Sydney band the Grease Arrestor have just re-released their first 2014 album on limited release vinyl. Lachlan Colquhoun talks to two key band members about why this was such an important project for them.

Sometimes, some of things you do are special but life is moving too fast to stop and mark that moment and give it its due.

Most often, the moment is lost forever. Even if there is an artefact which survives briefly – like a recording, a photo or a moving image – too often that disappears into the void and is either lost, or you never have a chance to reclaim it.

Occasionally, however, the artefacts are found and restored, and that is the case with the recent Grease Arrestor re-release of their first album What Was, Is.

Originally recorded back in 2014, the original files have re-opened, re-mastered and improved to create the recording the band always wanted it to be. 300 vinyl copies have been pressed for release in Australia through Third Eye Stimuli records and also in Europe through Black Spin.

“The original was done very early in my development as a producer so it was really a mixed bag,” explains Richard Snowden, guitarist and the album’s producer.

“We had primitive entry recording equipment and did it in various places from rehearsal studios to garages, so the very first version of the album we put out on CD was very low fi.”

Come COVID, and Snowden and his collaborator – and Grease Arrestor drummer Josh White – opened up the old files and got back to work, giving it a full remix with all modern plug ins and the benefit of everything they had learned about sound production in the following six years.

“It was a time capsule of that era for us and it was very sentimental and special,” says White.

“We look back on those tracks really fondly and have often talked about getting that project underway again, because we knew we could nail it and it would be such a nice way to tie that all up and give us some closure on that era.”

The result is an eight-album release of original psychedelic rock and even folk, which while it may have its roots in 1960s jangle sounds so very 2020.

This is a sound drenched in guitar reverb, 60s organ sounds and backing vocals which combine to take you away to a unique place where you dance, hallucinate and even shed a bittersweet tear.

The band sings their own “My Sweet Lord’ but its no invocation of religion, rather they implore the Lord “don’t save me”, preferring to surrender to the power of the sound and what it can do to you.

If that sounds over the top, check out the album which is also on Spotify and Bandcamp.

But what about the name, Grease Arrestor? There’s got to be a story behind it, right?

Richard Snowden: “In the early days when we were jamming our old bass player used to work in a clothing retail store in the city. Out the back of that there was a weird door, like Alice in Wonderland, and it had ‘Grease Arrestor’ written on it. There was something eerie and mysterious about it and he loved it and it caught on with the rest of us too.”

Josh White: “Of course it was just a door to a grease trap, but there was a strangeness about it. We thought about changing the name a few times but we never did shake it. Eventually we just thought “oh yeah, we’re the Grease Arrestor.”

What Was, Is by the Grease Arrestor is released by Third Eye Stimuli Records. Here’s the Bandcamp address and the label is also on Facebook and Instagram.