23 February 2018 by Daniel Davis Goff
New Music, Touring, The Bennies Have Been Busy This Summer So We Caught Up For Some Conversation
It has been a strong couple of years for Melbourne band The Bennies, so why wouldn’t 2018 be any different. One month into the year the band has released their latest album Natural Born Chillers on a new record label. None other than Melbourne cohorts The Smith Street Band’s label, Pool House Records. Finishing off 2017 with a massive tour of Australia, a new album, now what is next? A few warm-up gigs before they take the show over to Europe in March for a massive tour.
You’ve recently moved across to the label Pool House Records. What brought about the change in labels? Do you now have more creative freedom or more of a say in the whole business side of putting an album out?
It was a natural transition to move to Pool House. Poison City Records are a fantastic label that we’ve seen grow over the years and I see Pool House as a young Poison City. It made sense to support a label that our mates The Smith Street Band were starting. We’ve never had any limits on our creative freedom or the business side of things, we’ve never had a contract, I see that as a good thing.
‘Get High Like An Angel’ has quite the tripped out music video. Where did you guys come up with the concept for it?
The idea for the video was workshopped by the band and creative director Raphael Recht. This concept was the result of time constraint, talking shit, smoking ganja and crushing beers.
Your video clips are classic; as a band, you’ve definitely nailed the DIY video clip on more than a few occasions. What is your favourite clipped you have made?
My personal favourite is Get High Like An Angel. It’s a slightly different video for us and it was a shitload of fun to make. Actually, all the film clips are rad to make, most of the day is hanging out with friends, trying to capture the magic.
There is so much diversity between the tracks on ‘Natural Born Chillers’. Apathetic Revolution is like balls to the wall yet the track before ‘Trip Report’ has a very different take on it. How does the band work in a creative sense, is it collaborative effort across the track or does each member stick to their own area?
We generally use a collaborative approach. Someone will get the ball rolling with a lyric, riff or a beat and then the rest of the band jumps on it. It means the result is undoubtedly Bennies sounding. We all have input across the track and enjoy hearing each other’s opinions, I’ve learnt a lot using that process, I think we all have.
‘Trip Report’ is a fucking hilarious song can you please talk us through how the concept for the song and how it came about? Are any of scenarios that were talked about true?
It’s no secret our band loves a spoken word track. The process is pretty straightforward, everyone in the band has a million interesting stories, why not put a few in a song with a killer rhythm. All the scenarios are true, some facts may have been altered due to the poor state of our memory.
The track ‘Dreamkillers’ finishes with the lyrics: “Hey you I don’t think I like you, in fact, I think I fucking hate you” then the end of the track intertwines with the start of ‘Destination Unknown’ which is a polar reversal of what the lyrics touch upon. Was this intended when writing the songs or did you realise this once it was completed?
That idea came about after we had written the songs and then listened back to them. intertwining the songs gives the record a bit more flow if you’re firing it up, start to finish.
Finishing your tour up late last year I am sure you’ve tested a few of the albums tracks out on the audience. Apart from lead single ‘Get High Like An Angel’ which song has the crowd been receptive to?
In general, the crowd has gotten behind all the fresh material. Outside of Angel, I’d say the best response has been to Dreamkillers.
Touring for quite a few years now, do you find it hard to balance tour life and your personal lives, or are they forever intertwined? An extension of that, is it hard to stay focused during long touring periods, particularly overseas?
It’s a constant balancing exercise. In some ways, it’s easier now than ever to tour and be on tour but the schedule does impact life at home. I feel like we’re constantly evolving as artists, part of the gig of being an artist is long periods away from home, it’s not easy but you learn to manage the situation.
It has been mentioned before how your positive attitudes have led to success. How do you as a group maintain that positive energy. And of course there would be times when shit goes haywire, how do you mediate it as a group?
That’s a lovely compliment to be told you have a positive attitude, cheers. Positivity comes from a variety of sources. I think the lion’s share of our positive energy comes from our friendship and realising just how fortunate we are to create our music together. In the moments of carnage and stress, it’s our friendship that has sustained us and also guided us.
Almost every child that plays music when they are younger wants to be in a band at some point. How did it come together for The Bennies? Where there a few other bands you guys played in before forming?
I don’t know how it came together for The Bennies. Most of the bands we played in broke up or simply stopped playing. Luck has played its part in bringing us together, as well as friendship and sick taste in music. I don’t think we’ve played with any of the past bands we were in. All the bands we used to kick around in pretty much gave us the skills to do what we do today.
You’ve mentioned Queen quite a lot in past interviews. Obviously being a different style of music to The Bennies, what is it about Queen that draws you in? Are there any other bands from that era that has a similar effect?
Queen rock! The musical stylings, the bold delivery with laser execution, love it. Black Sabbath is a band that has had a similar impact on our band for slightly different reasons. Fleetwood Mac, The Clash, Prince, Madness, Tina Turner, the list could go on.
You’ve always tended to play around with different styles of music. Apart from Queen is there any bands you would you say have had a major influence on your sound throughout different stages of The Bennies evolution? And Why?
There are too many bands to mention that have influenced us and influence us. The whole thing is a melting pot. Most of the artists we were into at the beginning of this journey we still love today. I’m not sure what the stages of our evolution even are, we’re still evolving.
Do you guys ever find yourselves looking back on how the band has progressed over the last few years? What do you think was the turning point that led to your success?
One of the cool things about being in this band is watching everyone progress as an artist. We became the most successful band in the universe when we played our first show out of the rehearsal room, everything after that milestone is bonus.