When it comes to putting on a party, Melbourne funk outfit The Offtopics know how to get their groove on and people on the dancefloor. What happens after that – as the old adage goes – what happens on tour, stays on tour… so what happens at an Offtopics gig, well, the rest goes without saying. Sporting some of the finest players the music city has to offer, The Offtopics are a little bluesy, a little funky, a little bit rock n roll and a lot of darn fun. Now the eight-piece are gearing up for their newest project – the release of their single Sunrise in Richmond, with a party of course, at the incomparable Cherry Bar this October.
Never a band to do things in an ordinary manner, this is of course, no ordinary single release. For starters, they’re going old school and releasing a limited run of Sunrise in Richmond on vinyl. With a classic combo of guitars, bass, drums, keys and as their bio attests ‘the hardest-wailing horn players you’ve ever heard’, The Offtopics music lends itself perfectly to the warmth and romanticism of vinyl. Add to that, Sunrise in Richmond is part of a trilogy of singles – dubbed the Back on the Zine – three seven-inch releases, which will culminate with a 12-inch tying the whole concept together.
The concept itself is pretty special creating something that will give fans and music lovers a limited edited collectible. Funk dynamo frontman Polash Larsen says the band has been working on the concept for a couple of years to bring their vision to fruition. “The launches aren’t just about the music,” he says. “The Back on the Zine series, of which Sunrise in Richmond is the first, consciously casts back to the link between music and the comic book art of the counterculture through the 60s and 70s. Each single release has a comic on the cover with the story being resolved on the final panel of the EP. On top of that, the EP will come with a fold-out poster with places marked for each of the three previous releases, creating a stand alone work of art. It’s very beautiful.”
Sunrise in Richmond was recorded at The Grove Studio in Coburg, keeping everything tight to the inner suburbs of Melbourne – a theme which is apparent in everything the band does. The mastering was done at Crystal Mastering in Thornbury and the vinyl was pressed at Zenith Records in East Brunswick. Even the cover art was local, created by Jess Parker of Squishface Studios in Brunswick. Although all the members of The Offtopics are diverse in their backgrounds, they are share a common bond of living within the inner-hub – and loving – their hometown. Consequently, a common theme throughout the band’s songs are the Melbourne settings – creating heady stories set among familiar streets.
Sunrise in Richmond is a time travel song – it casts back 25 years ago to seeing bands at the Great Britain Hotel on Church Street every Sunday night. “Going to these gigs made it very difficult to get to my 8:30 technical drawing class at RMIT on Monday morning but I think in retrospect I had my priorities right,” says Polash. “Sunrise in Richmond is a reworking of a song I wrote back then, but the intervening years made the imprint of the original a little faint. I remembered the chords but not the words. That’s as it should be. The song is about one of those late nights after the GB closes and we stumble back to someone’s house post gig. We’ve spent all our money on beer and have to pool our funds to line our stomachs with stale convenience store pastries at three in the morning. Right now, I can’t think of anything less appealing than being awake and drunk at dawn. Nevertheless, the nostalgia is real.”
Launching Sunrise in Richmond at Cherry Bar’s iconic Soul Night was a no-brainer for the band. It was the perfect spot. “We have a densely planned hour of funkiness, soul and slapstick planned to make the audience dance, laugh and clap their hands,” Polash says. “To add to the delight on the night, there’ll be appearances by The Funk Dynamo, The Love Wombat and Red Eye Jane, while we take an evidence-based approach to sexiness with songs like Kiss Me: It’s For Science. It’s all killer, no filler baby!”
The Offtopics single Sunrise in Richmond is launched at Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, Melbourne (VIC) on Thursday 12th October 2017 (from 10pm). Sunrise in Richmond is available from all online retailers from Monday 25th September 2017. Limited edition vinyl copies of the single will be available from the concert and The Offtopics website. For more information, please visit www.theofftopics.com