They may be a three-piece but they had plenty of extras to help record their debut album and they’ll have plenty of people help launch it as well. And you can’t wipe the smiles off their faces. I caught up with Leopold’s Treat in Miami Marketta’s brand new Studio 56 to chat about how it all came together and what they learned on the way.
“We had an amazing jam last night,” Kate Leopold said. She and Dave Honeyman reel off a list of friends who jammed with them. Scotty French, Crick Boue, Sarah Dern. They’ve been jamming and rehearsing for the public launch of their new release.
“We’ve been warming up,” they tell me. “Just sort of piecing it together.”
They’re talking about the launch event for Cold River, their debut album. Kate says the feedback on the title track off the album – their first single has been good.
“I’ve had a lot of really cool feedback, text messages and stuff. People are saying they really like it,” she said.
Dave said that making the album was the best recording experience he’s had.
“Scotty (French) just made it so easy, really. And also the music … it was… easy to play that music. We were just jamming out on what we normally do.”
“Scotty was just so helpful. Just because he knew what he was doing,” Kate agreed, speaking of the recording process and how she felt.
“He’d just say ‘do this’ and it would pick things up. Or he’d use an effect or whatever.”
We speak briefly about the song-writing process. Dave says Kate is the main song-writer but Kate says she doesn’t consciously write songs. “Some ideas are just stronger than others,” she said. “I’ve never intentionally sat down to write a song.”
Even Dave is surprised at that. “No? Really?” he asks. “No, the original ideas are just like this…wooooo,” Kate says as she does an interpretive style dance. They tell me how a couple of songs were born.
“There’s ones like Old Mississippi,” Kate said. “Where we were playing with Lani (Motiekaitis) one day and she started jamming the bassline and Dave started playing along.”
“Another one was Penniless Man, which Kieran started playing on charango and then I started playing those chords on guitar,” Dave explains. “Keiran and I have a habit of when we song-write together… it’s like an oppressed jailbird time song – you know, put in there for a minimal offence, and struggling through the system to get out… but finding camaraderie in the people he meets there. So I guess it’s writing about stories that emerge from the melodies and rhythms of the music.”
Dave and Kieran Richardt were originally brought into the fold to help Kate record her solo debut EP, It Goes By. Kate tells me the album was supported by a City of Gold Coast RADF grant.
“It got played nationally through the AirIt Program,” Kate said of her EP, “and it was the EP recording that brought us together and inspired us to come up with a band name.”
“Leopold’s Treat became a unanimous decision for a band name,” Kate said. “Despite my suggestions that were a bit less revealing of my identity… Little Tree was my favourite idea.”
“From my point of view, I did that EP and it was just really good,” Dave said. “I was just going to keep doing it until Kate gave me the sack or something. That hasn’t happened. And I still feel like doing it.”
Kate said it was a mutual decision to keep playing together as a band.
“We’d been rehearsing together once or twice a week in the lead up for the recording and then after the recording it just felt natural to keep up the rehearsals,” Kate said. “For at least a year after that we rehearsed once or twice a week.”
“Somewhere in amongst all that I’ve started to feel like a musician,” she laughed.
“It feels like a growth period for the band,” Dave tells me. “Just with the album, and maybe pushing it a little bit. It feels like we’re doing things that we haven’t done before, maybe taking it somewhere we haven’t gone before.”
We move on to talking again about the launch of their album. They had originally chosen Board Culture on the highway at Mermaid Beach for the event – which on the surface seems odd, but regular readers would know the surf shop’s affinity to the local music scene. Unfortunately Board Culture has very recently had some issues with running music events and so the location for the launch has moved to The Dust Temple. It’s still on Saturday 10 October from 6.30pm.
“It’s going to be pretty special, with Adam Biggs doing sound and some of the Gold Coast’s most amazing musicians,” Kate tells me.
On the lineup are the Ella Fence Trio, as well as Josh Holms and his spoken word magic. And Scotty French and Crick Boue and of course, Leopold’s Treat. At the time of writing, they also just announced that local artist Rebecca Cunningham, fresh from exhibiting at SWELL would also be exhibiting some of her work.
One of the things I love about Leopold’s Treat – apart from their music and their love of the natural environment – is their pragmatism. They decided against crowdfunding the album’s production or release opting instead for a good old fashioned ticketed gig.
“We just want people to buy a ticket and come along,” Kate said, and then tells me again how eclectic the evening will be. “We want to sell 200 tickets.”
The $30 ticket price includes a heap of entertainment, with the main course being Leopold’s Treat themselves. It’s BYO, it’s family friendly and there’s a kids’ corner to boot.
“There’ll be artistic things for people to participate in,” Kate explains. “Everyone will get a bunting flag to make, some candles to light and some little post-it notes for writing affirmations and sticking on the wall.”
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Leopold’s Treat launch Cold River
Dust Temple, Currumbin Creek Road
Saturday 10 October, 6.30pm
Tickets via leopoldstreat.yapsody.com
Feature image by Lyndsey Kershaw