These Idle Hands are a collective of talented Gold Coast musicians of the folk inflected alt-country persuasion, whose musical melting pot of gorgeous, acoustic-driven Americana fused with heartfelt storytelling has just seem them release two compelling new songs in the form of ‘Just Maybe’ and ‘Butterflies’.
Self-taught local musician Murray Webber is the band’s song-writing lynchpin, and he recently took time out to fill us in on the new numbers, as well as shining a spotlight on the rest of the collective and giving us an insight into their about to be released and highly anticipated debut album, ‘Petrichor’. As outlined further below by Murray, the word pertains to the sweet, earthy scent that hangs in the air following a period of rain. And come to think of it, it’s also a very apt way to describe the mood that the band invoke with their contemplative, moving sounds.
Congratulations on the recent release of your two newest tracks, ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Just Maybe’. On your Bandcamp page I see that they both came out on the same day, 27 April – was this done in the vein of an old school 7-inch single release, with an A side and a B side, or did you feel that both songs were strong enough to release concurrently? (which I guess would make it a double A side single!)
Thank you! The release of both songs simultaneously was more about providing exclusive content for our new Bandcamp site. I just prefer their business model over the main streaming platforms. It was also a bit of a coin toss as to which song went where though. Both songs were earmarked for single release. I do like the sound of a double A side 7 inch though!
On your Bandcamp site you describe ‘Butterflies’ as “a song about anxiety and being stuck in a small coastal town”. Is there an autobiographical/personal slant to this song, and your song writing in general, or do you take the role of character driven, third person story teller?
Butterflies is both autobiographical/personal and a third person character piece. It’s like those messages you get at the beginning of a movie – “Based on actual events, though the places and names have been changed” Also, some of the events may not belong to the same time period. But yes, I can relate to winters living in a tiny coastal town in the 80’s and yes, my sister did nearly drown me in a lagoon (accidentally!). Not all the songs on the album were written this way though, some were purely third person character pieces. In a song on the album called Vision Board, I take on the role of a narcissistic spiritual healer – that was fun!
These tracks serve as a precursor to an upcoming full-length album. Can you give us an insight into how it’s coming along and if the two current numbers are indicative of the rest of the album, stylistically and thematically?
The album’s set for release on 27 June and is titled ‘Petrichor’ (which happens to be the scientific name for that sweet smell that comes just after the rain). We’re now just waiting for the last few songs to come back from mastering and we’re good to go. I’d say that the two singles are a good example of what one can expect to hear, it’s definitely got dark folk/cinematic overtones, there’s also some lighter moments too, even a few doo doo-doo-doo’s thrown in for good measure.
Can you give us a quick run-down on who else you perform with in These Idle Hands? I understand that our very own Blank GC intern, Amaya, is part of the set up!?
Yes, Amaya is our little songbird – what a voice!! She’s the youngest of our gang and it’s a real pleasure to have her onboard. Chronologically, next would be Lauren on Violin, she rises to any musical challenge with skill and grace. Then there’s Josh on guitar and vocals who’s played in bands in Montana in the US, and also has an incredible voice. Followed by Michael on piano and double bass, who’s also an awesome classical guitarist. Then Kieran who plays bloody everything – slide guitars, banjo, charango, ronroco and didgeridoo! Then comes Scotty French who plays drums on the album (he needs no introduction, he’s like a musical octopus.) And then there’s me, the oldest member on vocals, guitar and banjo. It’s a real mix of ages and musical sensibilities, which I think shines through in the songs.
How have the impacts of COVID-19 affected you as a musician and what have you done to adapt to the circumstance until things return to normal?
Interestingly, the COVID-19 lockdown hit us right at the end of the recording phase of our album and the last vocal parts had to be recorded on Amaya and Josh’s smartphones and sent to the studio. But overall, I’ve enjoyed this slowing down of society, it’s been great for my song-writing, it feels like the 80’s or 90’s again. The only thing I miss is the gigs and cafe culture. Hopefully it won’t be too long till live music returns.
These Idle Hands have a pretty active Facebook account which you can follow for updates about the upcoming album, and you can grab exclusive content over on their Bandcamp page. Watch this space.