Harlequin dreams of boys and bears

Backing up the release of their sophomore release with a brand new album, the boys from Aussie favourites Boy and Bear have had a jam-packed start to 2014. Emily Hosking caught up with bass player, Dave Symes to chat about their upcoming tours and get a bit of an inside peep behind the making of their new offering, Harlequin Dream.
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The phone rang. I was anxious and a little bit nervous. It’s not every day that you get to speak with one of your favourite bands and ask all the questions you ponder about while driving around, being serenaded by their album on your stereo. But that I did, and on the other end of the phone was a very friendly Dave Symes who had plenty to say about the exciting few months ahead for the band.

Having just completed their latest Australian tour, the boys are set for a tour of Europe and USA which kicked off in February. Symes commented on how the boys are looking forward to continuing their role in a network of touring musicians, and enjoying the difference of the international audiences.

“Culturally, Europe in particular, is a different experience with the infrastructure of how their music industry is set-up.  With so many bands going through there, you sort of become a part of this big network of musicians, which is really exciting for us. We will play smaller clubs, and with the audiences over there really loving music the way they do, it will all mean new experiences for us.”

During their time in America, the band is also dropping in to South By Southwest in Texas to showcase their music and give the music market a taste of some of the best Australia has to offer. “We did a brief spot there with the first album, but this will be more of a showcase. Because we are doing a tour, we will be able to go for a few days, see some of the bands and hopefully catch a few of the side shows.”

While they are eagerly anticipating sharing their music with these new audiences, Symes was quick to assure that their loyalty remains true to their Australian fans.

“There’s nothing like playing in Australia for us. Obviously being an Aussie band we love it here, and we have such beautiful audiences.”

Upon the completion of their international tour, the boys will head back home to kick-start their next tour which will see them host a number of shows in regional venues throughout Australia through April and May.

“A lot of these remote places are often forgotten about, but they are sometimes some of the best gigs we get to do. There are so many people living all over Australia and they are hungry for a bit of entertainment. We really love to play our music to as many people as we can, so we love to jump into our van and take our circus on the road,” Symes joked.

On the subject of their latest album release Harlequin Dream, I was interested (and slightly hesitant) to ask about the subtle country influence on this release in comparison to their previous album and EPs.

“I don’t think we intentionally went for a country feel, but I think that country music has roots in so many genres. In a way, it probably comes from our blues and roots sound, with the type of harmonies, chord changes and rhythm section feels that (country) uses. We love a lot of older music from bands in the 60s and 70s, and they were all influenced by a lot of these old American country cities as well.”

With the band making a conscious decision to record this new album with popular record producer Wayne Connolly at Albert Studios in their hometown of Sydney, Symes reflected that it resulted in an album that portrays an accurate representation of the band.

“On the last record, there were a few things that didn’t come quite as easy while being away. It was a nice thing recording this album in our home town, using all the resources we have here, and working with the great engineers and musicians in Australia.”

Released late last year, the music video for the album’s title track Harlequin Dream was filmed in Palawan, Philippines just 14 days prior to the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

“After the tragedy hit, we were relieved to hear that the locals involved in the video were all safe thanks to the surrounding mountains.”

“Australians have always been upfront with their support to our neighbours in South East Asia, and we wanted to make everyone aware that this is where we had filmed the video prior to the devastation and to give generously to those who were affected.”

Donations for this important cause can still be made through Unicef Australia, Oxfam, the Australian Red Cross and Save The Children Australia.

Symes suggested to keep an eye on their website for everything Boy and Bear related, and while their next tour doesn’t make a direct stop to the Gold Coast, I can assure you that their shows are well worth a small road trip to one of their regional destinations.

 

 

 

 

 

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