Boy & Bear may have formed in 2009, but by 2011 the group had bagged an impressive five ARIAs for Moonfire, garnering Best Group, Album of the Year, and Breakthrough Artist Single & Album. They also got Best Adult Alternative Release. When it comes to the music industry, the group hit the ground running, with massive tour schedules capitalising on their currency.
‘Last year we had about two months at home,’ says Boy & Bear’s Jon Hart.
‘We did 150 shows; that’s a 150 sound checks! You need to soundcheck some different things and play some different songs, so we would fool around and get a feel for new things and to keep it fresh,’ says Hart of the band’s attempts to keep writing under pressure.
‘Last year was a unique year for us – we had never been that busy!’
Recording their latest release Harlequin Dream was very different from Moonfire. While Moonfire was recorded in Nashville, Harelquin Dream was laid down here in Australia, at Alberts Studio – the same place the Easybeats and AC/DC recorded their legendary albums.
Writing an album is pretty straightforward and for the band there was none of the usual second-album woes.
‘Dave will tend to bring an idea or there will be something being jammed and we put it together and we will go to a rehearsal space in Sydney or we will rent a house so we can have somewhere to sleep and set up our instruments. And hopefully we have no neighbours! That way you can work when you feel like working. We tend to do a few of those stints. We will record some demos and then keep pushing. We had two-thirds of the album written before we went into the studio and then three songs that came along in the studio. We would go here is an idea and let’s record that right now.’
One of the greatest challenges admits Jon is knowing when your song is finished.
‘When you present a finished product you always feel like there are things you could do. All the audience hear is the end product. They don’t really care if it took you a long time to craft it or hardly any time at all. All they hear is the end result. You get so involved in the process sometimes when you are writing and recording that you can lose your objectivity. That’s when you need people who have good engineering and listening skills. You need fresh ears!’
This is Boy & Bear’s first performance at Bluesfest, and they are really looking forward to it.
‘When we first played a festival we weren’t a festival band – but we are now!
‘We are going to play across our two albums and the EPs, and we will do our best to really deliver the arrangements we put on the record; but live, we are not a pyrotechnic show, so what we want to give an audience is not just what is on the record, but a unique performance of that.’
Boy & Bear play Bluesfest this Easter.
For playing times, and tickets go to bluesfest.com.au.