Bec Clark chats to Josh Garden from Grafton Primary about the bands latest tour to Columbia and their sophomore album
Bec: Some Australian artists often struggle overseas but you seem to have gotten a very good response, especially in South America. I believe you have just returned from Columbia
Josh: We sure did. It was crazy as usual. We had a gig in Columbia last year, we did a couple there just now and we are looking at doing some more shows probably early next year. It’s just one of those things, they found us through the internet and they asked us to go over and once we were over there we were well received so they wanted to have us back. It was pretty awesome.
What are festivals in Columbia like in comparison to Australian festivals?
How would you describe the difference? It’s quite simular in terms of sound systems and stuff. There is a lot of sponsorship around that sort of stuff but the main difference is everything is quite grass roots in a way. The stage we were on was basically a huge mud bath. [The promoter] actually set up the whole stage, including all the subs and all the amps and everything, and pulled them all to the stage by horse and cart. I’m not saying that’s a regular event, as in it happens all the time but I guess it gives you an idea of the people there, and how they feel comfortable with how things happen on a fundamental level. Yeah they are pretty crazy, pretty out there. People have a good time there and really appreciate music and appreciate artists. There are a lot more Latin flavours and bands speaking Spanish, which was not so good for me
Did you pick up any musical influences while you were over there, for you next album?
I think it definitely reminded me about making really syncopated beats, like stuff with a real groove as opposed to everything being four on the floor type of idea. It definitely reminded me of a few things I sort of knew anyway, but I just got them again
Is there a big difference in your live set, what you would play in Columbia and even when you played Mexico, in comparison to you what you played at your Beach Rd set the other night?
Not a huge amount, we don’t have time. We plan our shows out fairly carefully. We don’t have the liberty of being the Rolling Stones and change our song order on the night. We have our shows fairly tightly planned so it’s a simular set because we don’t have time to put together a new set just for Columbia, but I think every night you definitely perform with a different energy and you do the songs slightly differently, the set list is the same it’s just more a performance head space. One of the things that was different about Columbia is, over there you are an international act cos’ your from overseas, so I suppose you have that sense of needing to step up to another level. It sounds really ridiculous, but to represent Australia, you have to get up there and do the whole gold medal thing or what ever.
Did you pull a big crowd?
It was a festival but there were probably about 7 or 8 thousand people watching so yeah it was a pretty awesome feeling
And you would have been able to expand your fan base heaps
I hope so. It’s actually funny because one of our oldest songs, Relativity, apparently that’s the song that everybody knows over there and unfortunately for us we didn’t actually play it. We didn’t realise it was going to be such problem but we had lots of people saying “why didn’t you play It?”. We will have to remember that next time we got to
Being in Columbia I would image you would have some pretty outrageous tour stories
It’s not like specific tour stories but there are a whole bunch of little images. We got to ride to the stage on tractor, in knee deep mud and we were running around the festival with plastic bags on our feet and mud up to our ankles. Every time you hop in a van or something in Columbia is an adventure, you roll along for 15 minutes and then the van will just stop and the driver will get out and disappear into a house for 10 minutes and then you know his brother will come back out and jump in the van and then 20 random people you have never seen will hop in and start having a conversation in Spanish. Then you drive on for a while and you’re supported to turn right and you end up turning left and you drive 20mintes to drop these people off in some farm house. Every moment is part of the adventure so there wasn’t any one story that stood out, the whole thing was just such a sensory overload. It was so enlightening, it just made me feel really positive and really alive, when I got back I was really inspired to perform more.
Is the cocaine as good as everyone talks up?
(Laughs) well to be honest I did actually try some but I did hear reports that it was
You’re not as big a party animal now that you’ve got a baby on the scene I do believe
Yeah that’s right; I’m in a slightly different phase of my life now
Congratulations’ by the way
Thank you. Yeah, not so into the party scene now, I have got a little 6 month old and she is awesome
What’s her name?
Her name is river; she is an awesome little girl
What keeps you up later at night – the tours or the 6 month old?
A combination really, at the moment the tours keep me up late at night and she gets me up early in the mornings. It’s a bad combination really
oes being a father change the way you write your music in terms of the themes or anything in your lyrics? Has it made a big impact on your music?
I think my lyrics always kind of reflect ideas and emotions going on in my head at the time so there are definitely some references to parenthood or cycles of life and nature and that sort of stuff. I think in terms of the writing, it’s just really made me mature more as a person, really start to come into my own as an adult. It’s just a different level of maturity. It’s all more focused to what I’m doing now, I feel a lot more grounded and I’m not keen to do a hundred things at once like I used to be, I’m quite happy to go - alright I’ve got my wife, I’ve hot my baby and I’ve got the band and that’s how I really want my life, its fairly simple. So yeah, it’s given me a lot of clarity
We have the first taste of your sophomore album with the single The Eagle which has gotten a lot of radio play, can you tell us a little bit more about the album coming out?
Yeah well the album will probably be out sometime towards the middle of next year. Some of the stuff has got a heavier sound, it’s heavier but it’s also deeper. I think it’s just evolved in complexity but I think we still maintain the original principles of making really memorable, powerful songs. [The new songs] maybe have a bit more rock elements and it’s a bit harder edge, more riffy, more riff driven, but at the same time we have done some stuff with big anthems on there as well. Evolution of what we have done before; we are not re-inventing the wheel but at the same time we are trying to push ourselves as far as we can. We don’t want to make an album that sounds exactly like the old one, so we will have to wait and see.
Are there any songs that you relate to more than others, of the new album?
Well I guess people wouldn’t have heard anything apart from The Eagle but I have a song on there which is called Closer, and it’s sort of talking about how music is a great unifier, bringing people together and uniting all ages and all races. I suppose that song is kind of meaning full to me at the moment. Sort of trying to bridge the gap between people and the in world, trying to bring everybody closer together. We actually already have that one in the set and I already really love performing it, so hopefully we can release that one as a single.
That sounds really deep and I hope people manage to pull that out of it when they listen to it
I hope so. It’s quite a cryptic verse in a way, and then the chorus is quite heart felt
Can’t wait to hear it. What kind of music were you guys drawing on as inspiration for this new album?
It’s a bit hard to say really, I have not really been listening to music specifically. I have been listening to a lot of the radio lately
Who has caught your ear?
I have been listening to everyone from sort of JJJ to, I had a really random country music station phase, and at the moment were listen to classical like Classic FM and stuff. I have listened to so much music in my life and I have studied so much music in my life that I kind of loose track of what the influences are any more. Everything that I hear is influence in a way. All music seems like one to me, it’s a sound and a feeling and it’s a beat and it’s an emotion, so it’s hard to pick one that has been really cropping up. So it’s been lots of the radio lately, I haven’t really been specifically listening to any one artist or anything like that.
When you say music is one and is all kind of the same thing do you object to Grafton primary being pigeonholed to one genre in particular
Yeah, from time to time it does really frustrate me. I hate it not being recognised as an individual thing because even though I have just said all music is connected I don’t mean the same thing, I mean that all music is part of a body or a pattern, it doesn’t all sound the same but it is part of the same territory because it’s all music. I guess at the same time the band does have a certain sound because otherwise it wouldn’t be the one band, it would be a bunch of different bands and bunch of different ideas. I don’t like it being pigeonholed and I don’t like it when people refer to it as being derivative or as being part of a scene because personally I don’t really listen to what is current and I don’t consider myself part of a scene. It’s frustrating when people assume you have been influenced by what is popular at the time, but at the same time everybody needs to have a frame of reference to something so if it helps them, to put you in a pigeonhole so they can understand what your doing, that’s fine, that’s just how it goes I suppose
With out putting yourself into a genre so to speak, how would you describe your music?
It think it’s mature spiritual electronic rock!
Great I love that, I absolutely love that. That’s a great note to end on because we have pretty much run out of time, so thank you very much for your time and we cant wait to catch you live and hear the new material
No problems thanks for you time as well, glad you got on to me
And congrats again and say hi to River for me
Will do, Thanks!