MUSIC INTERVIEW: West Thebarton
Following on from their brilliant set at Reading Festival, we caught up with Brian Bolado from West Thebarton to talk the UK vs Australia, live shows and what’s next to come for the band.
This was your first Reading Festival and you had a really great crowd over on the BBC Radio 1 Stage, how was it for you?
Really good. I mean we travelled 41 hours from hemisphere to hemisphere to play a show and to get that kind of reception is really humbling. We’re not so starry-eyed and expect the best rider or the best reception when we get here. For people to come from wherever they are in the UK to watch us is really humbling. We’re really stoked to have that kind of reception now we’re in the UK.
How are you finding the response over here compared to the response in Australia?
It was a little bit different. Obviously, we were born and bred in Australia, we’re from Adelaide so we built the crowd and the kind of shows we had there. Then we took it touring around, it’s a little more subdued over here and the press is a little bit more receptive over there. I guess it’s almost like starting afresh, except you’re starting afresh as a band who have a bit more chops. You know what it’s like to play a good show so we’re putting on these really energetic shows which we do back home. The crowd here are just getting used to it and probably aren’t used to our sound as much as over there.
You’ve recently released your album Different Beings Being Different, can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
We’ve been in a couple of different bands before and ended up coming together to bring our own songs and our own ideas together and see what came out. With the record, we took a little bit more time to put some emphasis on the songs we’re putting out such as the dynamics and the lyricism and the playing. Just to make sure that at the same time we captured something that was representative of what we’re like as a live band. Ray is the chief lyricist of the band and he’s really good at telling a story in his own way. It’s not like two dimensional it’s straight in the heart.
What would be your favourite song from the album?
I think there are different songs in terms of we have a favourite to play live, a favourite we’ve written and a song that means the most to us. For me, I think that mine personally is Set It Straight which is the last song on the record and it’s just a bit more of a down-tempo song with some brushes to Australia in it too. I think it’s Ray’s best song lyrically and he really makes the most of four guitars and the dynamism and puts his trust in the guitars.
Let’s be honest the stage size today must have been a dream for you…
Festivals are like a real blessing in terms of the space. We do have that space to run around and that kind of thing but I think it’s great because it’s something we don’t get to do often. Going to a festival is a rare thing for some people, they have to save a lot of money to go, they fork it out and do the camping. It’s not glamorous but seeing a band on a big stage can sometimes be a rare thing. Equally as special is seeing a band on a small stage and that’s what it’s almost like when we’re playing shows in Europe. Some people aren’t familiar to us so we’ve got to work really hard to win them over. It’s great to be on a big stage but we relish being on a small stage too. We played a show in Exeter and the stage was end to end like no longer than 5 by 3 metres. You could have laid down and put your arms out with not much room left but that’s alright. We’ve got some kind of fifth sense of knowing where a guitar is so we don’t run in to someone. We’re good at that.
You’ve just done a run of UK shows, how have they been and compared to the home country Australian ones?
Naturally, in that respect, we’ve toured Australia a lot more and the fans are more receptive as they know the songs a little bit better. It’s kind of the same here. The first tour over here is a bit different to our tour in Australia. Fans here seem to be taking to the music a lot better. I think there’s a bit to be said about the 4-5 years we had in Australia and the growth of streaming services and things like that. It’s a blessing for any band that plays in one hemisphere then goes to the other to play as you get to go over with the gift which is streaming services. There are no barriers to accessing music on the other side of the world, it can be accessed cheaply and I can go to a record store to buy it. That’s one of the really good things I’ve had over here. We played at Boardmasters in the UK, we’re playing Reading and Leeds, Belgium. We had pretty big crowds too. We’re from the hottest country in the world and we go to the same pubs every weekend, we see each other every weekend and the same cafes and restaurants, play the same places over and over. It’s really humbling here.
We’re here at Reading Festival, what would be your festival anthem?
Erm, that’s a really good one. Er. A few of us in the band are kind of Gallagher brothers fans so I guess any big single or deep cut from the Oasis back catalogue would be a good one. I really like Morning Glory, a few of the other guys like other songs.
Last but not least, what other plans do you have for 2018 and 2019?
I guess short term we’re going to go back to Australia and play a few dates. We’re playing with a band called The Living End who’s like a pretty stable rockabilly band in Australia. We’re big fans of them. At the end of the year we’ll be playing a few more festivals and next year I think we’ll probably be releasing some new music, touring Australia. I wouldn’t be surprised and we’re really hoping to come back to play UK and Europe. The whole UK/Europe festival and culture of shows is really great, everyone’s really warm and welcoming and we’ve loved the last few weeks.
Interview by: Nicola Craig