Aussie indie folk-rockers Boy and Bear first came into the spotlight when they released their debut album Moonlight. With hit after hit receiving praise, the guys got the opportunity to bring their Sydney act to the likes of North-American and European audiences. The band’s latest album Harlequin Dream has also made quite an impact in the music scene and the band has big plans for the year ahead.
Recently announcing an extensive regional tour around their homeland Australia as well as North America and Europe, bassist Dave Symes tells us all about the band’s rigorous touring life, a few notes about their music’s international scope and what’s next to come. Here’s what he had to tell us…
Stephanie Ochona: Hi, how are you doing today and where does our interview find you in the world?
Dave Symes: In my kitchen in Newtown, Sydney, Australia.
SO: You’re second album Harlequin Dream has achieved a lot of success since its release in August last year. How does it feel receiving accolades such as the #1 spot on the ARIA charts, various ARIA award nominations and constant support from fans on Triple J?
DS: Its been fantastic that the album has been welcomed so warmly. You never really know how people will react to your new music, so it’s a real treat when you feel that there are people there to support you. It gives you inspiration and confidence to keep on creating and playing.
SO: Southern Sun seems to be doing rather well for itself in the U.S and the UK over the past couple of weeks. What does it mean for you to be recognized outside of your homeland?
DS: It’s always been a dream to play music internationally, and to be able to meet new people around the world. It’s great that our music is being played on radio, and amazing to think that people on the other side of the planet might be hearing us!
SO: Crowds internationally and locally are constantly impressed with your live sets, including the range instruments you utilize on tour and way your music works so intricately, but where does it all come from? What inspires you guys to write and perform?
DS: We love to play. We love being in a band and we love to write songs! It’s what we do. we live and breath music really. Today at rehearsals we were all having a laugh as we have just had a break over Xmas and it was good to be back. I think our inspiration comes from all over the place. From other bands and musicians to life at home and the different places we travel to.
SO: How do you think your new music will be received on an international level? Do you think you’ll be welcomed with open arms when you go back and tour North America and Europe?
DS: We hope so. You never know what to expect really. We are excited to take our show on the road and hopefully that translates. We have a nice group of people working with us, so it feels like a good time.
SO: It seems like Boy & Bear are constantly on the road performing. Is it hard being away from home so much?
DS: You have your ups and downs like any thing really. Australia is a long way from everywhere else so it’s had to duck home when you need to. We have a good crew of people that travel with us which makes a difference as it feels like a great team. We do enjoy being on the road and look forward to each tour.
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SO: What’s the best part about being a touring act?
DS: The venues and the audiences. So many stories to tell and to be told. And a lot of history in these places. The wine and cheese varies soo much from place to place too!
SO: Any on-the-road antics you can tell us about or is it a matter of ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour’?
DS: The stuff that the band finds amusing is really a total bore to everyone else. We can be kinda silly. Sometimes the hardest thing is wiping the smile of your face when you get home.
SO: What has been your favourite gig so far, and why?
DS: I really enjoyed our show at Splendour in the Grass last year. We had a great spot and the Audience were fantastic and right there with us. Also, I got to see some great bands like The National!
SO: Is there anywhere in the world that you would like to perform, perhaps a key city or venue?
DS: I would love to tour South America and some places in Asia like Japan! I think it would be fascinating both as a tourist and a performer.
SO: You’ve toured with famous acts like Angus and Julia Stone and Mumford And Sons in the past. Who would your dream gig be with?
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SO: In terms of the band itself, is there a role each member takes on within Boy & Bear in terms of songwriting duties or taking on certain responsibilities to keep it well oiled?
DS: I think we all have our strengths which come forward naturally, and they seem to differ between us which makes for a fair creative playground. Same with live touring also.
SO: It seems just like yesterday that Boy & Bear were just some local Sydney band who were featured on Triple J’s Unearthed and now you’ve grown to become an iconic and accomplished act that is touring the globe. What has been the best part of the journey so far?
DS: The chance to make a 2nd album. We love to record and tour our music so the fact that people supported us to make another album is what it’s all about. It gives all the touring and hard work a real direction. Along the way we have met soo many great people and great musicians. I think music is amazing in this way.
SO: Any advice for new indie bands trying to make it big?
DS: Don’t try to make it! Do it because you enjoy making music and you enjoy learning along the way. Then the rest has a chance of growing into something.
SO: Wrapping up 2013 with a national tour of Australia, and welcoming the New Year with more news of extensive tours of Europe, America and Regional Australia, do you get much time to take a break and enjoy your success?
DS: We all had a few weeks break over Xmas and the new year. I think a lot of Beach and BBQ time was had by all!
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SO: Are you on social media? Where can fans keep up to date with what the band are up to?
SO: What else is on the calendar for Boy & Bear in 2014?
DS: UK, Europe, Nth America, Canada and Australia, and we can’t wait!
SO: Thanks for your time