Track By Track: Bored Nothing
Collecting songs from four tapes on his self-titled debut album as Bored Nothing, FERGUS MILLER reveals their origins, whether ‘lame and whiny’ or involving an Appalachian moonshiner or the same plot as a Smiths classic.
‘Shit For Brains’
Tea on the lawn / boring summers / working at a supermarket / drinking whiskey in the bath – This is a pretty simple little song about being cynical and contradictory but being really OK with that.
Last summer me and my friends were pretty obsessed with these videos I found on YouTube of an old Appalachian moonshiner called Marvin 'Popcorn' Sutton. He was a cool dude who simply just did what he liked to do, which I found pretty admirable. This is a little dumbing-down of the story of the end of his life.
‘Just Another Maniac’
Sometimes when I’m really bored, I slip into little existential crises now and then. This is pretty much the theme of ‘…Maniac’, which sounds like a whiny and lame thing to sing about, and it is. But I feel I gained a little more perspective on such little things when one day, in the midst of one, I stumbled across a blog written by a woman who suffers from Trichotillomania, which is the compulsion to constantly pull out your own hair. Which also sounded lame and whiny at first but was in reality totally heartbreaking.
This track was pretty much meant to epitomise getting high on the kitchen floor when no one is home. There is a lot of space and clarity and just general thinking about stuff.
Being a kid is hard sometimes. This is about a kid I met once. I like playing this live because it sets a pretty harsh contrast to our softer, more contemplative songs.
‘I Wish You Were Dead’
I realised when I was singing this one night that the lyrics follow exactly the plot of ‘How Soon is Now?’ by The Smiths, which obviously is a mopey classic. Whoops. But regardless, I love the mood of this song and the guitar lines are always my favourite to play.
This song is pretty much about being young and skipping school to kiss girls.
‘Get Out Of Here’
This pretty much wrote itself. It was basically straight-up autobiographical. Sometimes I miss telling stories as someone like Phil Elverum [Mount Eerie] does, just plain and simple and unadorned. The recording was originally just voice and acoustic, but one night I emailed it to my friend Marcus [Sellars] and he improvised the beautiful electric guitar over the top, which opened up the track so much. It's so spacious.
‘Let Down’ ended up sounding uncharacteristically big compared to my other recordings, I think from all the effects and loud guitars. The drum track is a bit boring (not to mention out-of-time) coz I just made it with a guitar pedal and a microphone, but it kinda drags along with the bass line in a nice way.
This song is one of my favourites. It's based on a pretty hilarious quip, and it also just has a feeling of its own that sets it apart from the other songs when we play it live. Sonically it's all about the big snare and the bass guitar that constantly chugs along. It's very basic but quite fast and somehow always feels vital.
Dreams / houses / water – This is a story I made up about hanging out with my friend in the country.
This song was one of the first songs I made under the Bored Nothing name. It was the first thing I played when I got my Telecaster, which is the only electric guitar I recorded all these songs with. It's about being hopeless on the inside and clumsy on the outside.
‘Build A Bridge (And Then How About You Get The Fuck Over It)’
Dim lights / chewing gum / Syd Barrett – Sometimes you need to be told off for whatever reason, and sometimes you need to know when to tell yourself off.
I've never really thought about it much before, but I guess this song is pretty much about the town where I grew up and, kind of generally, the realisation that as I’ve gotten a little older the things and places and people that I don't like have always secretly been kind of endearing to me.
‘Bored Nothing’ is out Friday (Nov 2) on Spunk. Tour dates below.
Thurs, Nov 15 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC (w/Bleeding Knees Club)
Fri, Nov 16 – Polyester Records, Melbourne, VIC
Sat, Nov 17 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC (w/Bleeding Knees Club)
Sun, Nov 18 – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, VIC (w/Bleeding Knees Club)
Wed, Jan 2 – Hi Fi, Melbourne, VIC (w/Best Coast)
Sat, Jan 12 – A&I Hall, Bangalow, NSW
Wed, Jan 16 – Stoke Factory, Wollongong, NSW (w/Jeff The Brotherhood)