Sunday, August 27, 2017

Single release: 'Keep Me Coming Back' by Casey Barnes

Not that long ago I was not that wild about country rock - but that was before I realised that Australian country rock was doing a nice line in melodies and production that didn't make everything sound like it was from the same cookie cutter. If, like me, you appreciate a good rock song, the melding of country music sounds and sensibilities with rock can be very satisfying. And so it is with the music of Casey Barnes, who has a new single, 'Keep Me Coming Back', and a video to go with it (see below). The song debuted at number 4 on the iTunes country chart. Previous single ‘The Way We Ride’ reached #1 on various Australian country charts, including four weeks at #1 on the All Australian Top 40 Charts.

Barnes's current album is Live As One.
or Google Play.

Single release: 'Lonely Night' by Karin Page

Karin Page has some great industry credentials: she won Female Artist Of The Year and Songwriter Of The Year at the 2017 WA Music Awards, was nominated for a WAM Song Of The Year Award (for the "Lonely Night" demo) in the Blues And Roots, nominated for New Artist Of The Year at the 2017 CMC Awards. She was also the 2016 Toyota Star Maker. I've included that information for those who like to know about awards, but what's far more important, actually, is what got her those accolades: her music.

Page has released a new single, 'Lonely Night', which was written while she was travelling around Australia by caravan. It wasn't the isolation of the round, though, that prompted the heartfelt lyrics - rather, it was the isolation of modern life: we're surrounded by evidence of other people's lives, especially on social media, yet that doesn't necessarily make us feel more connected.

Page's beautiful voice is the key to why this song works so well - she could sing a shopping list and it would be interesting - but the message behind the song is given more power through the emotion in her voice and her ability to deliver the song cleanly and clearly.

Listen to 'Lonely Night' on Soundcloud, get it on or on Google Play.

Karin Page is on tour:
Thursday August 31st       Fox Den Gloucester  NSW
Friday September 1st        Lazybones Lounge  Marrickville NSW
Saturday September 2nd   Antojitos - Newcastle NSW
Sunday September 3rd      Peppertown - Mayfield NSW
Saturday September 16th  Kilcoy Festival - Kilcoy QLD
Sunday September 17th     The Triffid - Brisbane QLD

Album review: A Foreign Country by Jed Rowe

Listening to an album for the first time is akin to starting a novel: there is a process of working out what is going on and also deciding if you want to continue with the story that is unfolding. It is rare for either album or novel to grab hold of you immediately; either you arrive at a point of being swept away or you don’t, and the decision is made accordingly. This is true even if you’re predisposed to like the creator: they have a certain advantage, in that you’ve decided to listen to the album (or, first, their single) or read the book. But they still have to win you over.

When I started listening to Jed Rowe’s new album, A Foreign Country, I was predisposed to like it, having found his previous work to be compelling, fascinating and complex. Still, no free pass here: I have a lot of music to listen to and I still need to reach that point of being grabbed.

That point came in song five, ‘Tailem Bend’, which Rowe has also released as a single. But I need to be clear: songs one through four were very, very good. It’s just that it was ‘Tailem Bend’ that made me think that we were off to the races. If you pressed me as to why, I couldn’t say – music is an art, a science and a mystery, and when all those elements are in harmony it’s impossible to say exactly what captures the attention apart from to say that it’s magic. And on the second playing of the album it was clear that the same magic was present in all ten songs.

A Foreign Country is Rowe’s most Australian album to date, meaning that the lyrical content names Australian places more regularly than his previous works; Port Douglas, Mission Beach, Bondi, the Murray and the Coorong and Narromine all appear. And while Rowe is Australian, the title of the album may be a nod to the fact that Australia is geographically so diverse and vast that even its lifelong residents can find themselves in what seems like a foreign land even if it’s a hundred kilometres down the road.

As with his previous albums, the songs are stories, usually of others – and if they are stories from Rowe’s own life we’ll never know, because he tells each story with the same feeling. Rowe is a deliberate, considered, meticulous lyricist, as well as a poetic one – if you read the lyrics on their own, it is immediately clear that they don’t need music to bring them to life, because Rowe has taken care of each word and line to ensure that they are works of art. That perhaps makes it more difficult for him to turn these into songs, for poems don’t always lend themselves to accompaniment. In Rowe’s case, though, they do. Rowe has always had a wonderful voice, and he’s an accomplished guitarist, using both instruments to bring more life, and nuance, to his lyrics.

The instrumentation on this album is sparse (but not threadbare). It’s true that Rowe doesn’t need much to bring his lyrics to musical life but he’s also wise enough to exercise restraint – not so much a case of ‘less is more’ as ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Rowe has built an impressive catalogue of songs that satisfy on many levels. The lyrics always tell a story that seems complete until you realise that there are layers of story which aren’t in the songs but which have informed Rowe’s choice of words. Musically, Rowe always delivers because he applies the same attention to detail to the music as he does to the words. And then there is the meaning that Rowe brings to the songs and the space he allows for the listener to bring their own. When an artist is aware of his role, as Rowe is – when he’s aware that he is the creator but he is also the messenger and that the message never belongs completely to him – he produces songs like these, which gave the listener room to put themselves inside them. That requires a sublimation of ego to the greater purpose of art while also believing that you’re the right person to bring that message. It’s the same kind of delicately balanced dance that is required to make a great song, and Rowe has it.

A Foreign Country is out now.

or Google Play.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Single release: 'Small Town Woman' by Smith & Jones

Oh, what a lovely song this is, and from the lovely New South Wales duo Smith & Jones. Abby Smith and Sophie Jones spin a story of life as a woman in a small town - what's done and not done.

This is an honest, endearing, unsentimental tale from a very talented duo who deliver it with captivating harmonies. The song is taken from their album Dark Gives Way, available on Bandcamp or

Watch the video for 'Small Town Woman' below.

Interview: Josh Setterfield

Queensland resident Josh Setterfield has recently appeared on the Australian country music scene, with his debut EP Live it Up. He has since released a single, 'Hometown', from an upcoming EP, From Dusk. And while he's new to country, he's certainly not new to music - as I discovered when we spoke recently.

Your new single is called ‘Hometown’ and I’m wondering what is your home town?
My home town is a little place south of Newcastle [New South Wales]. It’s called Wangi Wangi. I grew up there. Moved away when I was 11 or 12 to come up to Queensland.

So now you’re a Queenslander?
No, I’m not! [Laughs] I am. In [State of] Origin I’m not a Queenslander. But I’ve lived here the majority of my life.

Where are you now?
Just north of Brisbane.

I was looking at some of your videos and I counted at least five instruments that you play. I saw a bass, a guitar, a banjo, drums and a piano. What is your musical background? When did you start playing, what was your first instrument and what did you grow up listening to?
When I got into music I was listening to a lot of pop punk. My favourite band was Simple Plan. I actually saw them on MTV back in the day and I thought, I want to be like that. I wanted to be a punk kid. I originally learned guitar and then I learnt drums because a band that I wanted to join didn’t need anything but a drummer, and I really wanted to be in that band [laughs]. So that’s how that came about. Everything else just kind of came. I don’t know when I learnt it. I just kind of pick it up and play it. I can’t actually read music at all. If it sounds right, I play it. But I was in a pop punk band for about seven years. We did some pretty cool things – got to tour with The Offspring, play Vans Warped Tour and tour with Simple Plan, my favourite band. I was so stoked. Last year sometime it came to an end and I was going to do the same thing but I kind of didn’t want to – I wanted to try something new, and I’ve always been a massive fan of country music. So I gave it a go, and here I am.

That is not necessarily a straight line from pop punk to country. You said you were already a massive fan of country music – what was the first country music you remember listening to?

My parents – my whole family, really – listened to it when I was growing up. But I’d have to say my biggest influence – and I know it’s really clichéd, being Australian – but Keith Urban was the dude that got me into it. He’s the biggest inspiration I ever had, being a solo artist, just in general.

You started playing guitar – is that your favourite instrument?
It’s my main instrument. I don’t really have a favourite. I think drums are so much fun just to rock out to. But I guess I play guitar more than anything else, so I’d have to say that’s been my main one and probably my favourite.

Your second EP is From Dusk, and as far as I can it’s not out yet – is that correct?
No, not yet.

When’s that coming out?
I’m not allowed to say yet! But it’s definitely coming and it’s a lot sooner than people think.

So you’re not allowed to say because you’ve got a record company that’s telling you that you can’t say?
No, I wish – I wish that was the news. Just my manager saying we need to keep it downlow so we can focus on the single for now.

Were you happy with how the first EP’s process went? Because you have obviously been involved with music for a while but this was your first EP in a new genre.
Surprisingly it went really well. Obviously having punk fans, they came across to it and had a listen. Some were keen on it, some weren’t too keen on it, but the majority were pretty sold on it. A lot of the people I found through the country scene have been really supportive of it as well, which is awesome. It seems there are a lot of people who are either for the new sound of country or the old sound of country, and luckily, for some reason, they like me, so I’m stoked.

You have a great voice, so that always helps. If someone’s sitting on the fence about a genre, a voice is something that humans respond to instinctually, so if the voice is there, the audience is halfway there. Also, country rock a lot of purists might think is kind of raucous, whereas your sound is melodic rock, which I think Australian country artists do really well. That’s more a statement than a question [laughs].
[Laughs] I can’t really answer that but I agree with what you said.

Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I wrote everything myself on my first EP and the second one. I just feel like I have a lot of control that way. For the next EP that I’m looking at I’m going to try to branch out and do some songwriting with other people.

Since you have done it all yourself, do you want to branch out because you think creatively it might be more interesting or you just feel like you should do it?
I’ve just never really tried it. And there’s a lot of collabs within the country scene, and I just want to really do it properly. I want to experience what these people are experiencing and try all the different things. I know I can write a song myself but I’ve never tried to write a song with another main songwriter, so I’m really interested just to try it.

Have you ever in the past, or would you consider in the future, writing songs just for others?
I’ve considered that a couple of times. There’s a couple of songs I’ve come up with that I really like but I feel like they don’t really suit me. I’ve come up with a couple of punk songs as well, so I’m thinking about giving them to those guys because what am I going to do with them now?

When it came time to select songs for the EPs, did you have a big reservoir of material to draw from or were you writing specifically with the EPs in mind?
There was a couple of songs that didn’t make the cut, but it was only a very few. I had the kind of sound that I wanted to go for when I started, so I just went with it and that’s how it happened. And with this new EP, I wrote it as I was feeling it, and I just tried to piece it all together as the way it was, so I just picked the best songs I had at the time.

Given your musical background before you came to country music, have you found you’ve had to approach songwriting almost from a different angle because it’s a different audience, or do the same rules apply?
I pretty much use the exact same thing. People that I’ve spoken to have said that I’m kind of something different in the country scene. I’m not trying to change the country scene at all – I love it as it is – but I guess I’m just putting my own spin on it and the knowledge that I have so far, I’m bringing it over.

One of the things about punk is that the song construction needs to be really tight, because you have to deliver a short, sharp message, and you might have developed a certain discipline that really helps you, moving into a new genre.
Yes, definitely.

So you love Keith – are there any other Australian artists whose careers you’re hoping to emulate or who you just love as performers?
Massive fan of the Wolfe Brothers at the moment – those guys are just killing it. Troy Kemp also – his music’s awesome. Viper Creek Band, they’re really cool. There’s a lot of bands that I’d heard of – and I’d listened to them – but once you come into the scene you start to find new artists. I’ve played with Rachel Fahim, who was the Star Maker winner, in Tamworth – she’s really cool. I just love meeting all these new artists and finding out their music and their styles. There are a couple of artists in the industry who are a lot closer to what I am than I thought I was going to have coming into country music. I thought it was going to be all John Williamson and Lee Kernaghan – and I love that sort of stuff. But there’s heaps of bands here that I didn’t even really look into until I got I into the scene.

The Wolfe Brothers have really opened up a younger audience for country rock who perhaps wouldn’t have considered country music as something they would like.
Definitely. Everyone I’ve shown their music to so far have said, ‘Oh – is this country now?’

You’re heading for the Deni Ute Muster in September – is this your first time?
Yes, I’ve never been before and I’ve heard so many awesome stories. I cannot wait to have my own.

Will you have your own ute?
I don’t know if I’m taking it down yet, because I’m going to have to drive from Brisbane. I kind of want to do the road trip but I have to bring the band as well, so band and ute and all the gear, I’m struggling to figure out how that’s going to work.

You’ve played the Gympie Muster in the past. What do you like about a big festival audience compared with a smaller crowd?
I find that with the festivals, it seems like more people come together. Being that most country artists will play three hours’ worth of show at pubs and stuff like that you can go to a festival and everyone goes there to hear the original music and a couple of covers, whereas at smaller shows it’s the other way around. And the vibe from everyone there – they just want to go there and have a good time. And that’s all there is to it.

Beyond Deni – are you heading to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2018?
I will definitely be back in Tamworth.

So you played there this year?
Yes, that’s where I played with Rachel. It was before she won [Star Maker] – I teed up some shows and I was playing in her breaks. Then she won it and the crowds just tripled and I was, like, ‘Awesome’. She’s really cool.

Do you have a venue that you’re very keen on playing in?
I really like the Albert [Hotel]. It is an awesome little venue.

They get a lot of loud shows there.
That’s my kind of music [laughs].

And before that there is your EP. EPs have become popular for emerging artists – and in this genre you are emerging. They’re a way for people to get a taste of your music. But are you looking ahead to an album?
I’ve been thinking about it. But I feel with today’s music – just the experience of what fans who follow me are into – I feel like EPs are the way to go at the moment. They’re shorter. People’s attention doesn’t really span across a whole album any more, just from what I’ve seen. There’s still a lot of people out there who listen to albums – I still do – but if it’s a shorter album that’s better, with all the top songs instead of the filler tracks, then it just grabs people’s attention way more.

I guess in the age of streaming it makes sense. For artists these days there’s a lot to think about: social media, for one thing. You have to think about your music going on to streaming and how it’s going to sound. Do you like that side of things or is it easier to concentrate on the creative part of your job?
Honestly, I’m interested in all of it and any way to get it out there.

Do you find that you get responses from people on social media so you feel like you can interact with fans?
Definitely. I feel like it’s one of the main parts of today. You still have to go out and do your own thing in person, but with a musician now, it’s crucial to be on social media. That’s where everyone’s eyes are now – they walk around on their phones all day. Facebook is awesome to get music out there.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Raised by Eagles take flight - on tour

The audience for Melbourne band Raised by Eagles increases all the time - so it makes sense that they are on the road, winning friends and influencing people with their magnificent latest album, I Must Be Somewhere. I spoke to Nick O'Mara, who shares singing and songwriting duties with Luke Sinclair.

Have you been happy with the album’s reception?
Yes, it’s been really good. We’ve all been pleased. People seem to like it and it’s gotten good reviews – four stars in Rolling Stone, which was nice. I felt good about a lot of it and then as a whole I was unsure how it was going to be received. We have that feeling every time we release an album. But we’ve been happy.

After an album comes out, do you listen to it and think, We should have done that differently, and that differently, or do you tend to be philosophical and think, well, that’s a complete body of work now and we step away?
Oh no, definitely – I’ve listened to it a couple of times in the first month, and all I could hear was the conversations about decisions. You can’t hear it at all in that first period but we did an in-store at Basement Discs in the city and they put it on as we were packing up our gear, so I was just listening to it in the background. That was about two or three weeks ago and that felt like the first time I’d properly heard it. I was really pleased with it, which is good. But in that period, you just can’t – you totally cannot see the wood for the trees. You’re overwhelmed by the process you’ve just been through making it, so you have to step away from it.

Do you treat your live shows as an opportunity to go back to some of those conversations you had during recording and tweak things a little, or do you just let the songs take on their own life when they’re live?
All the arrangements are set now. In the studio there were decisions made about arrangements and what goes where, and then once they’re on vinyl then we’ll follow that, we’ll follow those arrangements.

Some of the reviews were comparing you to Americans – especially Ryan Adams, I saw, was quite popular in some of them. But I so often hear Australian summers, in particular, in your songs and perhaps that’s just me and my musical references. But do you think of your music as being American or Australian or just let those influences come out in the wash, so to speak?
There’s no self-conscious decision about that. I hope it’s heard as Australian but you can’t really escape the form that we’re playing in, which I think is changing quite a bit now. Rock music and pop music for the last sixty years has been, in a sense, an interpretation of American forms, really. There’s no conscious decision about that at all, and you kind of are what you eat: we’re influenced by American bands and we’re also influenced by Australian bands. When I hear it, it sounds Australian to me. Some people I’ve talked to are consciously trying to rid themselves of American influences – but that’s not really possible. If you’re strumming a guitar and you’re singing, you know, that’s an American form in a sense. This goes deep – you’d have to talk about the history of popular music, I suppose. But I think certainly [our] lyrics are Australian.

For me, it’s very evocative of a lot of Australianness. But I also get a little annoyed or agitated whenever I see Ryan Adams used in a review reference to anyone who is vaguely country music because I tend to think it’s actually being lazy.
It is.

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I think Ryan Adams is considered the gateway drug to country music for some people but I don’t think many listeners get past that. I actually can’t hear Ryan Adams in your music, and I know his back catalogue really well. There is that Melbourne alt-country and I can hear you in that but I still think you’re doing something completely different.
Thanks. I agree with that too – the Ryan Adams thing is just an easy blanket term. If he’s a guy that plays country music or whatever – country rock – it’s just an easy comparison. I can’t hear his influence at all. If anything we’re just influenced by some of the same people, like Neil Young. I know people who sound very much like him – which is fine, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone. I like Ry-Ry, he’s good, but he’s not someone I’d sit down and try to emulate. I would never do that anyway. These things are not self-conscious. But it is a lazy comparison.

And it’s especially lazy because you and Luke [Sinclair] split the singing and the songwriting, so there’s a Raised by Eagles sound but you have your own ways of writing songs, and of course you also write some together. Is it a comfortable partnership or is it one of those partnerships where you push each other, whether you’re writing separately or not?
[Laughs] We’d have to save this conversation for band therapy, I think. Creating music together, there’s always some jostling with stuff. When I bring my songs in they’re usually arranged and sometimes I demo them and I’ve got a complete idea of what they’re going to be, and then Luke’s a little bit different – he likes to bash them out with the band and kind of arrange them together. It’s hard to describe. The process is really different when you’re in a band – you throw things into this kind of whirlpool of other people’s playing and other people’s ideas, and that can be really fun and really cool and things can come up that perhaps wouldn’t if you’d made the decisions yourself. We write in different ways together. One of the songs, ‘Everyday Everyday’, was a demo that I did at home, and I played all the parts on it – I played lap steel, electric bass, acoustic guitar – and I didn’t put any lyrics on it because I just felt like I’d nailed this demo and it was just this beautiful self-contained thing, and for me it was like this finished project. At some points sometimes you just go, ‘That’s finished’. And I felt like I didn’t want to mess with it by having to tack lyrics on it. So I just sent the demo to Luke and that was really good, because then he wrote the lyrics to that and sings it on the album. So that’s a really cool way to do it, because sometimes you write something in that initial spark and you get it out, and then to finish it – occasionally you’ll hit a block when you think, This is finished. It’s not finished in form but it’s finished in terms of how far I can push it, in terms of what I wanted to create. And then Luke’s got it and said, ‘This thing is kind of finished and I can just be free to play it and listen to it and write lyrics over it.’ So that was really fun.

You creating those demos at home – as you said, you’re creating things that are formed. That suggests that you might like to control things – and I’m not using that pejoratively – but what then interests me is that you are completely prepared to turn over that control to Luke to put lyrics on. If you were legitimately a control freak, that wouldn’t happen. You would have to do everything.
That’s right. You have to sacrifice … if you’ve got that instinct, if you’re playing in a band, it’s a four-part thing that has different moving parts. It’s hopefully more than the sum of its parts, you know. Having said that, when we did go to record every day I was frantic that we were going to fuck it up and it wasn’t going to be like the demos [laughs]. That was a hard day. But thankfully it turned out good – we had a good day, and we did it live for the most part for that song. I don’t listen to it and hear the demo any more. It’s become a new thing and it captured that sound world that I wanted, which is good.

And when you do go to record you have another element in the mix – and a family member: your producer [Shane O’Mara], who might also have his opinions.
Yes, big cousin Shane. He was great. He’s just a really good producer and he just keeps things moving. That was cool. He understands what you’re trying to get. Definitely facilitated the sound that I wanted on a couple of songs that were getting really tricky and he knew exactly how … Sometimes there’s not the language to talk about music but because we all experience it in our own way, having someone there who understood what I was going for without too much talk, it was good.

Now, you’re on a major label – ABC Music, distributed by Universal. How has that been, because it’s a different beast to being independent?
It’s good for us to have people outside the band taking on some of the stuff that needs to be done and going into bat for us. It gives us a sense that we’re moving forward.

You’re playing show and you’re going out on a tour. Did you pull out a map and go ‘eeny-meeny-miney-mo’ or did you have a wish list of places to visit? How were the venues chosen?
You just feel it out in terms of how you think you’ll go there and how many people are going to turn up. It’s not an exact science. We just did a run of shows with Mick Thomas – we went to Sydney and Adelaide – and we feel like we might have made a few converts there. We were doing the support for him. We just try to play places that will have the most amount of people to turn up.

It is always tricky being a support act, because not everyone does turn up for the support – so if you feel you had converts, that’s a good win.
They were there pretty early. Mick Thomas’s fans are pretty ardent supporters. So we did play to them and they dug it. We felt like we had to win them over and I think we did.

You have some special guests on this tour – Charles Jenkins, Neil Murray and Freya Josephine Hollick, and some special guests TBA. How did you come to choose who to play with and where?
We played at a festival with Neil and he just came and said g’day. He’s a cool guy and he said he really liked the band, and asked us to get up and play with him. So we got up and played a song with him. We’re writing a song with him as well. So we made that connection with him and he sent us a demo. We’ve just finished that in the last couple of weeks, pretty much.       So he’s coming along to do the shows, which will be fun. And then Chuck – or Charles – Jenkins, Luke loves Ice Cream Hands. Everyone references Ice Cream Hands but I’ve never really heard them and I love Chuck’s solo stuff. And Freya – I think Luke Richardson suggested Freya. We heard her stuff and thought she sounded cool.

When you go on the road, is it an opportunity to create new work?
[Laughs] No. Not at all. You’re just trying not to poison yourself with beer and meat pies from servos. That takes up all your time. You’re just trying not to be hungover. I can’t imagine writing a song on the road. It would just all be about coming home.

It also suggests that different energy that’s required to do those things. Live performance looks like it’s an hour and a bit on stage, but you have to ramp up and calm down afterwards, and there is a lot involved in performance which is antithetical to the creative process.
All the clichés about it are quite true. We do these little runs – we haven’t done any big major tours yet. We’ve gone to the [United] States and stuff, but we haven’t done months of tours. We’ve got a bunch of stuff in August so that will be a reasonable run for us, but we’ll be coming home in between: three-day, four-day runs. Even when you do that it’s that thing of an entire day is just dedicated to forty minutes or an hour. It’s quite funny. When you get up it’s a joy and everything’s fantastic, and then it is hard to wind down afterwards. That cliché of when you get offstage you can’t sleep. Particularly in Australia just the distances you have to go, it’s not for the faint hearted.

So you’re driving to these places?
Some we’ll be driving, some we’ll be flying. That can be fun too – we have a good time in the band.

You can use it as an opportunity for band therapy.
[Laughs] Band therapy on the Hume ... Half of us would be hitching home.

My last question is about you and Amarillo [Nick’s other band]. Do you have a set rhythm where you go ‘this project/that project’ or do you let it sort itself out?
I let it sort itself out. Jacqui Tonks, my partner, she books gigs around the schedule of Raised by Eagles, pretty much. We’ve got some stuff coming up. We’ve changed things a little bit. We’ve been doing some different stuff where we’ve interpreting some classical music – I play it on a Jazzmaster and Jac sings some stuff. We’ve been doing some Eric Satie and writing stuff more with me playing rhythm guitar. So that’s been fun – and with Amarillo we feel like we can just do whatever we want. And we’ve been playing with Ben Franz on pedal steel, and a little less with the rhythm section and more with me, Jac and Ben, which has been really open. You can follow whatever you want to do with that band, which is nice, whereas Raised by Eagles if more contained and it has a thing, which is good too.

The bigger your Raised by Eagles audience becomes, it could be a bit of a bind in that people are expecting a certain sound and you are therefore locked into that sound.
We never think about it or talk about it in Raised by Eagles. It is contained but that’s kind of an unspoken thing – it’s just what the band is, if you know what I mean. We would never make a decision based on ‘this would be too weird’ – it’s just what the four people in it, their aesthetic is when we’re together. It’s funny – it just becomes what it is and there are boundaries where we would never say XYZ, it just kind of happens.

It sounds like you have a very interesting creative life. You’re open to a whole lot of different things and it can be easier to stick to what you know and if it’s been successful, to repeat it. It’s far more challenging and takes a lot more energy and brain space to go with what’s new – but the rewards are potentially so much bigger.
I think with this Raised by Eagles album, the themes on it are kind of larger and bigger. One of the songs I wrote, ‘Every Night’, it’s a bigger, anthemic sound and the themes are less personal and more archetypal and broad. The title track, ‘I Must Be Somewhere’, is about mortality. Luke wrote it. Lyrically it’s an incredible song.

And it does position it as an existential album.
Yes – and that’s when we got the cover for it. I wasn’t sure about it when we were throwing up ideas, but then it made sense. As it was forming I wrote this song ‘Every Night’ – it started off as this folky Steve Earle thing. I’d been reading about this movement called The Big Music – it was this kind of vague ‘movement’ from the ’80s. It was kind of Celtic, anthemic pop – bands like The Waterboys and Simple Minds and Big Country. That really big sound that has folk elements that come out through rock. I’d been reading about it because I liked all those bands from a distance, but once I’d finished that song I realised it was kind of like that [sound]. That song and ‘I Must Be Somewhere’ feel central to this album, to me. So it seems like a bigger album in more ways than one: the sound is bigger, Luke’s playing electric guitar, the themes are a bit weightier too.

It’s a natural progression as you get deeper into your songwriting and your cohesiveness as a unit. You become more comfortable going deeper – and it sounds like that’s your nature. You’re not complacent people. You are asking questions of yourselves and, therefore, of your audience.
Definitely. I feel that’s true. Hopefully it’s true.

I Must Be Somewhere is out now.
Raised by Eagles tour dates:

Friday August 18
The Workers Club
90 Little Malop St, Geelong
Ph: 03 5222 8331
With special guests TBA
  Tickets $10 + bf presale / $15 @ door.  Tickets available here
Saturday August 19
The Croxton Bandroom
607 High St, Melbourne
Ph: 03 9480 2233
With special guests Neil Murray and Freya Josephine Hollick
Tickets $20 + bf.  Tickets available 
here  From 8pm

Friday August 25
Leftys Old Time Music Hall
15 Caxton St, Brisbane
With special guest TBA
Tickets available here . Doors 7pm
Saturday August 26
Club Mullum
Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club
58 Dalley St, Mullumbimby NSW
Ph: 02 6684 2533
With special guest Ben Wilson (The Button Collective) 
Tickets $20 presale / $25 at door.  Tickets available here.  From 7pm

Saturday September 16
Caravan Music Club
95-97 Drummond St, Oakleigh
Ph: 03 9568 1432
With special guest Charles Jenkins
Reserved Seat Presale $30 +bf / General Admission Presale $23 + bf / $25 @ door
Tickets available here

Sunday September 17
Torquay Bowls Club
47 The Esplanade, Torquay
Ph: 03 5261 2378
With special guest TBA
Tickets $25.  Tickets available here . From 3pm

Monday October 2
Semaphore Music Festival
Main Stage, Foreshore Reserve
Tix avail from July 30.
Gates open 12noon, RBE on-stage 5pm.