After a year of writing and recording, Wolfmother are preparing to give birth to new musical offspring.
The hard rock band from Sydney, who have become internationally famous during the past decade, are almost ready to release their third record.
But first they're going to play a few fresh tracks to their Australian fans.
“I'm looking forward to getting out and playing a few new songs,” singer, guitarist and songwriter Andrew Stockdale said. “We've been trying to get this record together and we felt we've got to do something else in Australia before the year is over – we've got to make ourselves useful.”
In 2011 Wolfmother worked on their third album between major festival appearances and tours in Europe.
Stockdale was even able to glean ideas from situations on tour.
“On this next record there's a weird, country-blues song that I was plucking away at while I was warming up for the Big Day Out in Melbourne,” Stockdale says.
“I recorded the idea on the iPhone and then later on I took it into the studio, elaborated on it and it's turned into a song. It's nice to just grab ideas whenever you get a chance.”
So what can the millions of Wolfmother fans out there expect of album number three?
“This one has a lot more swagger,” Stockdale says. “The elements are all there – I think maybe it's just a bit more uplifting than the last record, which got a little bit angsty in places.
“This one is definitely looking to rekindle our original idea of rock and roll, without it being too predictable.”
Wolfmother are self-producing the new album and Stockdale seems happy being the captain of their creative ship.
The band had been able to steer each song independently of any outside influence.
Stockdale admits that when working with a record producer in the past, like Dave Sardy on their self-titled debut or Alan Moulder on their second release Cosmic Egg, he has felt disconnected from certain aspects and decisions on the albums.
Stockdale might be returning Wolfmother to the archaic purity of their self-recorded breakthrough debut EP in 2004.
“If it's not a good rock and roll song, then it shouldn't be on the record,” Stockdale explains. “If something doesn't fit in to where we want the song to go, then we immediately make sure it gets to where we want it to sound.
“We can do that because we're recording ourselves. We just go straight for the sound so it doesn't become diluted in any way.
“Now that we're doing it ourselves we can own the path of this record. It's a lot riskier but maybe by the third record it's time to do something riskier.
“Anyone who likes the first record will be pretty excited by what we've put together.”
Some rock bands focus all their attention in the studio on creating a record that captures how they sound live.
But Stockdale believes that no matter how hard you try, the studio and the live arena are always going to sound different.
“Some times on a stage in a big theatre, the sounds are massive,” Stockdale says.
“Live, the sound of the music takes on its own identity. You can play all the parts like they are on the record, but the sound will always be completely different.”
In both the studio and on stage Stockdale has demonstrated his ability to create a robust rock guitar riff, with tracks like Woman, The Joker and The Thief and Love Train already modern classics.
He is happy with this new batch of riffs.
“We've been conscious of that fine line between a rock and roll riff that's coming from the blues and a jam sort of vibe, or a metal drop-D riff,” Stockdale says. “We're trying to get back to a groove and get a riff with a good swing.”
Stockdale thinks that other aspects of the new album might surprise people.
“There's a few songs that became acoustic with a mouth organ and went off the rails in a folk singer-songwriter style, and I thought that these [songs] don't fit the record,” Stockdale admits. “I thought the album should just be flat-out riffs and lots of organ and drum-fills and me trying to sing as high as I can throughout the whole song.
“But then I think it's nice to have new elements introduced to Wolfmother as we go. People's ears can pick up and go, 'Woah, what's going on here?'”
Stockdale reveals that there is a diverse range of themes in the new record's lyrics.
One tells the “nostalgic” story of a man whose friends have all grown up and moved on with their lives, but he still frequents the same pubs and clubs.
Another, Meridian, is about “watching television, the media and seeing these ridiculously inhumane things in the daily paper and thinking wow”.
Year Of The Dragon is “about what year people are born in and what it means”.
Stockdale treats his vocals as a rhythmic device.
“A lot of the time I try to think of the percussive nature of the words, like how it sounds as a percussive instrument,” Stockdale explains. “If I look for a melody when I'm singing it just gets worse and worse.
“If I sing it like it's a drum beat, the lyrics and the melody seem to present themselves.”
While Wolfmother haven't officially named their new album, Stockdale is kicking around a few ideas.
“I'm thinking Stoneaged Phone Age,” Stockdale says.
“Another [potential name] is Riffology. They're the two contenders at this point.”