It is with mixed emotions that we premiere the final ever single from Brisbane dream pop exponents We Set Sail, amusing entitled ‘Living In A Time When Only Cigarettes Would Kill You’. Nothing ever lasts forever and all good things must come to an end.
The track opens with a poignant spoken conversation asking how do you want to be remembered? Answer:
As a friend…I don’t really need to be remembered, I hope the music is remembered…
The gentle jangle of music commences almost at as an elegiac response: a melancholy softly sung refrain that is majestic and ethereal, posed and enigmatic. As is this band’s way, the music is statuesque and imperial, heart-breakingly beautiful and made all the more sorrowful by the knowledge that this is a musical farewell. A defiant turn of thundering guitars as the song ends adds a sense of resolution and finality to the track: a defiant and thundering goodbye.
The track title stemmed from a mix cd Paul had in his car featuring the Cigarettes Will Kill You track by Ben Lee. The way Paul usually develops melody is on the spot while jamming on songs, and the build up line in this track came so naturally that it had to have been a subconscious throwback. Interestingly, no one picked it up in the band initially, and then it became a bit of a running joke about adding yet another name on the list to sue the band (in addition to all the sample use). So, rather than run the risk of causing anxiety attacks about it for Andy, the guitarist, the decision was made to pay a bit of a homage to the track, in a kind of nostalgic, youthful way, looking back on comparatively simpler times.
it’s a stunning end, indeed:
The track is part of a 7″ final single entitled ‘I Don’t Recall Saying Good Luck’ (along with the track ‘Broken Umbrella’ – reviewed by me here) that will be available at the band’s farewell gig on 8 July 2023 in Brisbane.
So why end what has been such an intense and stunning 15 years? We asked Boccalatte from We Set Sail about the origins and the end of the band, and what is next for the members:
The back story of the band started with Andy and Jimmy (guitarists) Llyod (bass) playing in a band called “CarrsPark”. Ben joined on drums and after Paul left “The Paper and The Plane” (in which I played with him), he also joined and they played under the name “Hill Valley”. The first album Rivals was then recorded, after which, Hayden replaced Lloyd on bass to write Feel Nothing. I joined 5 years ago in the place of Hayden and Ritual and Ceremony was the result. Pretty simplified summary especially for the time frame, but we don’t have a history of working quickly haha.
As the most recent member to join WSS, I have been able to experience a longevity of friendship around some very cool peeps, playing music that embodies DIY totally. We have had no management, no deadlines, no pressure, no label (apart from Kill The Music from the record store Paul owned, and False Peak Records, of course), and while that naturally had an effect on the level of ‘success’ more recognised bands might achieve after an equal amount of time, we never sold out, and always stayed true to the integrity of the music and independent ethos.
Despite not touring much outside of Brisbane, we have played with some of our greatest musical inspirations (Get Up Kids, Knapsack, Thursday, to name a few) and after 3 albums and a slew of eps, looking back, we really feel that we have accomplished all that we would have. The decision to call it a day may have come unexpectedly to audiences, mainly because We Set Sail has always been there, established for fans experiencing their formative musical genre development, and just like the fans continue to experience life, so too has the band. 15 years spanning 2 decades (and for a couple of us in our 40s) naturally implies a hell of a lot of life to happen around us.
There are multiple relationships, kids, pets, jobs, mortgages, interest rates haha, and side hustles/hobbies that have been slowly brewing, all impacting a constant reflection about what we have achieved and really what more we can do. So, in that regard, and probably in contrast to other bands we have played in which kind of faded out in the scene or morphed into other bands (such is the nature of the Brisbane scene), we figured that we could finish off with an amazing show for everyone who has supported us along the way (referencing Paul’s affinity with Kurt’s quote- “Better to burn out than to fade away”.). This show is already shaping up to be the biggest yet, so we are stoked.
As for other musical projects, Ben plays with Hayden (the bassist before me) in a prog metal band called “Dead For Ages”, while Andy, Paul and I play in Dänmark. As for us all working on something together, it’s not completely out of the question; it’s not like we are finishing because of animosity or anything negative. On the contrary, we feel that we are in a state of achievement that we haven’t been able to match so it’s actually quite positive. There is a deep care for each other in the band, which is natural after 15 years, because a lot of bands don’t get to experience that, so yeah, in that sense, it has been an amazingly positive experience to play the music we always wanted to play in a way that we decided, for a bunch of sad bastards.
A very sweet and mature farewell from a band that will be sorely missed.
You can get a copy of the single at the final concert – details of the final gig are below and you can get tickets here.
Feature Photograph: Luke Henery