The Spaghetti Stains on their debut album, using their platform for good, and their next stages as a group

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The Spaghetti Stains on their debut album, using their platform for good, and their next stages as a group

Photo by Chelsea King
Words by Benjamin Lamb

The indie-trio's debut album 'Essential Ingredients' is out now.

The Spaghetti Stains are an unstoppable force. Their original blend of surf-rock, indie and lo-fi has garnered them fans from all corners of the Earth.

After a string of super successful singles like ‘Toast To The Coast’, ‘Lolly Boys’ and ‘Caveman Diet’, the talented trio have released their debut album, Essential Ingredients. We linked up with The Spags themselves (Rose Verey, Emmah Hellings and Pantjiti Lawrence) to have a chat about it all.

Essential Ingredients is a ten-song collection of tracks spanning a three-year timeframe, so its release has been met with much relief and excitement from the group, as vocalist and bassist Emmah Hellings puts it;

“It’s really nice to have come full circle and finally release all these songs we’ve been playing for so long. Now we can send that little baby off into the world.”

Back in June last year, the group received one of triple j Unearthed’s Level Up Grants, helping them begin work on the album, but as guitarist and vocalist Pantjiti Lawrence mentions, COVID restrictions through a bit of a spanner in the works;

“The grant actually allowed us to create an album. We were supposed to record in September of last year, but we went into that big second lockdown, and just kept having to push it back.

“We had to work with Unearthed, and be like ‘We literally can’t do it, COVID won’t let us do anything’. But I think we all feel it happened as it was supposed to.”

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Even with the impact of last year’s lockdowns and closures, it’s ultimately just another page in The Spaghetti Stains book. The trio mention that the release of Essential Ingredients and going out on tour marks the end of the first chapter. But of a story that’s only just getting started.

This first phase of the group being a learning experience, as drummer and vocalist Rose Verey adds; “I learned that our music is really fun, really playful, and then a lot is really serious and has a more emotional side to it. That’s really important to have in all aspects of our creativity.”

Emmah’s takeaway from the first chapter was: “It’s been a really good opportunity just to figure out how we work together as a band, and what we enjoy writing about, the stories we enjoy telling when we’re on stage.”

A big point in each of their careers came during their recent Essential Ingredients tour at the Melbourne stop at The Workers Club, as Pantjiti mentions “Our Melbourne show was insane, everybody was there, it was just amazing.

“I cried a couple of times during our set, I’m just so grateful for all these people spending $20 and their Friday night to be with us and hear us do our thing.”

The release of Essential Ingredients and playing a show to fans who were singing their songs back to them was an unforgettable experience for the trio, as Rose mentions – “It was just a huge slap in the face of ‘this is real’, this isn’t something we make in our bedrooms. Seeing that being transported from our minds into other people’s lives is pretty cool.”

An important aspect of The Spaghetti Stains work is having this platform that people are listening to and responding to. They are using it to help create some much-needed change in the world, something each of them is extremely passionate about.

“You have to give out into this world what you want to get, and what you want to see. I feel like that’s really important for us,” Rose adds.

Pantjiti mentions; “We’re all pretty mindful of sustainability in our daily lives, we want to create what we want to see in the future, through having way more than 50% gender diverse line-ups and gender diverse people doing stuff for us.”

Emmah brings up the idea that through them spreading a good message, it might help spark an idea or a change in someone else; “You literally have all these people investing their time and energy into what you’re doing.

“If someone’s on their Instagram, and comes across our post, and they see we’re selling merch that’s made from sustainable sources, and we’ve gotten on board local artists and really created that type of community, then it might just spark that consciousness, in their world, and who knows what could branch off from that.”

For those unfamiliar with the work of The Spags, Essential Ingredients will show you that they’re no ordinary indie rock troupe, their immeasurable chemistry and talent helps them to create great music that is both original and distinct.

Emmah mentions that a lot of their music comes from ‘the thick of a jam,’ and this live amalgamation of personalities helping create a special sauce that truly helps The Spags serve up some really tasty tunes;

Pantjiti adds that them being such good friends really plays into the music they create; “Sometimes I have these ideas, and I’m unsure about them, so it’s just like a different head that’s allowing me to understand how to execute something.”

Long-lasting friendships also; “Rose and I went to high school together and have been jamming since Year 7. We’ll just look at each other, and be like yep, we know what to do next,” she adds with a laugh.

Rose adds that even when they work on tracks separately, bringing them to the group helps them flourish; “We all have our own way of creating, and our own way of writing.

“I think a lot of the time one of us will come up with an idea, and we’re like ‘Hey guys, I have this idea, let’s work on this’, and it starts with just the one idea, and together, using our own creative styles, we make the songs.

“That’s some of the songs, then the rest of the songs are written individually and brought together. A lot of it is our personalities meshing together.”

This individual nature of their music coming together through a melding of personalities and inspirations that culminate in a way unlike many other bands out there; “Our personalities are different, we all have different interests, so the music represents parts of ourselves meshed together,” Rose adds.

It’s clear through songs like ‘Toast To The Coast,’ ‘Summer’ and ‘The Mountains,’ even by title alone, the stuff outside music is just as important to The Spags as the music itself.

The songs they write are all about getting out there and experiencing the world. Emmah outlines that the environment and its surroundings are important to the direction of The Spaghetti Stains, now, and into the future.

“We all really connect with where we’ve grown up, and we’re all big earth babies, we all love being out in the world and being amongst trees and the ocean, so I think sometimes that comes out. I also feel like that might be something that comes into more of our writing down the line as well.

“Everything that we do is based on creating some sort of story or relaying an experience. Quite a lot of the time we do a lot of stuff together, we’ll have a life experience outside of the band, and we’re like ‘Oh let’s write a song about that!’ and then it’ll just naturally find its feet.”

Essential Ingredients is out now. Grab it here.