Galleri - not unlike a 'gallery' in that there is a lot to see here. They are a 7 piece band on stage which includes a horn section and the occasional bloke in a dress. If you're lucky enough to be in Melbourne this weekend you can catch them live but for the rest of us, we can enjoy their new single 'Tacky Part'. We spoke to
Kate: Hi John, thanks for the chat. Congrats on the release of your new track ‘Tacky Part’. How is it being received?
John: Hi Kate, 'Tacky Part' has been received well. Its always fun to play live and the crowd gets caught up in its reckless energy. TheRevue actually said the song resembled the 'roaring music of Shakey Graves'. I take that as a big compliment.
K: Can we expect a film clip to accompany the single?
J: There is talk of a clip. Levi wrote the song and he has a different way of viewing the world. He has chucked a few crazy ideas around, which would be cool if we can turn them into a reality.
K: Tacky Part’s sound is quite distinct from your previous material on the ‘Wake The Dog’ EP where your sound was, without sounding like a ‘South Park’ or ‘Donny & Marie’ episode, a little bit country and a little bit rock n roll. I feel the country vibes have been phased out a little, is that intentional or is it just the direction the band is heading?
J: Galleri was actually formed around three songwriters - Levi, Jimmy and myself. As we've grown as songwriters and as a band, our sound has diversified in many areas, including the input from the other band members, who come from backgrounds as diverse as fingerstyle guitar (that's the drummer), Viking metal, blues and Afro fusion.
Straight up, Tacky Part is pretty rocky, but it still fits amongst the rest of the songs on the forthcoming EP, which have elements of country, folk and soul.
We have never put a rule on what type or genre of music to play. If it's a good song, we'll work it. I think it's the greatest strength of having 3 songwriters and a big band. You can kind of do what you want, if people will listen to it.
K: I read in an interview from April 2013 that you were already playing ‘Tacky Part’ at live shows. Are you perfectionists or is the recording process a long one?
J: Yeah it's true, we've played Tacky Part for a few years now. It's been a long time coming for the second EP. Money and life get in the way sometimes. We've always wanted to get it out there. The recording process itself wasn't too long really. We'd decided we wanted to record ourselves for this EP and we set out to raise funds to record with some ticketed shows. We were overwhelmed by the support from our local community and fellow bands who really got behind us and the idea. With the funds raised we bought the needed gear and set out. Hopefully, we will be releasing music much more frequently now.
K: Given that you guys are a 7-piece band with 3 contributing songwriters, are there ever times that you disagree creatively or could it be your artistic differences that are responsible for your unique sound?
J: I've always said having a 7-piece band is simultaneously our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. Having the multiple songwriters and such a big band mean it's hard to find 2 Galleri songs that sound the same. There are 8 different lives, viewpoints, tastes and influences, which can be great!
Of course, there is always going to be disagreements along the way. Jimmy and I are brothers, so that even heats things up a little more. We love each other, but we also clash sometimes in the way we'll approach a song. People have bad days, as well, and sometimes you'll happen upon a gig or sound person that just isn't sure what to do with so many people on a stage, but we're pretty good at pushing past that and getting on with things. The positives outweigh the negatives for sure.
A good example of the size of band working in our favour is Tacky Part. It started life as an acoustic ballad and evolved into a rambling rock tune with 80s shred guitar.
K: You have distributed your music through so many different channels including, iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify and the Triple J Unearthed website to name a few. Which do you believe has been the most effective at getting your music out there?
J: I'm not sure. I think all these channels have their place and appeal to different demographics. We really just want to get our music available to as many people as are interested. We find playing live and connecting with people personally is our most effective way of getting our music heard and, in turn, getting word of mouth and more people buying the music.
K: Is there anywhere people can buy a hard copy of your music?
J: Yeah, we have limited copies of Wake The Dog left. Best getting a copy at a show or via our Facebook page (just shoot us a message). We will be printing physical copies ahead of our next EP around June.
K: What was the last album you purchased (Spotify doesn’t count)?
J: To be honest I just bought 3 records at once. Father John Misty's new album - 'I love you honey bear', Modest Mouse - 'This is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about' Bill Callahan - Sometimes I wish we were an eagle'.
K: You definitely include a wider variety of instruments than the average set up. Did you guys teach yourselves to play all these instruments by ear or did some of you have lessons?
J: We're a weird old bunch. Half of us are self-taught. Very self-taught. And the other half are fully trained. We find it works really well having both, especially in such a large band. The heartfelt approach of playing what feels and sounds good to express a song is always good for a foundation but having people that can take that idea, grow it and deliver it with confidence is essential as well.
K: Finally, you guys are mid-way through a tour, how is the tour going and what can we expect from your live show?
J: The tour is going great. We're having a ball. We're playing alongside some great mates, meeting new people and experiencing the many kms spent driving up and down the East coast. The live show is really something to behold and we hope that peoples' experience is very varied and interesting each time they see us. 7 people on stage, 3 different singers, 3 different songwriters, horn section, an array of different musical instruments and musical genres, Jimmy doing the famous 2-step dance. Muddy occasionally dons a dress, Lev tells a yarn or 2. You never really know what you're going to get, musically or otherwise. But somehow it all works.
Written by Kate Carnell
Remaining tour show details:
FRI 20 MAR // MELBOURNE // The Wesley Anne with new friends Pepperjack + Open Swimmer (Solo) // TIX $10
SAT 21 MAR // MELBOURNE // Reverence Hotel with friends Phoebe Daicos Music // TIX $10
FRI 27 MAR // TUNCURRY // Bellevue Hotel // FREE ENTRY
SAT 28 MAR // HUNTER VALLEY // Folk In Broke Festival // TIX $75 // http://www.folkinbroke.com.au/