the AU interview: Steve Kilbey of The Church (Sydney) talks new album Further/Deeper and Small World Festival

We caught up with Steve Kilbey, frontman of iconic Australian band The Church, following their recent Australian tour in support of new album Further/Deeper. Billed to play the Small World Festival in Sydney in September, and just about to head out on tour in the States, we found out a little bit more about their new album, touring, and their plans for their Small World Festival slot.

What was the inspiration behind new record Further/Deeper?

Just the on-going need to create music that has always motivated us; and also we needed to make a record with Ian to show people what he was bringing to the table. Plus we hadn’t released a record in about 5 years.

Were these songs gestating for a while before work started on the album? Or were they written specifically for the album, with a specific theme/mood in mind?

They were written immediately prior to doing the album.

I guess the theme is “hey the church is back and look what we can do !”

You’ve just finished a tour around Australia, how do you feel those shows went?

Well every show was sold out. I think we slew the crowd every night. We are quite inexorably powerful these days (haha…)

What prompted the decision to re-visit The Blurred Crusade on that tour?

A desire for bums on seats was one factor, because that album is rated very highly in Australia although not so much overseas. And I like the idea of performing albums in their entirety. Why not?

Would you consider revisiting other records and in full? And which albums would you favour and why?

Yes definitely. We’ve already done Untitled 23 and Priest=Auraand Starfish. I guess that leaves Heyday and Forget Yourself and quite few others still to go.

We could do a different album almost every night for a month..!

When putting the two different sets together, how do you feel the band’s sound and lyrical focus have changed over time?

Good question. It’s amazing how much certain elements have changed between then and now. The bass playing is not so full on like a constant gallop. The lyrics and singing have greatly improved (I hope!).

We are much better and more experienced now. The music is more complex and layered.

You’re just about to set off on an US tour, finally joining up with the Psychedelic Furs, will these shows be similar to the recent Australian tour? Or does an American tour demand a different approach?

Wherever I am it’s the same for me. I really don’t care if it’s some small West Australian town or NYC. After about one minute it all ceases to exist and I literally get lost in that lovely music.

It’s a fix and it’s very addictive. So the same approach no matter where it is now. We can’t help ourselves but be fantastic! (Some more uncertain ha ha hahs..)

How do you feel the addition of former Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug has influenced the bands dynamic or sound live?

Whatever the hell Ian has done it’s just what the doctor ordered. He’s an enthusiastic, talented and experienced team player. A gentleman as well.

I tell you we are going down a real treat with audiences everywhere with Haugie on board!

You’re going to be playing the Small Word Festival in Sydney in September. Festival sets inevitably come with time restrictions and offer the opportunity to play to an audience who may not be all that familiar with your music; do you approach a festival show differently to a regular tour show?

I guess we try to be a bit more upbeat whatever you may infer from that. It’ll be more of a smorgasbord of songs than just a blast of Further/Deeper.

What’s next for the band?

A new record. And continuing to explore the regions of inner space with our electric guitars and drums!

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Further/Deeper is available now on Unorthodox Records

The Church are playing at Small World Festival, on Saturday 19th of September.

Tickets are available now at www.smallworldfestival.com

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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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