It’s fair to say that there’s a bit of a mutual love affair going on between Californian band The Growlers and Australia. Their upcoming Antipodean sojourn will be their fifth visit to our shores, and this time they’ll be taking in an extensive 12 dates along the East Coast. Their previous Aussie tour in January this year (including a rapturously received gig at the Miami Marketta) was one that front man Brooks Nielsen recalls with gusto.
“The shows have changed so much at home, they’ve gotten so much bigger and the crowds have gotten younger and younger,” he explained during our chat.
“But when we’re in Australia it feels like the early days, playing much smaller shows with a bunch of crazy surfer types, really rowdy – it’s great! We just really love it out there. The guy who brings us out, BT, understands how much we also enjoy being able to surf and hang out by the beach…it’s like an endless summer for us.”
And while they’re clearly enthralled with the laidback beach lifestyle that they tap into on their regular Australian visits, they‘re also not afraid to take the hard road when it comes to playing live for a living, according to Nielson.
“Musically, the life of The Growlers really is on the road. We’ve lost many summers and a lot of comforts because we became road dogs. Our world is touring.”
The band have recently released their sixth album, ‘Natural Affair’, which heralds a bit of a musical departure from their traditional ‘beach goth’ vibes into somewhat more synth driven, dance oriented territory (perhaps a case of more beach, less goth), without sacrificing the unique undercurrent inherent in Nielsen’s lyrical worldview.
The singer described how the album’s genesis took shape and how they approach the recording process in genera.
“It’s just a slow growth, it really is natural,” he said.
“If the song writing doesn’t feel good and is not flowing through me, then it’s onto the next idea. But the process hasn’t changed whatsoever… meeting up, trying to be open minded and make ideas up on the spot.”
The Growlers are a band renowned for their creativity and staunch DIY aesthetic. Having launched their own record label, Beach Goth Records, the band went down the road of self-producing the new album this time around.
Says Nielsen of the bands outlook on keeping it real and doing things their own way; “We flow really good this way. We have a small, close team and there’s no one to check in with and no one to hold accountable for anything. If we have an idea we just go for it. And that’s how we went with self-producing this new album. It was like, you know what, we run our own festival (the Beach Goth Festival, now into its eighth year), we do all of our own art, videos, photos… If we need a tour vehicle, we’ll get an old tour bus and do it up, we’ve always been like that. So why are we going to get help putting out our own record?”
As part of their recent headlining performances at their own Beach Goth Festival, the band performed 75 unique songs over three nights, with no song played more than once! And Nielsen is keen to keep this fluid approach to the band’s setlists going when they hit our shores.
“The sets felt really great all the way through. We’re going to bring that, and even more songs to Australia, really try and change it up everywhere.”
So there you have it The Growlers fans, rest assured that you’ll be getting a broad and uniquely ‘in the moment’ cross section of songs from across The Growlers’ entire catalogue when they hit the stage at local venues in early January.
Catch the Growlers on Saturday 4 January at Kingscliff Beach Hotel then Sunday 5 January when they hit CBD Live, Southport RSL, followed by Monday 6 January at The Tivoli, Brisbane.
IMAGE: Taylor Bonin