Melody drenched indie surf-rock collective Caravana Sun have been riding an irrepressible wave of momentum in the lead up to their heartfelt new single, ‘Come Back’, which was officially unveiled on 14 September. A moving ode to a recently departed close friend, the single will no doubt be a highlight of their upcoming live performances in our neck of the woods at the start of October. It comes from their brand spanking new EP, ‘Silver Linings’, which you can get your hands on here.
The band have recently returned from an epic 22 date tour of the UK/Europe, so expect great things from the four piece when they take the stage at the Celebrate Gold Coast Festival, on Chevron Island, on Sunday, 7 October.
In the lead-up, we had an enlightening chat with Caravana Sun drummer, Alex Dumbrell..
You’ve recently returned from a big tour of Europe. Can you share a few of the most memorable moments on stage that you experienced while over there?
We were lucky enough to head over to the UK and Europe through July and August of this year, and what a whirlwind of a tour it was! We’ve been migrating to the northern hemisphere for their summer for the last few years, so I feel like we’ve started to really get the hang of touring over there. It’s such a unique way of seeing a country, meeting other musicians and fans of music from the other side of the world. This year we spent the most time in Germany, but also played a fair few shows through the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, England and even got over to Malta!
One of the highlights that first pops in my head were some huge support shows we played with this awesome Bavarian brass band called La Brass Banda. They are like folk heroes and throughout summer they tour across Southern Germany to all these small communities and towns with these enormous beer tents (Germans know how to do it right!) We’d start the night off on stage up in front of a few thousand people all dressed up in traditional Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl. I’d regularly have these surreal moments on stage where you realize where you are, what you’re doing and just how lucky we are to be doing what we do. EPIC!
You recorded your latest EP with renowned producer Steven Schram. What was it like working with him?
Working with Schram was unlike any other recording session we’d ever done! He worked us really hard with the song writing side of things, going through all the tracks lyrically and structurally with a fine-tooth comb before even hitting record. Once we actually started tracking, if he felt there was some magic in the takes we’d stop there, rather than doing 10 takes for the sake of it. So some of the songs are the first or second take – this meant we as performers were really pumped to record, as we knew the pressure was somewhat off to play perfectly and instead it allowed us to focus on creating moments and gelling well together as a band.
He played a massive role in shaping the sound, almost like having a fifth member in the band. We’ve never worked with anyone who gets so involved and we loved it! It’s always a little nerve racking at times when you open your music up to someone else, but there was plenty of trust and openness and that helped the songs really shine. Schram didn’t like to put any defining genres or restrictions on the tracks while they are being created, instead trying to bring out the strengths in each song we presented. We loved the whole process!
Who are your most admired contemporaries on the Australian musical landscape?
There are so many talented Aussies currently touring and releasing new music! All of my personal favourites are those who are out there chasing it, working their butts off nationally and internationally and making music true to themselves. Artists like Hollow Coves, Little Georgia, Bobby Alu, The Kava Kings and Bethanie Jolly.
You’ll be on the Gold Coast soon as part of the Celebrate Gold Coast event. Have you played with any of the other artists on the bill, such as Busby Marou? And what can we expect from you guys in the live realm when you hit the stage on 7th October?
I am pumped for that show! We haven’t played on the Gold Coast in ages and to be sharing a stage with the mighty Busby Marou – I think it’s going to be a really special afternoon. In terms of the live show, we aim to play music that makes our audience feel good and do our best to connect with them. Our new EP, ‘Silver Linings’, was released on 14 September, so we’ll be playing some of the new tunes.
I understand the band are mad keen surfers! Who’s the biggest surf nut in the band? And if push came to shove and you had to choose between music and surfing, which would hold sway?
When we first started touring, it was mainly about playing in towns we’d always wanted to visit, surfing breaks we’d always heard about and taking our music to communities far and wide that resonated with the tunes we were creating. Now days we play further away from the coast but we take EVERY chance we get to surf while on tour! Just a few weeks ago we’d been playing across land locked countries, far away from the beach, throughout Europe. But then our tour bus pulled up in Cornwall, UK. The surf was tiny and the water was freezing (middle of summer?!) but we grabbed some wet suits and boards off a good mate and had one of the best arvo’s of the trip!
I think Ant (bassist/vocalist) would be the biggest surf nut but Luke and I aren’t too far behind. It’s just that Ant lives near some of the best waves on the East Coast (Byron Bay) so he’s always out! Tough question you’ve asked there though, trying to make a call between surfing or music is like asking who your favourite sibling is – there’s no right answer!
Do you have any grand plans in place yet for the band leading into 2019?
Someone mentioned the other day that next year marks 10 years of Caravãna Sun – I didn’t even realize we had an anniversary coming up! There’s nothing planned in terms of an anniversary tour or a greatest hits album (haha!), but I know we’ve got some plans in place to bring our German mates La Brass Banda (who I mentioned earlier) over to Australia in February or March. Fingers crossed that happens and we can return the favour and show them our beautiful country. Other than that we’ll be writing, recording and touring our music around the world, finding people that resonate with it and having adventures along the way.
Be sure to catch Caravana Sun and their sunny good-time vibes when they roll into town and hit the stage at the Celebrate Gold Coast Festival, on Chevron Island, on Sunday, 7 October.
You can also catch them at the following local shows:
- Friday, 28 September, The Northern, Byron Bay
- Friday, 5 October, The Foundry, Fortitude Valley