by Huna Amweero in New Music on Tuesday 16 December 2008

It’s hard to find a misstep on the full-length debut from Melbourne band, Children Collide. The Long Now doesn’t sound like a first album: its mature, yet completely varied sound and lyrical concept makes it feel like something you’d expect from a band on their third or fourth album (you know, after the ‘cursed’ second album). Children Collide are most definitely in control, something that could have been lost while working with big-name producer, Dave Sardy. It’s rare that you pick up a CD and feel like the band has decided on everything, right down to the artwork that encases their killer album. We threw guitarist-singer Johnny Mackay a few questions about how they managed to wrap everything up in such a … errr … tight little package.

You seemed to have focused a whole lot of genres, into one clean tight sound. Is that something you guys have honed over the last few years?
‘Well, I’d say it’s more a result of us being people who appreciate a lot of different types of music. We get bored if songs sound too similar and prefer the sound of our instruments to be more what connects the songs rather than their style. Clean and tight? Sometimes I guess’.

Were you waiting to get to a certain point with your sound before you took the plunge to record the album?
‘Not really. Our sound goes out in all kinds of directions and there are songs on this record that we have played from our first gig along with songs that were written more than three years later. I would have been happy to record an album with the first twelve songs we ever wrote but that didn’t happen. Now we’ve written probably about 80 and have demo’d more than 60 of those. There’s no clear evolution in our sound, only an increasingly varied dynamism. Well, that’s my hope anyway’.

Lyrically, the album navigates quite a bleak social landscape. Where does this ‘end of the world’ inspiration come from?
‘It’s probably my way of accepting the mortality of all things. Or taking mortality to a macro level. Lyrically I often theorise and question rather than make statements, so a lot of it just me dreaming up an abstract “what if” rather than a cynical diss on the state of the planet’.

The silver-moon-scratch-panel on my copy of the album revealed the Earth, what are the other possible versions?
‘One is a clock, which mysteriously points to just after eleven minutes past ten. A crazy, unintentional coincidence with the date we released 11/10. The other is the Voyager gold record. When they sent out the Voyager spacecraft in the 70s they included a record that contained images and sounds from earth in case any aliens found it I guess. It also has a diagram depicting the location of earth’.

How does it relate to the album?
‘Well, I tend to write a lot of lyrics that allude to concepts of space and time in different ways. The images probably relate to the title more actually, which, in turn, relates to the songs’.