Saturday, 25 August 2012

It's My Kind of Interview - Benjamin Dougherty (Texas Tea)



Benjamin and Kate - Texas Tea!


They're currently sitting pretty at #1 on our weekly Top 20 chart with 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)' and now Texas Tea's Benjamin Dougherty has been kind enough to answer some of our questions about touring, Brisbane's music scene, favourite vocalists and more. Let's get to it!


BENJAMIN DOUGHERTY
Texas Tea's leading man...




Q. For those unfamiliar with you, would you be so kind as to explain who Texas Tea is and how they came to be?


Benjamin: A country duo. Kate asked me to join her band. I said yes. Found out I was the only other member. We persisted and discovered a good song-writing partnership and mutual interest in odd things. That was 2005 or something I think. Most of our shows over the last 7 years have been just the two of us, me on guitar, kick drum and occasional vocal, Kate on hi-hat tambourine, guitar and vocals. The latest record has double bass and drums (Glen Russell and Myka Wallace) on it so we're adjusting to a new setup. We're finally in a band.


Q. Releasing your new track 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)' on 100 cassingles (and as a digital download) was pretty nifty. How did that come about?


Benjamin: It’s a publicity stunt but it actually sounds great on tape. I’m not just saying that. Tapes bring back a lot of memories for me. My parents never really listened to music much so all I had was a tape player that I got when I was twelve or something. So it's from a time when I would just listen to tapes in my room for hours. Some have still survived - damaged from being played too much or warped from the sun after being left in a car somewhere. It's a more nostalgic medium for me than records even. But yeah I think I want to release more stuff on tape now.


Q. You've supported some insanely talented acts like Cold War Kids, Iron and Wine and The Gin Club. Who have been your favourite artists to tour with and if you could pick anyone in music today to support Texas Tea on a tour, who would it be and why?


Benjamin: It's best to tour with your friends. We've had some great times overseas with Orville Brody (France) and Pete Ross (Italy). Here at home we have done a couple of tours with The Gin Club. They have pretty good Tarago games and they're such a big band that you kind of join their gang for a few days.


Q. Texas Tea's third album "Sad Summer Hits" is set for an October release. Have you got some big tour plans for at home and abroad?


Benjamin: At this stage in October and November we’ll be visiting Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast as well as doing the launch in Brisbane at the Zoo on the 26th of October. Then next year we’ll be going to the Tamworth Country Music Festival and mostly likely back to Europe for a bit, probably France and the UK, maybe Netherlands, Germany and Norway too, not sure yet.


Q. You both have distinct voices that sound unique amongst many of the singers we hear every day. Who are your favourite vocalists, why do you love them and have they influenced your own voices?




Benjamin: Probably vocalists that taught me that you don’t actually need to be able to sing properly in a technical sense to be able to particpate in music – people like Jeffrey Lee Pierce or Johnny Rotten. Closer to the Texas tea genre I like people that do the talk/sing thing (what do you call that?) like Leonard Cohen, Don Walker, and Lightnin Hopkins come to mind. I don't really consider myself a singer, I just try and deliver the lines. I try and make sure you can understand the words so that's where the talking singers are probably an influence because a lot of the music we make is quite minimal.


Q. Where is your favourite venue to perform at and why?


Benjamin: The Troubadour / now Black Bear Lodge kind of feels like a bit of a home for this band. It's where we gained an audience really. The Troubadour was such a big supporter of local music, but particularly of odd folk and country stuff.


Q. What do you think is more important; incredible lyrics or a memorable tune?


Benjamin: Neither is more important than the other. Whatever works for the song. A song can still be awesome even if the lyrics don’t make sense or are total garbage. Likewise a song can be great if it has a good narrative, or ideas, even if not so much is going on musically - see 'Harry Was A Bad Bugger' by Don Walker for the latter.


Q. There's a lot of great music that's being released from Brisbane-based acts at the moment. What do you think about Brisbane's music scene and who are some other singers or bands that you're enjoying from Queensland's capital?


Benjamin: Brisbane has an excellent music scene in so many different genres. I’d take Brisbane over anywhere else in the world – it’s the perfect place for outsider / underdog whatever, y'know - insert genre here kind of thing. My favourite band in Brisbane is The Keep On Dancin’s. There are honestly too many others to name past and present that are great. We don't have to look far to find great music. 

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A huge thank you to Benjamin for joining us for the evening. Find out more about Texas Tea at their website, get some sweet music from their Bandcamp page and get ready for new album, Sad Summer Hits!  

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