INTERVIEW: A Chat With Tim and Killian From Boy & Bear

Monday, October 5, 2015

With a new album Limit Of Love coming out on October 9th, and a tour starting next year, I recently had the chance to sit down with Tim Hart and Killian Gavin from Boy & Bear.

Emily: So firstly, you have your 3rd album Limit Of Love coming out on October 9th, are you excited about getting it out?

Tim: Yeah! It was super fun to make. And this part of the process, between now and when the record comes out is the slightly anxious part, because your like “will anyone listen to it, will they like it?”. But yeah it’s exciting. 
Killian:  Yeah it’s like what do you do with your life in that period, sit and twiddle your thumbs a bit… or do days of press…
Tim: (laughs) yeah

E: (laughs) So never a dull moment?

T: No 

E: Are you nervous at all about getting it out after going 2 X platinum for “Moon fire” and going Gold for Harlequin Dream do you feel a pressure for the release of this 3rd album?

K: Well going in that trajectory we’ll sell 4 copies (laughs) which will be good. No I think in terms of pressure when you’re making the record you’re so blinded by the fun you’re having in wanting to create, and write, which for most of us is our favorite part, so you have no time, or the thoughts doesn’t even creep in, in terms of pressure. The only time I start to think about it is like what Tim said, after you have finished recording and there is a full stop at that process and you have time to think “oh shit… Your lively hood depends on how this goes” but you just have to ignore it. Let it sit and let it be.
T: that’s very Zen
K: (laughs) It is very Zen. I like to just Zen out.

E: (laughs) And so this time Dave got some help in writing the record, with having you guys write it with him. How did you find that experience?

K: It improved it! (Laughs)
T: (Laughs) It was pretty natural I think. We have become better at working together. We have had a few stabs in the past at starting songs from scratch together, but usually Dave would bring in an idea and then we would work on it from there. But this time it was a bit of a transition, from some of us jamming or whatever, someone would come up with something and we would run with that. It was a really nice thing and it freed Dave up a lot, especially with his melodies, because he didn’t have to sit there on the guitar and figure out chords.

E: Nice one. So with you all contributing was there more songs to choose from when putting the record together?

K: Um there was definitely, or there may not have been more songs to choose from, but there was more songs we would have workshopped, but not all the songs we workshopped ever get finished, so we maybe had 30 ideas over the last 2 years, and we maybe only workshopped, say 20 of them, and maybe we only bought about 14 to the studio, then we ended on 12… they all sort of chopped down a bit, so I don’t know if the pool was any bigger, just the spots were filled with a different process.

E: Did you guys have time set aside specifically for the writing of this album?

T: Yeah absolutely. We finished touring… we did two and a half thousand shows last year… (laughs) or what felt like anyway! We finished touring in December, we had Christmas off and then we started working, either at the studio, or one of our houses, or we went away a few times, down the coast of NSW, and just workshopped songs. So we had about a month off then got back into it, but we were all ready for it, after playing those songs for 18 months we were all ready for that change up. 

E: And so you got to do something this time round that you have always wanted to do, by recording live, straight to tape. How was that experience?

T: At the start it was terrifying! Yeah like, the main goal we had for this record was to capture the live sound of the band and we never felt like we got to do that before. A lot of artists these days will be produced by someone who can make edits on the computer and make everything sound perfect, when your recording to tape you can’t do that, what you play is what you hear on the album. So it was terrifying at the start, thinking are we good enough to do this, and then it was liberating after that. And it does sound far more like us!

E: Now Boy and Bear have come such a long way since releasing a version of “Fall at your feet” in 2010. How would you say your sound has developed over the years?

K: Um I think that’s a part of natural evolution. It’s not something you consciously shift or change, you just almost slip into a new inspiration. I feel like we have become less folk from some of our beginnings, a bit less bound by acoustic guitar, it’s not the centre of every song, for example “Walk the wire” has that synth sound. So yeah I think it has naturally taken its course of developing and evolving, becoming broader and not sort of too in a box, which is good for us, keeps us on our toes with what’s inspiring us at the time.

E: What is inspiring you at the moment?

T: I think classic records. It sounds cliché to say but when you listen to classic records, like old Rolling Stones records and Beatles records, anything that has, what you might say these days as glaring imperfections, your drawn to those, because there is a humanity and I guess venerability in them. And so I couldn’t specify a genre at the moment that is really inspiring me personally, and I think Kill will say the same, that’s its more the authenticity of the music. So now I can’t put on a record that’s just perfect because there is just no life to it.
K: You don’t want to feel like you’re in your ivory tower criticising, but I feel like once you do turn that page, or open your ears to another way of doing music, you can’t help but hear it in everything you listen to. Hearing music that you really loved, I struggle listening to now because you can now tell that it’s so perfect, you see them live and there is so much more feel and personality to it. It is an eye opening and I think a game changing experience to go through. What’s those chips they used to say “once you pop you can’t stop”?

E: Pringles! 

K: Yep! That’s what this is (laughs)
T: (Laughs) Salty.
K: (Laughs) I’ve just bought everything we have worked hard at down to a Pringle. 
E: (Laughs) You make it relatable, its fine!
K: I do my best!

E: Now you premiered your new single “Walk the wire” at Splendour In The Grass this year. How did you find the crowd’s reaction to it?

T: It was really good! Or well it’s hard to tell. The people who came to see us at Splendour, in general probably have a bit interest in us already, which is wonderful, we feel so privileged to do festivals like that. I know when I was younger and listening to bands, when they had a new song I was super excited, and I sense that we got that response from the crowd. They were a sensational crowd and for a first outing it was pretty cool. 

E: And so in November 2013, you toured until December 2014, doing 170 shows over 3 continents in support of the “Harlequin dream” tour. Are you excited to be getting back out there in your European tour in November?

K: Yes and no (laughs) I’m excited to tour, maybe not at that capacity again. It has, to be honest, taken me a long time to even remotely entertain the idea of going on tour again. But we started jamming songs recently, just to keep it sort of familiar in the hands, and now I’m excited.
T: Yeah it’s kind of like when you, I’m not sure if you like spicy foods?
E: Yes!
T: (laughs) Good, because you know when you’re eating spicy foods, your battling and sweating, you’re in so much pain and your searching for anything that remotely resembles dairy to try and cool it down.
K: Oh this is so much better than Pringles! Spicy food! Why didn’t I think of that! (Laughs)
T: And you then get over it, well that’s kind of like being on tour! You forget that it got so intense and so full on that you had to stop then after a little while your like “I want spicy food again”. For me I’m coming into that moment when I just really want to tour. 
K: I just really want a spicy curry!
T: (Laughs) And we all just love touring as a band.
K: And we all love curry! 
T: We’ll have to go to Scotland!

E: that’s the place to go for good curry is it?

T: Yeah it’s good! But yeah we love playing live and we love touring, but last year just got intense because we just did a ridiculous amount of it.  

E: And so finally do you guys have any plans for any Australian tours?

T: We have been told not to say anything about tours… 
K: Oh really? I just told my last interviewer all about it!
T: (Laughs) Well then, yes we do! (Laughs)
K: I couldn’t give him any dates because I don’t know them!  (Laughs) 
T: Yeah we’ll be going around Australia. We love touring Australia so much, so I’m sure we will be doing that, and maybe some regional touring and stuff, hopefully I’m not giving away anything I’m not supposed to be! (laughs)  

E: Awesome (laughs) thanks for that guys!

T: Yeah thanks Emily.

K: Thanks. 

Written by Emily O'Brien

You can catch Boy and Bear on tour at the below dates

Friday 22nd January Odeon Theatre - Hobart
Saturday 23rd January - Festival Hall - Melbourne
Friday 29th January - The Barton Theatre, Adelaide
Saturday 30th January - Red Hill Auditorium - Perth
Friday 12th February Hordern Pavilion - Sydney
Saturday 13th February Riverstage - Brisbane