Odlaw creates indie rock with lo-fi bedroom pop and a punk attitude. On the eve of dropping their 2nd single for 2021, I caught up with Odlaw to chat through their long career in the underground indie scene of Perth.
Odlaw have released 2 albums, a bunch of bonus tracks and EPs, toured around the country, all while constantly evolving in styles and band members. Songwriter Mark Neal juggles a behind the scenes music career using Odlaw as an outlet for feelings and satire.
“Most of the time I love my job” Neal states as he sits amongst the wilting ferns in his corner block townhouse, it’s a rental. “but sometimes the little things push you over the edge”. The flashing sirens of an emergency vehicle tear past interrupting his thought. The morning sun is rising across his face while the steam from the cup of instant coffee resting on his knee adds a level of drama I didn’t think a well groomed share house lounge room could have.
Mark Neal is Odlaw. He writes the songs, records a lot of them with a skeleton crew of friends, and usually assembles a rag-tag bunch of angels to bring them to life in various live formats across WA venues. Odlaw has been a long loved project for the beloved WA music icon. An outlet for obsessions and meanderings, therapy in song, and sometimes just something to amuse him slightly.
The latest offering comes in the form of an indie lo-fi pop song titled ‘We Love Playing In The City’. “It’s a song for organised artists, disgruntled music promoters, band bookers, overly confident musicians, and anyone who gets those work emails that have serious undertones. You know the ones where nothing bad is said, but it seems overly aggressive!”
“I’m really terrible at grammar. I can imagine that sometimes my emails come across blunt or careless. We probably all do that sometimes, I suppose. Forget to think about the person on the other side.” Mark spends his days between different venues and events, juggling different roles, and working amongst the WA music community he calls home. “I do love my job. But every now and again when im having a bad day a poorly worded email from an arrogant fucking band will send me into a dark place.” Neal slams his chipped ghostbuster coffee cup into the arm of the chair splashing me and my notepad.
We both stare at the coffee stains as they seep deeper into my clothes. “You get it! Lifes just like that sometimes” he breaks the silence without an apology and leans back into the chair, trying far too hard to look thoughtful. “Anyway let’s end this here, I got a moustache trim booked in for 3pm. Lock the door on your way out. Thanks”.