There is no doubt about it, Melbourne’s The Offtopics are one groovin’ band, and if there was any doubt, then the band’s newest single will lay any questions to rest. The single – Funky Grandma – is pretty much everything you can imagine from the song, its vibrant, it hops from the intro and it is, above everything else, funky as hell. The second vinyl single in the four-part comic cover collectible, Funky Grandma follows hot on the heels of the band’s September release Sunrise in Richmond that saw them pack out Cherry Bar for a single launch party.
Funky Grandma was recorded, engineered and mixed by Nick Herrera at The Grove Studio (Coburg), and mastered by Joe Carra at Crystal Mastering (Thornbury). Continuing the band’s vein of supporting local Melbourne businesses – and creating great local content – The Offtopics printed the next run of vinyl at Zenith Records in East Brunswick. The comic artwork, a direct continuation of the storyline started on the cover artwork of Sunrise in Richmond, was designed by Jess Parker from Squishface Studio in Brunswick.
Funk dynamo frontman Polash Larsen says unlike the first single, which had its roots firmly planted in a Melbourne-based storyline, Funky Grandma is one of those mysterious alchemies of songwriting. “The song really doesn’t have much to do with either of my actual grandmothers,” he says. “I never knew my mother’s mother, and my father’s mother, though terrific in many ways, not the least being that she is still with us at 102, is not particularly funky in any sense of the word. Even at 102-years-old, she smells fine. The song examines funk’s mutable power over a grandma, a postman, an op-shop and even an Indian mystic in the form of a sadhu. Look, it’s a funny song for dancing to. It’s the A-side because its up-beat and the production turned out really nice. The B-side, Plans, has more of a real story, but who wants to hear about the B-side these days?”
Funky Grandma is the second release in a trilogy of singles dubbed the Back on the Zine, three seven-inch releases that will culminate with a 12-inch tying the whole concept together. “Each single release has a comic on the cover with the story being resolved on the final panel of the EP,” says Polash. “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.”
Picking the A-sides singles for the trilogy leading into the EP was a process within itself – finding something that resonated with the story conceived in the comic, while also appealing to music fans. The EP will culminate in eight songs together. “From past experience, I’m leery of putting a sad song, or a song with a negative sounding title, at the fore,” says Polash. “It’s a process of elimination really, and once all of those considerations are taken into account, there aren’t a lot of choices left. I’m a pretty eclectic songwriter and while I’m fortunate to have a very open-minded and tolerant band, I can’t assume that audiences are necessarily up for the ride. So, presenting the songs in a certain order is also about minimizing the perception of genre difference. The three singles – including the next one, A Man Needs Cooling, generally have the strongest production, and the least mistakes – to my ear anyway – and the most solid songwriting.”
Funky Grandma’s comic cover tells the story of a growing cast of larger than life characters who inhabit the songs, translating seamlessly into the comic book world. “On the first release, we see Donna’s desire to attend The Offtopics gig, but she has a familiar problem to every modern super woman – who is going to look after the kids so she can get her groove on?” says Polash. “Her friend Frank has a solution. It’s a winnowing process to make the story fit into the five or so panels that can fit on the cover of a seven-inch single. We started with a broad script and then identify the key images and text that will propel the story forward as elegantly as possible.” Enter the Funky Grandma!
The Offtopics single Funky Grandma is released to radio on Friday 16th February 2018. The limited edition collectible vinyl is available for purchase via The Offtopics website.
For more information, please visit www.theofftopics.com