Boy & Bear aren't new kids on the block. Yes, the band formed 6 short years ago. But with extensive international tours and #1 ARIA album, they've already proven themselves. New album "Limit of Love" (released October 9th), sure to be another notch under their belt. I was fortunate enough to check it out prior to release - fortunate, I still feel. It's natural, unfeigned delivery transported me - somewhere cosy, urban; perhaps a crowded bar - intersected with reflective, melancholic late-night drives.
c/o Boy & Bear
The fresh sounds and adept musicianship was inspiriting. It's eclectic vibe, primarily rock, blues rock, and perhaps country, was a treat. And it's mixture of upbeat versus sombre provided structure, ensuring it hardly strayed (1-2 songs, I'd call background music). No song dawdled. Having recently watched the 169 min long Interstellar film, you appreciate conciseness - making a point, then moving on. That, on top of the effort expended, kept the album more engaging than any I've heard recently. For instance, my favourite track was song 10 of the 11 - "Just Dumb" (anything but).
I also had the opportunity to interview frontman David Hosking. Best words to describe him? Friendly. Easygoing. Humble. You know how you see someone on TV, and you're like: "Bet if I met him/her, they wouldn't give me the time of day" - Dave's the opposite of that (if I'm making any sense). And in terms of easygoing, feel like I got schooled! For instance, whilst I consider a person, let's say a musician, as good as their last product (or album), Dave's view: ahh, everything's a work in progress. He even commented, the album isn't perfect! Have you EVER heard someone say: "Look, this thing here is... Look, it ain't God's gift"? I mean, have you ever heard that wheezy-sounding guy on the radio go on about bathroom tiles like they're 24 carat gold?! Dave was this guy's antithesis. Laid-back. Down-to-earth.
Below is my interview with David (with the boring bits omitted - mainly me rambling about nothing in particular). Below that, 1st release from their new album. The band, also touring nationally in early 2016.
INTERVIEW WITH BOY & BEAR FRONTMAN DAVID HOSKING:
ME: So whereabouts do you guys generally call home?
DAVID: ..................Sydney. (the poor guy had already mentioned this)
ME: How'd you guys meet?
DAVID: It all started at uni' actually.Yeah, I met Killian, ironically, on my very first day at university, when we were signing in. We started chatting. And a couple of years later, yeah, we ended up supporting each other at different gigs. And then I met a few of the other guys.
ME: So in terms of your overall direction, are you guys always on the same page? Or do you kind of rotate captains?
DAVID: I mean, we're on similar pages, I mean, we're always looking for different stuff. I think everyone's taste is always evolving. We're always wanting our own music to evolve. I think how it works is that we sort of go off on adventures, when you're listening to things that inspire you, and you get very involved in certain music. And then, when it comes time to writing, I think you bring all that in, and kind of slot that in to the music we're doing. So we do kind of rotate, which is a good thing when you need those fresh perspectives. The song itself should dictate where it should go.
ME: (I went off on a long tangent about how solo artists have it tougher).
DAVID: I'm not cut out for solo gigs. Solo artists are a different breed. I don't have the energy or clarity. I'm a chaotic ball of ideas. Often it is that change of perspective that's needed.
ME: To me, this record is the perfect unwinder - after a stressful day at work. Kick back, pop on Limit of Love. For me. I felt instantly chilled out. Are you guys aware how relaxing and de-stressing your vibe is?
DAVID: That's really good to hear. I don't think we're aware of what our music does to other people. I'm sure it bores some people.
ME: Although you have very cohesive sound, each song is also quite unique. You seem to have a broad range of tempos and emotions: ie. lighthearted fun, carefreeness, romance (with "Where'd You Go"), meloncholy (with "Showdown" and "Just Dumb" - my favourite track), Was that your intention - to cover a spectrum of moods?
DAVID: To be honest, there's never a whole lot of intention, at least from my end. This is the first album me and Tim wrote collectively from scratch. So there's a mixture of approaches. I mean, there's probably 6-7 tracks that I wrote, and 4 tracks we wrote together. I kind of don't know what I'm writing until it comes out of my mouth, and then once it starts taking shape, it's often not till I step back that I connect the dots. I think this album has more lightheartedness than we've probably done in the past. But I think the important thing is to be honest.
ME: When you're working as a group to perfect your sounds, do you have an informal focus group at all - friends or family?
DAVID: Not really. I think Killian shows it to his wife, Courtney. I guess we just kind of back ourselves. I feel we're up to a really good point between the 5 of us, where the way we're working, and the way we're getting along, as long as the work ethic's there, and the communication's there, then we sort of don't have to worry about bringing in an outside source, in terms of quality control.
ME: You've clearly put a heap of work into this. I find, most albums start off strong and taper off. But this kept delivering. When you were composing it, were there spurts of energy or was it more of a sustained marathon?
DAVID: We're slight perfectionists by nature. I'm by no means suggesting it's the perfect record. I mean, there's plenty of things that we would change. Records are simply a moment in time. This is our best foot forward at this point. Its about remembering not to get too overly attached. You wanna get to a point where you love certain songs, but you don't have room for all of them in the record. That's been our ultimate goal.
ME: What do you think of Kanye West?
DAVID: You know what, when you're that good at what you do there's gonna be a few screws loose aren't there. When the brain's that lopsided, you can't be completely sane.