LIVE: The boys next door
AS debate rages about a so-called Triple J sound and its impact on the Australian music scene, for Boy & Bear it’s only ever been about the music.
The indie rock turned folk five-piece formed in 2009 and became an act to watch when their critically-acclaimed debut record Moonfire was released in 2011. Their sophomore effort, Harlequin Dream, hit No.1 on the charts and only served to cement their status as leaders in the Aussie music community.
The Sydney boys – Dave Hosking, Killian Gavin, Tim Hart, Jon Hart and Dave Symes – cleaned up at the 2011 ARIA Awards with five wins, including Breakthrough Artist for their single Feeding Line, Breakthrough Artist – Album and Best Adult Alternative Release for Moonfire, as well as Album of the Year and Best Group.
Boy & Bear
But chart success, awards and radio airplay aside, drummer and vocalist Tim Hart told LIVE the band has learnt to focus on simply making music they love.
‘‘It’s about playing music that you really want to play as a collective and it’s not about following trends, because if you’re honest and true to yourself and write and play authentic music, then I think people connect to that on some level,’’ Hart said.
‘‘Whereas if you try to follow the trends, or as those artists have said if you just try and get onto Triple J, then it kind of feels a bit soulless.
‘‘We’re not into that and never got into this for money, because if you were getting into it for money, then you’d never get into music.
‘‘We didn’t get into it for popularity and fame, we don’t try to dress that up, we’re just normal Aussie blokes.
‘‘It’s always been about the music and it always will be. That’s the one thing I’ve learnt, to keep it like that. Bands like Pearl Jam are still going around because that’s the way they’ve kept it all of their career.
‘‘That’s the most important thing, other than staying close mates with the boys … they’re my best mates.’’
Good thing, too, because the five end up ‘‘living in each others’ pockets’’ when touring, and often spend any free time together too. The exception is when Hart works solo, which has produced the 2012 album Milling The Wind, with another in 2014. The drummer travelled to far north Queensland over summer to record.
‘‘I think I have some sort of mental impairment that doesn’t let me have holidays,’’ Hart said. ‘‘Yes, look I do [find it hard to switch off]. I guess it’s because I love it, I love doing it.’’
The work ethic extends to Boy & Bear, with the band already writing the much-anticipated follow up to Harlequin Dream. Hart said they were ‘‘eight or nine tracks in’’, although the songs are still a little ‘‘undercooked’’ for their national tour in April.
‘‘I think a lot of musicians – and I’m not taking a shot at anyone – are a little bit lazy when it comes to that sort of stuff,’’ he said.
‘‘I know everyone writes in a different way, but when you think about jobs, my Dad goes to work every morning and then comes home and he’s worked a 10 to 12-hour day.
‘‘Just because we’re musicians doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a good work ethic and I think it’s important for us to work on stuff while we get the chance, and keep the ball rolling. Look, you’ve got to make hay when the sun shines, and I don’t know that the sun is quite shining on us, but we’ll still try to make the hay.’’
Happily, that includes a national tour this April and May. They’ve always made the effort to journey beyond the capital cities and attracted crowds, including sell-out shows in Newcastle. Their most recent was Fat As Butter last year.
‘‘We’ve never had a bad show in Newcastle, I put that more down to the crowds than to us,’’ Hart said.
‘‘The tours have been pretty tight when we’ve rolled in but they’ve always been great. We’ve played a few shows at the Bar On The Hill and those university crowds are crazy.
‘‘Even back when we started, we did The Cambridge and it was amazing, we didn’t know if anyone would come but it was a really great crowd.
‘‘I was talking to [fellow musician] Passenger on the weekend and he was saying that Let Her Go, that’s gone massive round the world, he wrote that backstage at The Cambridge in Newcastle, so it really holds a soft spot for him as well.
‘‘Newcastle is one of those places that seems a bit magical sometimes.’’
Boy & Bear play an all-ages show at Newcastle Panthers on May 17. Tickets at moshtix苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au, 1300 GET TIX, Moshtix outlets and at the venue.