Sunday, 6 April 2014

It's My Kind of Interview - Boy & Bear




Boy & Bear sure have been busy the last couple of years. After walking away as Album of the Year winners at the ARIA Awards with the debut, Moonfire, they got straight to work on 2013's Harlequin Dream. Now after taking their music across the world, the Sydney lads are gearing up for a mammoth regional tour throughout Australia. Lou got to ask Killian Gavin some questions about all things Harlequin Dream, touring and support from triple J. You get to read those answers today. Enjoy! 


BOY & BEAR'S
KILLIAN GAVIN
Interview by Lou Endicott




Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions! 2013 saw some major happenings for Boy & Bear including the release of the much anticipated second album Harlequin Dream (a follow up to 2011's debut and award winning album Moonfire). Harlequin Dream reached the number 1 spot on the ARIA album charts in its first week. Did you have expectation that this album would be so well received? What was your reaction to seeing the album at the number one spot?


Killian: To avoid any kind of sophomore curse is usually a win for musicians. Needless to say I had no expectations at all, just a slight amount of nervousness around its release. To have it chart at the number one spot is something you don't get very often in a lifetime, so it was phenomenal.


There has been a lot of talk recently about Triple J being the radio station that can make or break a band. You have had a lot of support from the radio station over the last few years. Has this contributed to your profile and your success? What do you think it truly takes to be successful as Australian artists?


Killian: Triple J is a large station and we have been fortunate enough to have their support since the beginning. They played our music when no one else would. They have shaped our career and most definitely we contribute a lot of our success in Australia to them. However  the only thing it really comes down to when trying to be successful is songs. People respond to good music, no matter what genre it is in. I guess we have been fortunate to have found an audience that understands and appreciates what we do.


Harlequin Dream has such a beautiful intimacy to it with its lyrics and yet a big open air sound with the melodies and the beautifully crafted choral harmonies. Can you share a little about the process of recording Harlequin Dream? Was it a quick turn over in the studio or a more lengthy process?


Killian: This record was lengthy. We spread it out over 8 months, rather than one block like the first record. We wanted to spend more time and allow for more flexibility with the recording process than on our previous record, being able to revisit anything at any time was a must this time around. In terms of crafting the album, it's a fairly straight forward process. We would write and arrange the songs, then hit the studio and record a live performance of each track. Perhaps it would take 10 or 15 takes till we felt like we have the right take. The time consuming part was probably discovering the right overdubs and counter melodies for each song as that comes down to a lot of experimentation.


The first single from the album was 'Southern Sun'. The song has haunting lyrics that suggest an experience that perhaps was a challenging one – but one to be learned from. It also features an almost retro sound with its Beatles-ish intro and the switch into a more driving power. How do you go about finding ideas for each song? How did this song come about? Did you start with lyrics or a melody?



Killian: 'Southern Sun' was a song that came about very quickly which is unusual for us. We were backstage at a festival, about an hour out from performing, and Dave was singing the basic melody line, without lyrics. Everyone joined in, and Tim and Dave fleshed out a few lyrical ideas together and the song was kinda formed then and there on the spot.




The film clip for for 'Southern Sun' features some absolutely stunning scenery. I’m assuming the clip was filmed in New Zealand? Can you tell us a bit about capturing the amazing shots and being on location?


Killian: It was shot just outside of Queenstown and was a fantastic experience. We were flown up on top of the mountains in a couple of helicopters, which also hoisted all of our gear up. Being in a chopper flying over those mountains was stunning and mind blowing. Really great few days. It was also incredibly cold, and in between takes we had to throw on so many layers and gloves to warm up.


2013 saw Boy & Bear taking to the road and touring the east coast of Australia. The tour was so popular that more shows needed to be added due to selling out. For those who missed out, can you tell us a little about what audiences experience at a Boy & Bear live show?



Killian: Hopefully they get something different every show. We don't play the same set every night and our banter can be ridiculously bad or funny depending on the night. Just to keep everyone on their toes I guess. It's more rock and more energetic than our recordings possibly. I think you never really know what a band is truly about until you see them live.


Boy & Bear are soon (at the time of writing) to be heading off on a new tour to the UK, Europe, Canada and the US before coming back to Australia and doing a regional tour. How has the international audience responded to your sound? Is there a city or country you are particularly excited about visiting and playing in?


Killian: I'm at the tail end of this tour while writing this so looking back I would say both Amsterdam and New York have been some of the top shows so far. Everything has been going fantastic over here so far, can't ask for much more.


Some quickies:

Last Aussie album you listened to?
Killian: Jezabels - The Brink
Best time of day to song write?
Killian: Morning.

An instrument you would love to feature in a Boy & Bear song?
Killian: Kettle drum.

Essential travel item for being on the road?
Killian: Book.
An artist you would love to tour with?
Killian: Neil Young.


Thank you so much for your time! Good luck with the rest of the overseas tour and we look forward to having you back in Australia! 




Boy & Bear will be back in Australia this month to kick off their massive regional tour. You can get your tickets from www.boyandbear.com!



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