Big Scary Interview

Melbourne duo Big Scary have had a fascinating career considering that they are yet to release a traditional album. They’ve toured with a whole range of local and international acts, recorded four EPs structured around the seasons, and explored a whole spectrum of musical styles, from folk to garage rock. They have recently announced their debut album, and are playing at the BigSound festival in Brisbane, so I had quick chat with the more drumming-inclined of the duo, Jo.

Hey Jo, how is 2011 treating you so far?

Pretty sweet. We had a fight for a while ‘cos 2011 ate my yoghurt (which I had clearly labelled), but I got over it.

One of your first big projects as a band was the Four Seasons- was it daunting at all locking yourself into these four kind of ‘concept EPs’ pretty early on in your career?

The Four Seasons EPs weren’t daunting because they were king of like a low-stress stall tactic on ane actual album. We’ve always had lots of matrial to record, but we still weren’t comfortable with making a proper album because we were still kind of working out what our favourite style songs were, and were still learning heaps about writing songs. We didn’t labour over the EPs, we just jumped in and did them.

You’ve scored some pretty fantastic opening slots over the last couple of years (not the least of which is the upcoming tour with Liam Finn), what are some of your favourite moments playing as a support act?

Our very first tour was supporting The Vasco Era and we couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of dudes to hang out with. They are our funny brothers. Also it was pretty amazing supporting Midlake whose album ‘The Trials Of Van Occupanther’ is one of our band favourites.

Very recently you announced your debut album ‘Vacation’. Firstly, what was the thinking behind the album name and secondly, will it include older EP songs or will it be all new music?

There’s one track off an old EP which will be on the album, but we re-recorded it. Its title is loosely based on what our lifestyles feel like, amongst other things.

You’re billing your album launch shows as intimate and at ‘venues you may not have visited yet’. Any hints to what this might mean?

For a few of the shows we’re using venues that aren’t primarily known as live-music venues, just for a bit of adventure.

‘Falling Away’ is one of my favourite Australian songs of the last few years, I think it’s an absolutely stunning track. It seems very raw and honest- was it written about actual events?

Tom wrote that song, and he often keeps his cards pretty close to his chest, so I don’t actually know if something specific inspired him.

More generally, how does the song-writing process work within the band? Do you usually work on songs together or will one person come up with an idea for a track and then you both flesh it out?

Tom is definitely the song-writer. Each song is different- some are fully formed in his brain, others start as a riff or chord progression that he’ll bring to band practice and we’ll just muck around with different beats to complement it.

I saw you’ve started up your own label, ‘Pieater’. What plans do you have for it?

We haven’t got super specific plans for Pieater yet. It’s probably going to buy Universal and Sony within three years though. And maybe branch out into offshore oil drilling too. We’re considering floating it on the sharemarket in a benign expectation to save the western economies from catastrophe.

And finally, you’re playing at the BigSound festival in Brisbane soon which has a pretty amazing lineup of Australian talent. Are there any bands in particular that you’re looking forward to catching up with or seeing play?

Yes there are. I want to see and/or catch up with DZ Deathrays, Adalita, The Vasco Era, Bleeding Knees Club, Mitzi, Oscar And Martin, Red Coats, The Chemist, The Laurels, The Novocaines, and Ball Park Music.

Thanks so much for your time, really appreciate it.

Big Scary are playing the BigSound festival in Brisbane on the 7th-9th of September alongside a list of stellar local talent. Their debut album ‘Vacation’ is out October 7th.

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