After a massive 12-months building up to their eponymous release, Melbourne’s groove merchants The Offtopics are ready to launch their highly anticipated EP dubbed Back On The Zine, and it is going to be one hell of a party! Kicking it off with an all-ages Sunday session, the eight-piece band will be showcasing all the tracks from their self-titled EP and giving audiences a glimpse into the final storyline of the comic-book style story that has unfolded across the previous three singles.
Making their official EP launch an all-ages gig actually ties in perfectly to the theme of the release. “The story that’s about to unfold is one that our friends, family and followers will probably understand all too well,” says The Offtopics’ funk dynamo frontman Polash Larsen. “It’s all about the difficulty of ‘getting to the gig’ when you have kids, jobs and other commitments. Without giving too much away, I’m hoping that everyone will relate to the healing that comes from a great day out and a booty-shaking boogie. The Back on the Zine journey has, in many ways, been built on the sanity and strength of people who – usually – have to stay at home. I wanted to create an event where it was possible for everyone in the band to bring their families along. Without the generosity and forbearance of our partners, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so it was very important to me to launch the EP in such a way that everyone could be included. I’ve already had some very positive responses from dear friends who never get to come saying they’ll bring their kids along.”
The Offtopics Back On The Zine project has its roots firmly embedded in Brunswick and surrounds, so it is fitting that the EP launch is at one of the suburbs revered venues, The Spotted Mallard. The area itself provided fodder for inspiration for many of the songs on the EP. For Polash, who lives in the heart of Brunswick, he finds the community is perfect for his music. “Songwriting is my craft and like a lot of craftspeople I use whatever material is to hand like the odd characters walking up nd down Sydney Road,” he says. “The list of artists creating portraits of their surroundings is extensive. Van Morrison’s Cyprus Avenue comes to mind as a key one for me. Breakfast at Sweethearts is another one. Great songs like Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields show the way. In my case I try to include some sort of comic narrative so each song is like a funny episode or vignette so it isn’t just a static description of what a place looks like.”
The Offtopics are well-known in the Melbourne soul scene, not only for their big sound, but also for their on-stage antics. Their shows are entertaining from the outset. There is a tongue-in-cheek camaraderie about the band that appeals to audiences – and also translates into their songwriting. The Offtopics are none to serious, and it is refreshing. An evening, or in the case of their EP launch, an afternoon, in their company is about sheer entertainment, and it is of course, all about the music. For Polash, he and the band can’t wait to put on a huge show to celebrate their EP release.
“With the average audience a little younger not to mention shorter than usual we’ll be banking on the sexual comedy of The Offtopics’ songs to go over their heads,” he laughs. “We’ll play up the physical comedy side of things instead. You can expect the Funk Dynamo to be raiding the vaudeville vault for this show. The Spotted Mallard is a wider space than most so there’s plenty of scope for a free-ranging, undie-flinging performance.”
The enormity of the project coming to fruition is just starting to hit the band. After all, this is a project that originally started 12-months ago, with the release of the first seven-inch vinyl single. It originally started as a nugget of an idea to pay homage to comic book culture through a series of vinyl releases complete with cover narration has blossomed into a full-blown art project for the band. Each single – three over the course of the past year – was released with a comic-style cover telling in part a story. The story, continued across every single, culminates inside The Offtopics’ EP – wrapping up the massive Back On The Zine project and creating a special collector’s edition vinyl series. The EP – and the singles – will be on sale at the launch show.
The Offtopics 12-inch limited edition EP will be available from November 18. For more information, please visit www.theofftopics.com