FORTITUDE VALLEY – ” Fortitude Valley “

Posted: October 29, 2021 in MUSIC

“Writing songs on guitar and being the front person for a band is a new thing for me,” admits Fortitude Valley front woman Laura Kovic, laughing “I’ve never been in charge before! ”With a musical restlessness setting in over the past few years during her time as the keyboard player of East London indie pop band Tigercats, Kovic might not be used to being the boss, but she doesn’t seem to be letting that get in the way. After experiencing writer’s block for a couple of years, she took the bull by the horns, as she explains, “Finally I bought a guitar in February 2018 to see if doing something different would help me…and it did!”
Kovic cemented the band’s line up by recruiting mutual friend and bassist Greg Ullyart from Night Flowers, meeting bandmates Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums) and Daniel Ellis (lead guitar) of Martha/Onsind through their shared label home on now sadly-defunct indie bastion Fortuna POP!.

“I played in Mikey Collins’ band with Greg, but our first band together was a Blur cover band called Bleurgh…funnily enough, our first show was opening for Martha!” she recalls.

Named after an area of her home town in Brisbane, Australia, Fortitude Valley is a fitting moniker for the songwriter’s first outfit, who says: “It’s essentially the heart of the music scene in Brisbane, and it’s where I first played a show. As a place, it’s always had a special meaning to me.”

Combining elements of power-pop, indie-pop, pop punk and indie rock, their diverse approach takes influence from the likes of Weezer, Belle & Sebastian, The Beths, The Weakerthans, and Pavement.
“In the past I’ve usually written more gentle melodic pop songs,” explains Kovic, “but I’ve tried to move away from that slightly on this album and experiment with adding more deliberate bite to my songwriting. Nathan, Daniel and Greg definitely helped to make it more punk. Compared to the other bands people might have heard me playing in, it probably has more of an indie rock vibe.”Addressing those bouts of writer’s block which have plagued her over the years, she says: “I’ve always tended to write in bursts of productivity, then go for long periods without writing anything. The strange thing about this album was that we were ready to record the last four songs in April 2020, then the pandemic hit and we couldn’t finish it, and in the intervening period I ended up basically scrapping some of those songs, and writing new ones instead. My rescue cat Margie has been a great source of inspiration!” Recording in two stints during 2019 and 2021 with a COVID sized hole in the middle, the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut album was laid down between Soup Studios in London, Rocking Horse Recording Studio in Durham, and the members’ respective homes. The album was recorded, engineered and produced by Giles Barrett and Neil Combstock, mixed by Michael Collins, and mastered by Dave Williams.

Addressing themes of the passage of time, friendships and relationships growing apart, and feelings of insecurity, depression, and anxiety—as well as searching for love and salvation—the album is very much a product of our times.With songs ranging from recent single ‘Cassini’, about the doomed spacecraft, to ‘All Hail The Great Destroyer’, a tribute to Margie the rescue cat who destroys everything for fun and is “an absolute legend”, it’s an album that’s packed with pathos, humour, and hope. “The fact that we recorded half of the album before the pandemic hit, and then the other half a year and a bit into lockdown life, those ideas of being stuck in a rut, and looking for salvation, have definitely become more prominent themes,” says Kovic, “but those were there already to some extent. Thinking about time running out has become much more real when everyone has lost a year of their lives (or much worse) to the pandemic.”
And now, with time no longer seeming like such a precious and pressured commodity as we all take a step towards COVID being a thing of the past, what does the future have in store for Fortitude Valley?.

“We played End of the Road Festival in September and Twisterella in Middlesbrough in October, but that’s all we have booked in for now,” says Kovic reservedly. “I’m cautiously optimistic about being able to do more when things are safer!”
As for Kovic’s continued never-say-die dedication to the underground rock scene? You can take the girl out of Fortitude Valley, but it seems there’s no taking Fortitude Valley out of the girl… 

Released October 29th, 2021

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