Interview: Busy Kingdom party seriously
We talk to Melbourne-based Busy Kingdom’s Brendan Etherington about their upcoming EP:
Hi Brendan thanks for taking the time out to speak with at Something You Said. You are now based Victoria, how did the move from Sydney to Melbourne sharpen your sound?
Melbourne is a great city for creative inspiration, the architecture, the people, the weather and being exposed to so much great live music down here and also living in Brunswick I think has definitely helped us develop our sound. Your environment really does impact your creative output.
You have released three EP’s independently and put up a lot of your work on Soundcloud, does such a platform give you greater musical freedom than perhaps the constraints of being signed up to a major label and having certain expectations placed upon you?
It’s nice to have creative freedom when it comes to releasing music. We have always strived to be prolific, and don’t necessarily release everything we write. Being independent gives us the control to pick and choose what we release – which is a nice feeling.
Where was the subject-matter for these tracks largely derived from?
Love, Death, Brunswick, Late Nights, Alcohol, Cigarettes, Coffee, Good Times, Bad Times. Relationships is another one, but trying to write about it in a way that isn’t too obvious or clichéd.
Lee Jones from The Solicitors produced the new EP. How did you come to find Lee and what made him the best fit for the job?
We’ve played a bunch of gigs with The Solicitors, they’re a great live band and we like Lee’s songwriting style. When we were looking around for a producer to collaborate with we thought ‘why not work with someone that we know and like, who knows and likes our music & who’s a musician that can write songs’. Ever since our first sessions with Lee it has been brilliant. He’s got a great ear for making a song better.
Your new video clip Good For You shows a lot of social unrest imagery, are you a politically driven band or influenced by the worldly state of affairs?
We wanted to use imagery in the clip that could be linked to the concept of things that are ‘good for you’ (or not good for you). I think it’s an interesting concept in the clip to show that people are always the biggest influence in social change. We’re not really a political band but there is so much currently happening on so many fronts in society and the world at the moment that it comes into your songs sometimes.
When conceptualising ideas for video clips, is this something you directly have a hand in or is it a case of conveying your ideas to film directors and they blend it into something you are happy with?
A bit of both. Our experience with making clips is that it works best if the band go off and think about a concept and the director do the same then it normally can be nutted out during a brainstorming session. Budget can be a limiting factor in a way, but then again some of the best video clips are made for peanuts but are amazing.
In forming and sustaining a band, there has to be a strong vision for what you want to achieve and how you set about doing it, is there something of a mission statement for Busy Kingdom?
‘The song comes first’ is probably our biggest one. Our biggest focus as a band is to write songs with strong melodies. Next is to be known for putting on a great live show. ‘Be the band we would like to see’ is something we believe in.
Something I like to ask everyone I interview is, what does music give you that nothing else does?
For me creating music is a great way of channelling the good, the bad and the ugly things in your life into something constructive and creative. Music has the ability to express a feeling or emotion that words can’t.
Have you found touring to be a highly scheduled and disciplined affair or something of an extended party and jam session?
The trick is finding the balance. Sticking to the daily schedule is very important, however we do take partying very seriously 🙂
Do you find touring to be inspirational whereby it helps you write and create more material or are you so focused on the task at hand that writing and creating new material takes a back seat?
The main focus is playing tight, high energy live shows. In terms of songwriting and creative bursts being on tour doesn’t really affect it that much; a new idea can come at the most random of times.
What do you bring to your on stage shows that you have learnt from being fans and going to shows yourselves?
For us, it’s important that we let people in when we perform. To make a connection with people at the gig, in the way we deliver our music is a big deal. All the best gigs I’ve been to feel like a shared experience that I have had with everyone else in the crowd – as well as the band.
What have been some of your memorable gigs to date and why?
Our last launch at Cherry Bar earlier this year was up there. We had 300 people there and everyone went off. We played a pretty tight set too which made it even better. Our launch coming up will hopefully be the same.
If you could be on the bill for one international festival, which one would it be and why?
Glastonbury – from what I’ve heard it has something for everyone, the line-up every year is amazing and camping at a music festival can be pretty wild.
What can punters expect on your upcoming tour and self-titled EP launch?
A tight live show filled with singable rock songs and proof that Melbourne rock is alive and well.
Busy Kingdom’s EP Launch takes places at Cherry Bar, Melbourne – Friday July 24th. The EP will be available through iTunes from Friday July 10th. Keep up with the band on Facebook.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.