Dave McCormack interview

Time Off, Aug 2004

With a butcher’s cleaver adorning the front cover and song titles like ‘If You Leave Me (I Will Hunt You Down And Kill You)’, David McCormack’s The Truth About Love appears less than optimistic.

So it’s initially disconcerting to press play and discover possibly the lushest pop album McCormack has delivered for years.

“We worked in many studios with several producers,” McCormack says. “It gave me a chance to entertain my Brian Wilson fixation. We had musicians coming in and out of the studio and there are a few string sections too.

“It’s the first time I’ve had the inclination or the circumstance to really make a lush record. I’ve always had a fancy for the slower, melancholic songs but we’ve always done them just with guitar, bass and drums. Using strings was a very expensive way of making a record, but hopefully it will all pay off.”

McCormack, a veteran of one failed marriage already, describes the album (his second with backing band The Polaroids) as a “warts and all” account of love.

“I wanted to explore the light and dark sides of love,” the ex-Custard member says. “Love is a very strong emotion and it can drive people to do good things and very bad things. Love can make you become a stalker or a serial killer.

“I consciously wanted to sing about things that are quite dark or twisted but make it sound like a good AM pop song.”

But McCormack insists he’s not here to rain on anyone’s parade.

“I have great faith in love,” he says. “I don’t want to put the fear of love into anybody – certainly not! I think people should go and get married. Everybody should do it at least once.”

Fans of McCormack’s work won’t find anything groundbreaking on The Truth About Love. Then again, they’re not likely to be looking for it. Whether it’s Custard, The Titanics or his numerous side-projects and solo offshoots, David McCormack writes pop songs bursting with melody and sprinkled with wit.

“The same old themes keep popping up,” he admits. “And I do have a generic David McCormack-middle-bit that tends to pop up in every song. But I’m not too worried. Anyway, the same chords can sound different in a different context.

“I write songs in this pop idiom and that’s what they are and that’s what they always will be. I don’t think I’ll do a hip-hop album any time soon.”

Recently, McCormack’s been producing other people’s music, including Brisbane pop’n’roll outfit Arbuckle’s new EP. He also had a hand in the pre-production stages of The Tremors’ soon-to-be-released debut album.

So, while he’s been living in Sydney since 2001, it’s apparent McCormack hasn’t forgotten about Brisbane.

“No way! I still feel like a fish out of water down here in Sydney. New South Wales has this vibe that I can’t really fit into. I always feel like I’m on an extended holiday and in the next week or two it will be time to move back to Brisbane.”

We’ll be waiting with open arms.

David McCormack & The Polaroids launch The Truth About Love (Laughing Outlaw) at The Zoo Saturday Aug 28.