages its listener to stay strong and keep pushing forward; to know that no matter what, they’re not alone, and it’s without a doubt they’ve got what it takes to stand victorious in the fight against their demons.

“I hope there’s something on this album that people feel like they can relate to,” says bassist Craig Selak. “Even a song like ‘Skyward’ – I mean, it’s about aliens, but it’s also about feeling like when shit’s hitting the fan, you can step out and just focus on yourself.

“I think that’s the overarching theme of the album: you don’t have to step away and hide from the world, you can look within and find something that makes you feel more comfortable. And that really sums up the personal growth we all went through in trying to record this album, learning not to overthink thinks, and Tim’s personal journey with his mental health over the pandemic.

“I hope people feel at home in these songs, and that it’s reaffirming on some level… And I like the guitar solos.”

Bringing album No. 2 to life was no easy feat for LOSER. It all started with the fabrication of their very own rock ’n’ roll oasis, where they could jam out to their hearts’ content, free to explore their wildest, most explosive musical fantasies. Over three weeks in the early months of 2020, Restless Noise Studios (named for their instant-hit debut EP) was built from the ground up behind the childhood home of Tim and his brother / fellow riff-lord Will.

Separated by last year’s off-and-off lockdown periods, the album was mostly pieced together by satellite, Tim and Selak co-producing with an infallible motive: make the kind of album their 15-year-old selves would’ve gone totally buck-wild over. Because after all, there are few things out there more powerful than nostalgia.

“I basically wanted to give the kids of 2021 an opportunity to feel what I felt back in the day,” Tim rhapsodises, “When I would hear bands like Green Day for the first time and just lose my mind.”

To really lock himself into the mindset of his alt-rock idols circa 2002, Tim binged on YouTube playlists of classic Video Hits highlights, studying the enigmatic idiosyncrasies of bands like blink-182 and Powderfinger to ascertain exactly what made their three-minute firestarters so deliciously addictive (it also helped that they had one of Powderfinger’s longtime collaborators, Anton Hagop, mixing All The Rage).

“I wanted to write a song that would have a universal impact,” Tim declares. And through the new album’s lead single, ‘On The Edge’ – with its verse an homage to Ben Folds’ ‘Rockin’ The Suburbs’, and a chorus that downright demands you sing along – it’s clear he pulled it off with vicious aplomb.

All things considered, LOSER certainly don’t shy away from their influences on All The Rage – you’ll hear a slither of Weezer-esque melody on the slacker-rock scorcher ‘All I Need’; a summery Oasis vibe on the slow-burning ‘Time Won’t Wait’; and guitar solos channelling Queens Of The Stone Age on the grungy and metallic ‘Skyward’.

There’s also a distinctly unique production trick that Tim picked up from Stu Mackenzie of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: “I watched a video of Stu explain how he records acoustic guitars through an iPhone, and I was super inspired by it,” he says. “So all of the acoustic guitars on ‘Time Won’t Wait’ – and the majority of the album – were recorded using an iPhone. It’s amazing how far phone technology has come!”

More than anything else, though, All The Rage sees LOSER truly come into their own, galvanised by their ironclad chemistry as a four-piece and embracing wholeheartedly their own polychromatic personalities.

As Selak explains: “During the writing and recording of Mindless Joy, We would be like, ‘This part reminds me of Alice In Chains, let’s go more down that path,’ or, ‘This is kind of Weezer-y, let’s put some more of that energy into it.’ But this time around, it was much more about what we were feeling personally and what felt good to us, and a bit less of a focus on any of that stuff.

“Having been a band for longer, and having Mindless Joy on our belts already, we feel a bit less worried about how it’s all going to come across. We’re more comfortable in expressing ourselves.”

LOSER IS:
Tim Maxwell Vocals/Guitar | Will Maxwell Guitar | Craig Selak Bass | Jake Farrugia Drums

ALBUM CREDITS:
Produced by Tim Maxwell & Craig Selak
Mixed by Anton Hagop (Silverchair, Powderfinger)
Mastered by Matt Gray
Drum recording by Sam Johnson

CONNECT WITH LOSER:
facebook.com/bandcalledloser | twitter.com/loserbandaus | instagram.com/bandcalledloser | bandcalledloser.com