It was after a bizarrely specific dream that Two Parts Viper, the brand-new album from ’68 began to take form. One half of the duo Josh Scogin envisioned a suited man informing him that to survive life, you must be two-parts viper. It was advice that was heavily vetted before being taken on board.

Scogin concluded that being two-parts viper isn’t so negative, when you consider the dozens of parts that go into being human. Scogin and counterpart Michael McClellan were left to their own devices for 7 months to complete the record all the while Maintaining a healthy touring cycle. As a result, the album was also compiled over several international borders.

All that said, the result is far from the confused, over-produced patchwork of songs it could have been. Instead it’s a intensely focused body of work, the natural predecessor of 2015’s In Humour And Sadness yet simultaneously a ginormous leap into uncharted waters.

To get our heads around the album, we spoke to front man Josh Scogin.

The Neversphere: As we speak we’re mere hours away from International ’68 day, how does it feel?
Josh Scogin: It’s so wonderful. To have fresh, new material; it’s a dream come true.
The Neversphere: There was so much talk around the album of things happening organically, like the sound of you tapping your ring on a mug in the beginning, for example. How different was the final product to what you set out to make because these spontaneous additions?
Josh: That’s a hard question because I don’t tend to plan anything too much. I leave a whole lotta room for impulsiveness and spontaneity. Having said that, I never know what it’s going to be like. I had a few songs here and there early in the bag of songs but essentially I leave some real wide open space for anything to change.

I remember talking to the label and they asked how many songs will be on there, I had to say I don’t know, however many songs come to me. It could be nine songs, it could be 15. We leave a lot of room for the organic growing. We start off writing songs and then you just watch it grow on its own almost. Certain songs demand to be there. That first song on the album demanded to be there, it wouldn’t work at any other spot on the album.
The Neversphere: I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been for your label during the initial talks. Asking for a framework or timeline and basically just being told ‘Look, it’s ok – I had a dream, with a guy, in a suit – it’ll be fine’-
Josh: [Laughs] Right? Well, I think they knew what they were getting in with. If they’re working with me I think they have a bit of an idea of how it works. It was very much a process of ‘Just…Just trust me. I think it’ll be ok.’ Thankfully I have a label that trusts the organic process, you know?
The Neversphere: You mentioned each song had to fight for its place. How much deeper does that go? Listening to the music it really feels thought out – as though every beat and riff had to fight for its place also.
Josh: I don’t know how other people write stuff but with me, I have a standard and if it doesn’t reach a standard it gets deleted really quickly. Soon, the album itself starts to build its own standard. I might write one song that I think is really good, but nine other songs come to me and they’re way better. Then suddenly that first song didn’t make it, and I have to write another one.

It’s a process and i’m very quick to delete a song. Very, very, very fast. I’ll delete something before you can tell me if you like it or don’t like it, [Laughs], I don’t know if that’s good or bad, you know?
The Neversphere: The album wasn’t just written over several months, it was written across several countries. When you were listening back to the album, were you surprised by how much your geographical location impacted your writing?
Josh: Yeah, it changed a tonne of stuff. I can’t really put my finger on it; well, somethings I can – but I can’t put my finger on ‘oh this would have been different if I wasn’t in that location’. But as someone who lets things come organically, I don’t force inspiration, I just react when it comes. This album would not be the way it was if it didn’t take 7 months to take.

For better or worse, I don’t know what the other outcome would have been. At the end of the day, it sounds like what it sounds like because it took 7 months. At times, I was freezing cold in Europe trying to find somewhere to be warm, and a lyric would hit me. It can be pretty fun to do things that way, but it’s also a bit daunting. Sometimes it’s nice to dive in there and then you’re done. One month of pulling your hair out and the album’s done. There might be a healthy aspect to doing it that way.

The Neversphere: What do you think had a bigger impact on the album: The timing thing, or the geographical thing?
Josh: I mean, I would have to have relived it the other way to know for sure but I would imagine the time factor. Because I’ve never had that before. Like I said, usually you dive in for a month and it’s done, for better or worse. This time, 6 months later, If I think I can make a track that I wrote months ago a bit better, I had the ability to do that.

Which is interesting because a song I had written in the comfort of my home was then altered while on tour. I was in Europe in the freezing cold but an idea came to me. That’s an interesting way to build a song but I’ve had to find a balance. I didn’t want to over think anything, I think rock and roll should be a little impulsive and a little spontaneous. Usually your gut instinct is the right instinct, in my experience.
The Neversphere: Given that you left so much room open for organic growth to the songs, when you were finally hearing them complete for the first time, what were some of your Ah-ha moments, where you looked at each other and just thought ‘Fuck yeah, we’re in an awesome band’?
Josh: [Laughs] It’s hard to agree with that and not sound really arrogant but there are definitely times where I sit back and feel very comfortable and very excited to be in the band I’m in. Having said that, there’s always moments when you’re writing an album. When I start off writing, I don’t know where it’s going to go, what the cover is going to look like, I just start writing songs and parts and things and ideas. I start deleting and I start adding.

Then theres those moments, as you put it the Ah-ha moments where you go ‘OH, this is going to look like this.’ There is that moment when suddenly you realise what you’ve been building. Album names start coming to you, album covers or song names – The puzzle pieces start falling together and I think if you’re being organic with it, and not forcing anything it kind of creates itself, you’re just along for the ride.
The Neversphere: You’ll be back in town this July. From your last tour hear, word has spread far and wide of your show, being a hybrid between a messy, sweaty punk show and a freeform jazz performance. How does that even work?
Josh: [Laughs] Well first of all, that’s a nice compliment of our sound. I enjoy that description a lot. It’s almost exactly how you explained. There’s a strong punk element – sometimes it’s fast, aggressive, stressful music. We don’t really write a setlist we have three jams which we can make longer or shorter, we don’t pre-plan much of it. There’s a lot of parts in between the songs that we can flip around.
The Neversphere: So for a more detailed description you just have to head along to a show.
Josh: Yeah, I mean…

I don’t even know what we do…

’68 Australian Tour Dates
Tickets available now.

Thursday, July 20th
Enigma Bar, Adelaide 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, July, 21st
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, July 22nd
The Basement, Canberra 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Sunday, July 23rd
Oxford Art, Sydney 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Monday, July 24th
Small Ballroom, Newcastle 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Wednesday, July 26th
Crowbar, Brisbane 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines