Not many people gave a shit about Trial Kennedy in the ten years that they were together. This year, people started giving a shit – indirectly, at least. Tim Morrison went on The Voice; and although he didn’t win, he certainly won himself an entirely new fanbase. Funny how things work out like that, isn’t it? Anyway, naturally I was one of the few who gave a resounding shit about TK, particularly around this era; when they’d just dropped one of my favourite albums of 2008 in New Manic Art. This was an email Q&A – admittedly, not ideal at the best of times; but I was fairly happy with the responses given. Worked out alright. Wish I’d properly interviewed them, though. That would have ruled. Ahh well, life goes on.
– DJY, July 2013
You had a massive year in 2008. What were some of the highlights in retrospect?
A definite highlight for last year was getting our record New Manic Art out, that’s got to be a lifelong dream for any young upstart. But all in all, the real memorable thing about 2008 was spending plenty of time on the road meeting heaps of people who got into the record and starting to get our creative caps back on to pump out the second record. Trial Kennedy are a band that like to keep busy.
How did you spend NYE? Was there a celebration for a great year, or were plans already being made for the next tour?
Two of the lads spent it up the Eureka tower looking down on the fireworks from above, our guitar tech and our drummer spent it down a beach having a laugh and I played a little fill in cover gig in town. Nothing for TK, but we did have a festival on the 3rd of Jan that was a bit of fun.
We’ve got a couple of really key tours left and then we’ve really being trying to get our heads into writing for the next record and keep the ball rolling.
How do you feel long-time fans (people who were listening to Pictureframe etc) have responded to New Manic Art’s success and the subsequent newfound support from radio and television?
I hope Trial Kennedy fans are right behind us in all of our pursuits. We are a band that obviously want to make music and this band our career but we’re going to do it with our musical integrity and creativity well intact so I hope that people that get into Trial Kennedy at any certain stage will see that.
A while ago, you posted a MySpace blog talking about every song on the album and their lyrics. The special edition of NMA also comes with a making-of DVD. Relating this to the old saying “A great magician never gives away his tricks,” do you feel a need to be perfectly honest about your music and what it’s about; or are there parts of the behind-the-scenes creation of Trial Kennedy’s music that is best left unspoken?
Some people like to hold their cards close to their chests and that’s cool, but we aren’t afraid of showing people how we create our music, we’re proud of it and we don’t use any secrets or tricks. I think each band is unique because of the members that make up the band and the way that they write, that’s their own formula and recipe that probably wouldn’t work for other bands.
We also personally love seeing how our heroes write the great music they do – check out the Classic Albums series, it’s amazing.
I have to ask about the sample used in Mississippi Burn. I believe it is Anton Newcombe from the Brian Jonestown Massacre talking, but others beg to differ. Where is the sample from and what is its purpose in the song?
The sample in that song isn’t Anton Newcombe, but that’s a good little rumour to put out there. The actual voice that you hear on that song is a guy called Tom Tapley who was an assistant engineer at Southern Tracks studios in Atlanta where we recorded the record and the words he speaks are words from an interview with Jeff Buckley talking about art. That song is a lyrical and musical sort of ‘pay your respects’ to Jeff Buckley and how he inspired us and so many others on so many levels.
The Not So New Manic Art tour is currently underway; what prompted this tour on so shortly after coming off the road with TBE?
Like I said before, Trial Kennedy are a band that like to keep busy and we really wanted to get back to some of the towns that we stopped off with TBE and get our full set to them. You have the luxury of longer sets on your own headliners so you can play some album songs and play with a few other little musical interims and stuff, keep it fresh and interesting for the punters and us.
We’re out with Birds Of Tokyo in March and then we’ll most definitely be writing our arses off and pump out a 2nd record. It’s all about momentum and capitalizing on that momentum so this all involves hard work and as much touring as possible.
Do any of you have a Colour Day Tours story of your own (ie wife, children, family, etc) when it comes to touring?
No one in Trial Kennedy is married or have any kids yet but touring is a time that you spend away from your loved ones and you do miss them but we’re lucky in that they all understand that we’re following something that we’re passionate about and maybe one day we can make a career out of it.
After experiencing so many different places on tour throughout the country, would you say you’ve located a most dedicated fanbase somewhere? I know Melbourne may seem an obvious choice, but perhaps there’s somewhere else?
Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but Newcastle and Adelaide always give us plenty of love. Sydney and Perth are close behind and we’ve got Brissy tonight so we’ll see if that changes anything in our favourites.
I’ll keep you posted
Weirdest gig (ie unfitting support slot, drunk crowd)?
We played a gig this year up at Mt Hotham that was a Rock, Skate and Pole party. Young kids skating and stuff, us playing in the middle and then a beautiful pole dancer. Funny stuff!!!
What’s the next step for the band? More shows, or maybe recording? Perhaps even a well deserved break?
No rest for the wicked. As soon as we finish the Not So New Manic Art tour we’re doing Melbourne Big Day Out and a big show out the front of Parliament House on Australia Day, then writing all Feb, out with Birds Of Tokyo in March then write April and hopefully get in the studio as soon as we can to pump out a killer second album.