If you haven't listened to Timberwolf's latest release 'Flux', then get onto it. The EP is deep, wonderfully crafted and a testament to the emotional involvement that Timberwolf puts into his music. To catch the new songs live, get along to Timberwolf's show at the Unibar Friday night!
To recap for Radelaide readers, you're hot off the back of performances at the Beer and BBQ Festival, a tour in New Zealand, Big Pineapple Festival and Groovin the Moo; along with your EP release. Your first show for the ‘Flux’ Tour was the 21st of August in Sydney, with an Adelaide show this Friday.
Knowing you're about to embark on this tour and that you’ll have a homecoming show on the 28th, would you say you feel more comfortable playing at home in Adelaide?
I would say so, especially when it's been quite a while between headline shows. It’s really exciting to see familiar faces in the crowd. At the same time there is a really cool feeling when you go interstate playing to completely foreign people. A lot of people haven’t seen you before, there's no judgement based on a lot of your friends who have known you for a long time. So really there’s benefits in both. To play to a familiar crowd is quite nostalgic, and quite emotional. There are huge positives to both, but there’s no better feeling than coming home after playing a tour and playing where it all started in a familiar venue.
We’ve also heard that you are beginning to work on your forthcoming debut album, with the help of Jake Miller from London’s Tile Yard studios. How was it working with him?
So we just did one song together, I was over in London playing guitar for my friend Jesse Davidson who was doing a few shows over there. Jake is actually a producer, so he produced, or probably co produced, with Jesse the EP that’s about to come out for him. While I was over in London with Jesse, Jake was mucking around with a bass and we thought, fuck it, we’ll record a song (I had a song ready to go). [We] just locked in [a song] together and produced it from start to finish. It was really cool to come home with a snapshot of that trip, a snapshot of the dynamic between Jake and I. It’s really exciting because the song is really a step forward; it’s a very progressive sound and blend between Jake's ideas and my ideas...
So hopefully that song will be included on the album that im working on at the moment. I’m not sure when it will be released but the mixing and stuff is close to being finished.
So we know you’ve recently returned from a New Zealand Tour (about 5 weeks ago). How was it and did you enjoy it?
Oh yeah it was really good. I think one of my favourite parts about playing as a solo artist is that I can play by myself, as a duo, with a bass player or even with a band. Over there I was playing as a duo with my Bass player, Dom Symes. Dom and I have a great musical history together and get along so well. We tackled all the New Zealand shows together, and it was really nice to strip some songs back and get to know them in their most basic form. But also Gin Wigmore, who we were supporting, pulls huge crowds everywhere we went. I think everywhere we played was sold out. You always feel really privileged to play with someone like that in a foreign place where no one knows your music, but you still get to play to a thousand people a show. New Zealand was beautiful too. I even went back recently to see a friend I made over there, so yeah really cool place.
We understand that you're also part of a separate gig - the Macaroons. Do you ever get asked to play Timberwolf songs as part of that duo?
Yeah all the time. [Laughs] I never do it.
Nah its a very different thing. So as an original creative outlet, Timberwolf is me, whereas the macaroons is really just a cover band. So Dom will sing sometimes, I will sometimes, it's just a huge laugh around town, you know. I’m a bit of a stickler on the whole like, if you want to see a Timberwolf show, it's gonna be a completely different ball game to Dom and I dancing around drunk on a stage playing shit covers of Fleetwood Mac songs. I'd much rather keep that what it is and keep Timberwolf separate. I mean, the amount of emotional investment I put in all of my own songs is a really different kettle of fish. If anyone wants to hear a Timberwolf song while I’m out at a gig, you're just not gonna hear it.
Alright well we’ll put the word out!
Yeah it’s a good warning! Mind you though, those cover gigs are fun, don’t get me wrong!
Although this can seem like a generic question we’d love to know where your passion for music came from and where it can be traced to... was it a family thing?
Yeah it is a family thing. I’ve got quite a musical family, especially on my Dad's side. My Yiayia (which is greek for grandmother) when she was younger, was actually a singer. My Bapou who's passed away now was a clarinet player. My Yiayia used to sing a lot of Greek blues when I was younger. I didn’t know what it was at first, I assumed it was some sort of a religious hymn or something. As I got older I realised it was blues, which was sweet to find out. My uncle, my dad, two of his other brothers all played guitar and they all taught themselves. Just through going to a lot of Uncle Nick’s shows, at Christmas he’d always whip out a guitar, I was just in awe. I think it was always a matter of time until I picked it up. I think I have the same genes as him in a sense cos I always play by ear and taught myself. I just fell in love with it when I was about 14 or 15, I’d played the saxophone before but through Dad and Uncle Nick I got really heavily into a lot of Crossroads, Dire Straits, Cream, Fleetwood Mac... and I just fell in love with that before I did anything else. Naturally I gravitated towards the electric guitar.
Given that you had such a prominent musical foundation in your family, did you ever experiment playing the Bouzouki? (Greek traditional Instrument)
I went straight to the guitar, but I’ve actually had a chat with dad in the last couple of weeks about how much I regret not doing that. I think I’m gonna go back and revisit it actually because it could be really cool to learn.
Yeah it’s an interesting instrument...
It’s such an interesting instrument, kind of like a Greek banjo. I would love to go back and learn it.
I think I even want to go back and learn more Greek as a language and listen to more Greek music and I don’t know, just take more from that. I don’t think I payed enough attention to it all when I was younger, I was caught up with all the sweet rock gods of the 70's and 60's. I think now though, to go back and rediscover where I’m from, where Dad is from and the heritage from all my greek influences would be really cool and quite fulfilling.
The thing is though, I’ve listened to a bit of old Greek music in the last few weeks. Man if it was in English and you removed an ethnic instrument from it, the melodies, the beats, all of the tempos, time signatures and chord structures are actually so beautiful and they’re quite contemporary. It’s really tasteful music and it’s great to draw inspiration from. I think it gets quite quickly pigeonholed as soon as you put a Greek spoken accent and a bouzouki in there. There’s a really nice combination between the string instruments and tempo. There’s a lot to learn in terms of their time signatures and time changes, so it could be really cool to go back over it.
We know you're good mates with Jesse Davidson. Do you two catch up often or is there any possibility you’ll work together in future?
[Laughs] it is what it is, I don’t really write with Jesse, I just play guitar for him so if he needs a guitarist on stage often he'll just call me up the day of the gig to say 'do you feel like playing a show tonight', so it’s very laid back. But yeah, we send each other demos and we swap opinions on the songs we're writing. We’re just good mates and hang out, there’s definitely nothing structured or rigid about it, it’s just if he needs a guitarist I’m around. If we want to share ideas for an opinion, he’s a great friend to have. He’s such a fucking talent, bit of a whiz kid, not to mention the fact that he’s actually a really nice person and really kind. A good friend to have.
Speaking to a lot of Adelaide artists, there seems to be an understanding that it can be harder to get your name or music out there, than if as an artist you originated from interstate. Have you found this to be the case?
I reckon initially maybe yes, and then there comes a point where through social media and the internet, you can really become successful. If you work hard enough you can put structures in place to achieve a broad audience pretty quickly for Adelaide. Then what I’ve found is where you start to fall a little bit, cos of a lot of the media and the industry folk seem to live in Sydney, the bands that play regularly over there are naturally accelerated because they are more exposed to those audiences more frequently. Also from Adelaide it does cost more to maintain regular touring and be seen frequently on the east coast especially. Initially I think you’re so able to create yourself an online presence and hit those people’s emails within a short period of time. But then I’ve found the kind of next phase is harder coming from Adelaide to really kick in the dick, because it's gonna cost you more and you’re going to have to make more frequent trips over there to keep up with a Melbourne or Sydney origin band. At the same time though, if you’re making good music and you are clever with your publicity and online strategies I think there’s no reason why you can’t go head to head with them. There’s a lot to offer.
As an Adelaide act are there any others that you are a fan of right now?
Yeah there’s one that comes straight to mind, Banjo Jackson. Banjo is, I would say in my opinion, the most honest, transparent and poetic lyricist in the state at the moment. He writes really beautiful songs. When he performs them live he wears his heart on his sleeve the whole gig, which is really endearing. The songs are incredible and he recently released an album, it was a self titled album, all tracked live at mix masters. The product is incredible so it’s really moving that the songs are great. He’s not commercial sounding at all, he’s not a triple j market at the moment, I don’t know what his direction is, but he has got a lot of potential in a really substantial long term sense. If you go to a Banjo gig, especially when he has the full band (sometimes I also play guitar for him as well), you walk away with that melted, connected feeling; almost different than before you started watching him play. I would definitely say if not one of my favourite Adelaide artists at the moment is Banjo Jackson, for sure.
Thank you for talking to us!
Thanks, it's been fun.
All Images via Timberwolf Music