Tag: Interviews

Interview: Adam Brand reaches a Milestone

244056-L-LOEarlier this year Australian country music star Adam Brand marked his 20 years in the music industry with the album Milestones20 Years, a collection of hits and fan favourites from those two decades, as well as two new songs. Adam has taken those milestones on the road, and is currently touring the country. I spoke to him in between shows.

Your tour’s only just started.

Well, it’s kind of started. The album just came out but I actually started doing these Milestones shows back in May because I figured it’s not just about the album this year, it’s about the year, the whole year of just the anniversary year, so I started earlier.

Speaking of your anniversary, now 20 years as a performer, I am wondering how that’s possible when you still look 25.

You’re too kind. It might be called Photoshop, it might be called bad eyesight on your part, it might be called, I don’t know [laughs].

But it really seems not possible because obviously you’ve had a long career but 20 years sounds like a very long time when you still are a young man actually.

Sometimes I sort of think about it myself and I go, Wow, where did that go? or Can that really be true? Can it be that long? It’s been an amazing ride and not only that, I started late, I was a late starter.

I don’t believe that.

My first album didn’t come out until I was 28 – [for] a lot of people [it’s] in the early 20s or even teens.

Do you think that was an advantage starting later, because you knew you really wanted it by that age, it wasn’t just a laugh or anything like that?

Yeah, I’d already done an apprenticeship. We had a couple of little business things and worked with different people and travelled a bit, so when I made that decision and thought, Now I want to try this, I went into it without just stars in my eyes, I went into there thinking, Okay, I’m going to have a go at this, I’m going to really, really put everything I’ve got into it, rather than just spinning the lottery wheel.

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Interview: The McClymonts on tour, with plus ones

268x0wThis post begins with my usual disclaimer: I am heavily pro-McClymonts. The trio of sisters originally from Grafton in New South Wales have been lighting up country music for the past twelve years, and I have been a fan for every one of those years. So, with that out of the way, let’s move on to my recent interview with lead singer and guitarist Brooke McClymont. After touring recently with her husband, Adam Eckersley, for the release of their joint album, Brooke is now on the road with sisters Sam and Mollie – and some plus ones in the form of their babies. While touring needs different logistics now than it did 12 years ago, it’s clear that Brooke is just as excited about it as ever. We spoke while the band was waiting to appear on a morning TV show.

 

It’s wonderful to see you all out on tour again but of course touring.

We’re so excited.

 

Touring now requires more logistical planning than it used to because you all have children. How long did it take to plan?

Oh, a good eight months. We like to be organised, because with the kids and we’ve only got one mum that we’ve got to share between us. And our partners all work. So it’s just being organised but it’s something that we love doing and we’re pretty good at it, so we’ve gotten used to it now anyway. We’re just really pumped to get back out on the road.

 

I saw that you and [husband] Adam [Eckersley] took Tiggy on tour with you, so she’s obviously used to the touring lifestyle.

Oh, she’s amazing. We thought, you know, pulling her out of school, we’re going to be those parents … but the teacher said, ‘We encourage you, it’s so good for the kids to get out there and learn on the road’, and she really did, she had such a great time and she got to see what we do for a living. Which is really good.

 

 

Looking at your schedule for your McClymonts tour, you’re obviously going to quite a few places, but are there any places you’re playing that you haven’t been to for a while, so you’re returning to them after absence?

We are doing 22 shows on this one, and there are quite a few that we haven’t done for a while. The Melbourne Palms Crown Casino, which is amazing, that’s such a massive room, the girls and I haven’t done that for a couple of years. We’ve never done Aussie World, which is on the Sunshine Coast. We haven’t done Mackay for a while, and it will be good to get back. And we’re also going to Lightning Ridge, never played at Lightning Ridge ever. We said, you know what, [there are] a lot of places we really haven’t been, and especially being on the road with my hubby and we thought, wow, out west a lot of people can’t get away, and it’s a long way from everywhere. and we thought, Let’s go to them. So we’re really, really looking forward to getting into all these new places that we haven’t been before.

 

The three of you started playing together as children, and on the song ‘Blood is Thicker than Water’ there’s reference made to you all playing guitars. But, of course, only you play guitar in the band now, so who decided who got what instrument?

Well, actually, me, I told everyone because I was the boss back when we were little, so I told Sam and Mollie, I said ‘Sam, you need to play bass, and Mollie, you’re playing mandolin.’ I was a bit of a dictator back then. But they kind of thanked me for it as they got older, because look, they play those instruments now in our band, so it’s paid off. [But] I’m not the dictator anymore. None of us are. We know what needs get done, so it’s a really good balance and I think the older we get – we’ve been touring for 12 years now – we feel like we’re such old veterans, even though that’s not a long time, but, you know, we’ve worked with each other all our life, especially being sisters and working together, we’ve definitely found a work–life balance with each other.

 

I can proudly say that I went to your very first band show at Blazes in Tamworth.

Oh really?

 

Yes. I was at the festival and you’d released your EP and I loved it.

Oh god love you, that’s great.

 

I remember saying to everyone, ‘I’m so excited I’m going to The McClymonts.’

That’s so good. You know what, that EP did really well for us and it kind of set us up in the Australian country music industry, and everyone just seemed to have loved it. We’ve been so lucky and grateful that we’ve been able to continue to do what we’re doing. When we had kids we continued to keep going and make records, and we do pinch ourselves and go, jeez, we’ve got a good job, got a good life.

 

And you’ve created it, I think. It’s consistency and hard work.

I hate saying it’s luck because it’s not. You create your own luck. But it’s definitely been something that the three of us have really worked out, we’ve always been focused on it, we’ve taken pride and cared for our career, and we still are like that today.

 

I concur, as someone who observes your career. Do you need much rehearsal time these days?

Yes. We like to give ourselves a few days, two full days, and usually by the end of it our heads are really sore. But that’s how we like to operate – we like to know that we’re going out putting on a good show for the fans, and I think that’s why people keep coming back because we do take care in the show, especially our songs and making sure that everything’s right because we are bit of perfectionists, the three of us. I think I love about us as well. So yes, definitely every tour we also rehearse with the band. It’s full-on, intense but it’s still fun and that’s the main thing.

 

And for me as a fan a crucial question is always what’s in the set list. Now I know ‘Shotgun’ I think has fairly permanent place on it.

No it hasn’t, we’re not doing it this one either.

 

Oh no!

I know, isn’t that crazy. That’s not making a comeback at all because we feel like we’re going to put ‘Endless’ [there] because of the new album – we kind of replaced ‘Shotgun’ with ‘Endless’. The set for this tour is a pretty up, rocking style, so I’ve got to get fit again because I’ve literally thought, How the hell am I going to last nearly two hours on stage doing what we’re doing? Literally I’m going to have to be like an athlete.

 

And also you all tend to play in heels.

See, that’s another thing that I’m really not good at anymore. I’m getting old now, I hear my knees cracking, but, you know, what I’ll do what I have to do.

 

I don’t think anyone would mind if you wore flats.

Oh good, I pretty much do comfort now, I’m more sensible as I’m getting older.

 

Highly reasonable. Now, are your parents proud of you all or do they take it for granted that they have such accomplished children?

I have no idea. I’m pretty sure they’re proud, but – and you know these days, they want to see the grandkids more than anything and I don’t think they ever talk about us any more, they’re just so excited because they’ve got really young little babies in the family, like Mollie had Elky and Sam’s little man, Wilder, he’s only one, and my daughter’s five, so we’re at that age, at that time in our lives the kids are so awesome to be around. There’s a lot of young kids and it’s just really cool.

 

And, as mentioned, Tiggy’s been on the road with you, but do you think there’s any chance of a McClymonts children opening act? Band?

I have no doubt that there will be, probably at some stage. When you have kids and they turn five it’s amazing. They can do things for you. And my daughter’s such a goody two-shoes too, which is fantastic. I don’t know where she gets that from, Adam or me, but she’s amazing and she’s such a joy to be around and I love it. So I’m sure there will be plenty more times when they’ll be hitting the road with us, for sure.

 

Every time I go to a McClymonts show I see a lot of big smiles around the room, so I tend to think of your job as giving joy to people, but I’m wondering what you think your job is?

It is [that]. I really feel that. I really think that’s such a great way of seeing what we do. You know, whatever people are going through, the fact that they want to come and spend their couple of hours, three hours with us, on the weekend after they’ve had a whatever kind of week they’ve had, either at work or home life, they can escape for three hours and we give joy. Our job is, hopefully, to give people a really fun night out. And that’s the great thing. That’s what I love about it. It’s nice to know that people take the time out to come and see you and give their time. It’s amazing.

 

I think you honour the audience. Every time I’ve seen you play there is a lot of joy in the room and I’ve taken people who don’t actually know your music and they all walk out saying it was fantastic.

Oh good. See, in life that’s all you have to do. If only one person walks away feeling that, you’ve done your job. I mean, actually, if only one person walks away you’ didn’t really do your job, did you? You’ve just played on a whole room! But you know what I mean.

 

I do.

But that’s the aim. We’ve never taken it for granted.

 

I’ll ask you one more question so you can go on TV in good time. Are you working on new material?

Not at this stage. The album came out at the beginning of last year but it’s kind of new for us girls, because the girls all went and had babies. We have to pencil in it in when we need to write together, which won’t be too far off but there will definitely be new music in the works sometime soon. But right now Sam and Mollie have to be mamas and we’re just giving them time to enjoy their babies because they’re not babies for long. And we’re going to be around forever, so we’re making sure we get our priorities right, especially now that the kids are here.

www.themcclymonts.net.au

Tour dates:

SAT 11 AUG        MT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO   MT ISA, QLD

FRI 24 AUG         GATEWAY HOTEL. GEELONG, VIC

SAT 25 AUG        THE PALMS AT CROWN, MELBOURNE, VIC

FRI 31 AUG         INVERELL RSM, INVERELL, NSW

SAT 1 SEP             CASINO RSM, CASINO, NSW

FRI 7 SEP              CANBERRA SOUTHERN CROSS CLUB, CANBERRA, ACT

SAT 8 SEP             FORBES SERVICES MEMORIAL CLUB, FORBES, NSW

FRI 21 SEP           WESTS NEW LAMBTON NEW LAMBTON, NSW

SAT 22 SEP          EVAN THEATRE – PANTHERS, PENRITH, NSW

FRI 5 OCT             CLUB OLD BAR, OLD BAR, NSW

SAT 6 OCT            THE CUBE, CAMPBELLTOWN, NSW

FRI 19 OCT          NORTHS LEAGUES CLUB KALLANGUR, QLD

SAT 20 OCT         MACKAY ENTERTAINMENT & CONVENTION CENTRE, MACKAY, QLD

FRI 2 NOV            ALEXANDRA HILLS HOTEL, ALEXANDRA HILLS, QLD

SAT 3 NOV          AUSSIE WORLD – THE SHED, SUNSHINE COAST, QLD

FRI 9 NOV            OLD MILL HOTEL, HAHNDORF, SA

FRI 23 NOV         WEE WAA BOWLING CLUB, WEE WAA, NSW

SAT 24 NOV        LIGHTNING RIDGE BOWLING CLUB, LIGHTNING RIDGE, NSW

FRI 7 DEC             YORK ON LILYDALE, MT EVELYN, VIC

SAT 8 DEC            WEST GIPPSLAND ARTS CENTRE WARRAGUL, VIC

Interview: Sara Storer on Cruisin’ Country

StorerCruisin’ Country 8 is taking place in October this year, and features a cavalcade of Australian country music stars. I was fortunate to be able to interview a few of them, including the always delightful Sara Storer. A favourite with fans as well as other artists, she will no doubt be a popular act on the cruise. We spoke towards the end of June, while she was still on the road with The Sunny Cowgirls.

I’ve noticed, looking on your website, you’re doing quite a bit of touring with The Sunny Cowgirls at the moment. And have you toured with them before?

No touring as such. We have done a show together in Tamworth one year. We combined, and it was great fun then. And I’ve always got along with the Sunnies. We’ve done a duet – I don’t know what you call it – a tri-et – a collaboration, I should say, with the Sunnies. So we just thought it was about time. We both sing about similar things, the love of the land, and just thought it was about time we got together and did some shows together. And it’s been a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, but for me it’s just been wonderful to really sit down and listen to their songs, rather than just rushing through albums. When you hear a song over and over, you realise how some people’s writing – it’s just very, very clever. And that’s what I think I’ve got most out of touring with the Sunnies, so it’s been great.

I think that’s also part of the secret of performing a song over and over again. I know for people who aren’t performers, the idea of performing the same song night after night, year after year – you think, well, how do you do it? But I think it is what you say: when the songwriting is a certain way, there’s a lot to discover in that song any different way you hear it.

Absolutely. And some of their lines, you just go, wow, it’s just so clever. They’re very clever with their writing. And they’re the artists that I sit back and probably go, you know, I couldn’t have done that how they did it. To have written it like that. And it’s good, they’re inspiring. So I come away always inspired from the girls thinking – they write a lot of light-hearted, fun, pub songs, and I think sometimes that’s where I lack. And I try to find that bit of inner youth pub fun time inside me, and it never comes out, I don’t know why.

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Interview: The Glorious North

TGN_TheWidow_cdsize_hi.jpgMelbourne band The Glorious North recently released their debut album, Welcome To The Glorious North, and have a new single out: ‘The Widow’, which is a twist on a murder ballad.

The band play regularly in Melbourne and have performed at festivals including Beer InCider Experience in Brisbane, Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Fat Yak BBQ Festival in Melbourne. Recently I spoke to singer/guitarist PJ.

 

Do you all have stage names?

No, we don’t. I mean my schoolyard nickname was PJ because I am Patrick James. So I use it as a slight degree of separation from my real life and The Glorious North life. Our guitarist you know as Tele Dee but that is not his real name. He has the real full onstage name.

 

I also like the fact you have made a distinction between real life and musical life. Your music isn’t integrated into your real life?

Well, it is to a very large degree but it does help with dislocating the responsibility of day jobs and fatherhood from drinking a lot of beer and carrying on onstage.

 

I like to do research before I do interviews but there is actually not a huge amount about your band that I could find – which is good, because it means I get to ask you questions like how did the band form? How do you all know each other and how long ago did you get together?

The nucleus of the band is myself and Tele, our guitarist, and we have been playing together for 20 years in and out of different outfits. We are kind of refugees from indie guitar rock, if you like. And then, as we have got a little bit older and wiser, we have moved increasingly towards more balanced-style songwriting and storytelling, which ended up where I began, really. I began as a little, little boy listening to country music. So we started playing as a duo and we were pouring out all these country songs and we, over a beer one day, said, ‘Let’s find another couple of people to play in a band.’

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Interview: Brendon Chase on Elvis and Cruise N Groove

ElvisIt’s good to mix things up on a country music website – although, as Elvis Presley was a bluegrass performer at least some of the time, interviewing an Elvis performer is not mixing things too far.

After over 20 years of performing Elvis tunes, New Zealander Brendon Chase earned himself the title of ‘Australasia’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Act’ in 2017. He is one of the world’s premier Elvis performers – not to mention the busiest in New Zealand, by the sound of it – and he is appearing on Cruise N Groove, with the theme Elvis Meets the Legends. The 2018 Cruise N Groove music festival at sea departs from Sydney on 6 November and runs till the 13th. I spoke to Brendon recently.

 

How old you were when you discovered Elvis?
I would have been seven years old, I guess.

And was that because your parents were playing Elvis music?
No, it was the Elvis Aloha concert beamed around the world and I watched that in 1973.

Is that a distinct memory, seeing him for the first time?
Yes – it blew me away that he was such a cool dude and I thought I want to be cool like that one day.

So, given that you were so young and you get exposed to a lot of music over a lifetime was Elvis like your favourite artist as a child and a teenager?
Yeah, for sure. And probably Motown was my next, but Elvis is up there with the best of them.

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Interview: Gina Jeffreys on Cruisin’ Country

2014background.jpgThe line-up of this year’s Cruisin’ Country 8 could hardly be more illustrious, bringing together brings together over 40 artists, including John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell and Amber Lawrence. Joining them will be Gina Jeffreys, who is, without a doubt, one of Australia’s favourite country music artists. She’s also a delightful person to talk to, as I found out recently.

How many Cruisin’ Countries have you done?

This will be my third. We haven’t been in a couple of years. I did one on my own and I did one with the Songbirds [a trio consisting of Gina, Beccy Cole and Sara Storer]. But this is my third. Lots of the artists go nearly every year. It’s kind of a family holiday for them. I’m super excited to be heading back. It’s the funnest thing ever. It really is a blast. Awesome food, drinks, go to a show every night, lie by the pool. It’s just a dream come true.

Part of me wonders whether it’s a bit like the Tamworth Country Music Festival on the water?

That is exactly what it’s like. That’s the best way to explain it. For the people that come that love country music, everything is paid for. When you go to a different vessel you’re paying all the time for different shows, whereas this is a floating country music festival. There’s no doubt about it. But you get to really mingle more, I think, with the artists. We see all the fans at breakfast and lunch and dinner, and you’re having a holiday with country music lovers. It’s really unique. And it’s really fun actually. I really enjoy it.

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Interview: Tori Forsyth

image003Singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth has just released her debut album, Dawn of the Dark, but she was already a force in Australian country music, playing shows with other artists and clearly impressing established hands. The reasons for her rise are clear on the album, which is a rich work from an artist who is at the start of her career yet already accomplished. I interviewed Tori before the album’s release and she is now on tour.

I love the album. I have been listening to it a lot and it is one of those albums that you can’t put it on in the background which is great because it really demands attention but so it means I have a very good, deep listen to it and it is a really fantastic piece of work so congratulations.

Thank you so much.

I would like to start by asking about your musical education – what you grew up listening to.

I grew up listening to a lot of different music. My parents didn’t really have any specific type of music style that they only listened to. So I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks’s solo work was a pretty big part of growing up. A lot of Melanie Safka, a bit of Jimmy Barnes. It was pretty eclectic.

Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks is fantastic pop music in terms of the song structures and the melodies. Are you interested in how pop works as much as any other genre?

Definitely. I think more so back then, kind of, pop music styles and sounds, more than what is considered pop at the moment – but, yes. I love how pop is structured, I love the catchy choruses and tag lines and all that sort of thing. So I definitely do have a place for pop in my playlist.

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