Music / Features
Track by Track:
Skydeck - Coupon
Words by James Lynch
Tuesday 7th September, 2021
Off the back of the release of Coupon last month, the second album from local duo Skydeck, we got in touch with Dom and Mitch from the band to get the stories behind each moment of warped post-punk that makes up the record.
Following on from their 2019 debut Eureka Moment, which earned the pair a tonne of praise from around the country and a nomination for the Australian Music Prize, Coupon finds Skydeck once again crafting a collection of idiosyncratic pop that feels impossible to place. Simultaneously grimy and otherworldly, these nine tracks come loaded with clever hooks and incisive twists, sounding equally as indebted to lo-fi punk as they do to surrealist electronics.

Written and recorded at the same time from different sides of the globe, Dom Kearton and Mitch Clemens essentially go one for one right across Coupon, swapping vocals back and forth before finally joining forces on the album’s stirring final moment. Opening track ‘Dogshot’ is an instant highlight, built around a forward-moving chord progression that expands open with glistening synths and Dom Kearton’s acerbic wordplay, before ‘No Change’ places Mitch Clemen’s ragged vocals upfront over a careening instrumental, its tense beat allowing the track the sprawl thrillingly without losing its stark focus.

This first match-up seems to reveal what makes the duo behind Skydeck such a compelling pairing - for every poignant moment there’s a scathing one, and if a track seems to be drifting into a too atmospheric or ethereal space, there’s always an equally haphazard section coming up right behind it to pull it back into line. As the rest of the album unravels onwards, we’re kept on our toes by Skydeck’s willingness to constantly throw listeners off the pulse; whether that’s on the restless ‘Guilty Of’ with its evocative, anxiety-inducing repetitions, the disorientating chaos that breaks up the murky ‘Original Sin’, or the blown-out waves of noise that eventually overwhelm penultimate track ‘Plastic’. However, thanks to the duo’s irreverent performances crossed with their undeniable pop-sensibilities, these purposeful hiccups keep us strangely captivated, while leaving us feeling as paranoid as the album sounds.

To help us dig into Coupon a little deeper, Dom and Mitch kindly walked us through the album track by track.

These days you have to make a pretty concerted effort to avoid relying on the gig economy. It’s a pretty uncomfortable feeling knowing you are helping companies make loads of money by exploiting their workers, commoditising their spare time and offering no form of security or protection back. But then it rains so you get an Uber. When you make music on a computer sometimes it feels stiff. I still have no idea what time signature this song is in but I’m fairly sure it’s not 4/4. Whatever it is I feel like it helps an otherwise real simple song get some movement.

No Change

I wrote this song after Dom kept talking about entropy and I didn’t really know what it meant. The song is pretty much about the “can’t win, don’t try” mindset, frustration at the idea that nothing you do will change anything, so there’s no point in doing anything. I only really read fiction, so I’d never heard of Mark Fisher, but then my friend Raudie told me he would call it reflexive impotence. For a while I’d had kind of a vague idea for the melody that ended up being the bassline, and at the end of the song there’s the phone recording I sent to Dom of me trying to flesh it out in Guadalajara with Pablo playing drums.

Guilty Of

It’s easy to forget how restricting the environment you record music in is. I never would have been able to record this song in a share house. Luckily I was house sitting on Phillip Island, so I could really lean in on the vocal takes. Treating a synth part as percussion is a move I pulled a few times on this album. Again it’s an attempt to create movement in an otherwise rigid song.

Lyrics for this one are about the different types of phony you are at different stages of your life. When I was younger I did a lot of weird and unnatural shit trying to convince other people I was cool. These days the only person I lie to about myself, is myself.


This song is about my friend Zac, who I used to play in a band called Ciggie Witch with. I probably wouldn’t play in bands if I hadn’t met Zac. It’s about dealing with the emotions of having to do it without him, and about wishing I would’ve expressed how much I loved him more when I had the chance. Snowy saw us play this song live before we mixed the album, and he thought that the noisy synth bit that ends the chorus was a mistake we’d accidentally included in the backing track. When I told him it wasn’t he made it even louder, which at the time I thought was because he liked it, but now I’m thinking he might have been trying to make it unlistenable because he knew we were both releasing albums on the same day.

Gut Guilt

Two different songs of mine got glued together for this one. I think that’s fitting as the song addresses two different patterns of thought. The first one is the anger felt from absolutely terrible takes from people on issues they have literally nothing to do with. It’s so embarrassing it makes me never want to vocalise opinions on anything. The second one is the guilt associated with silence. For me guilt kind of feels like when you have too much coffee and maybe just a banana for food and your stomach churns around like a washing machine and your brain kinda does the same. 

Original Sin

This song is about destructive tourism, which is one of those things that I know I shouldn’t be doing but kinda take part in anyway, like eating most commercially available salmon. I recorded the synth melody on a free synth app I downloaded on my phone, a Nokia 5.1 Plus, using a Telcel Amigo prepaid account. We tried to re-record it with expensive synths but it lost a bit of its charm so we stuck with the phone version. Eva Lazzaro provided one of the highlights of our last album and she really hit this one out of the park too. Big thanks to a few other friends for practicing their Duolingo in what I guess would be called the bridge.


This one is a love song for my current, but at the time of writing, new, girlfriend. I acted like a real freak when we met, I’m very happy she stuck with me cos she’s great. 

I’ll often discard parts of songs that I rkn are too cheesy, even when I really like them, which I’m gonna try and do less. My good friend Snowy introduced me to saturation when we were mixing the album, which I think took what would otherwise be a super cheesy guitar line and made it wonky and distorted enough for it to work.


It’s about getting stuck in routine, trying to take care of yourself but not being sure of whether you’re doing the right thing. I was visiting churches a bit when I was writing this song, so I think that’s why there’s so many bells. When I got back home to Melbourne, my friend Lauren had moved out of town, and I missed her and had enjoyed playing music with her in Ciggie Witch and Le Dinh An, so I asked her to help with the vocals at the end of the song.


Anthony is a real good friend of both of ours. Sometimes when you live with someone for a long time your communication lapses. You’ve still got the same amount of love for them, it just feels a bit harder to express it. I wrote the chorus for this one while I was pruning grape vines, just thinking about my guy. Love songs for friends are great, this one was heavily inspired by Snowy Band - 'Love You To Death' which absolutely killed me when I first heard it.
Coupon is out now via Dinosaur City Records - head to to grab the album on limited vinyl.
Photo by Eva Lazzaro