Boy & Bear

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Boy and Bear will headline the first ever Summer Starter Music Festival in Tamworth on November 24. Lead singer and guitarist Tim explains why his band still chooses to play in regional Australia, as having 5 ARIAs under their belt, they could be playing anywhere in the world.

It’s been a whirlwind three years for you guys, hey …

Yeah, yeah it has been – it’s been pretty wild!

Just for some background info, where does the name Boy & Bear come from?

Well, unfortunately we’ve spent 3 years explaining it – and it’s not a pretty story! Ha ha … it’s not grubby or anything; it’s just that we really needed a name and … well … we used a band name generator on the internet!

So how did you five get together?

Three of us went to uni together. We were all playing in different bands supporting each other, and my brother, who’s the keyboard player, played in my band and I was the singer and guitarist and Jake, who’s our bass player, had played in a band with one of our managers and he’d gone to uni with Dave, Killian and myself … which sounds a bit convoluted, but in some weird, miraculous way, we morphed into one band in the end.

We came in to play in Dave’s solo project but once we started writing together, Dave was like: “This is a band; it’s not a solo project”. And that was when we started writing the EP.

Once you started playing live gigs and jamming together, at what point did you realise you might be onto something big?

It was a really great environment for me to work with. I’d worked with a lot of wan*ers growing up … like my way or the highway, and all of a sudden I was working with people who were not only really talented, but also really great people and really respectful. So, I was like I didn’t really care where this goes – it’s just such a great environment to work in. For a musician, the pinnacle is to be able to be a creative as you can, and then one day someone to notice it and maybe give you a show – and we were fortunate enough to run that gauntlet.

Tell us a little about life on the road.

We’re fortunate enough in Australia to have a really great crew, so on the road we’ll get to a city and the crew will go down and start getting the set ready … while we get to be lazy (laughs)!

So we’ll go out and get to see a little bit of the city. We get down to sound check at about 3pm in the afternoon and make sure everything is going right and work on all the vocals.

From there, the two support bands usually roll in; they’ll be on the sound check too, then we do the show, and we have a little bit of an afters (party) … but we’re not a big party band, and we’re usually back in the hotel within an hour and a half of finishing the show.

Then we get underway to the next place. We’re getting old, we’re not very Rock and Roll at all (laughs)!

You could play anywhere: why regional Australia?

Last year went really well for us, quite unexpectedly and our idea was that normally when this happens, bands head straight overseas and tend to forget Australia and the Australian regional markets. For us, while overseas is a priority, our biggest priority is Australia and connecting regionally in Australia, and that is something we have wanted to do for some time.

We have kept the ticket price low, ‘cause you know, when we were at uni and we were those kids, if we wanted to go see a show and the band had got a little bit too big for their boots and were jacking up the price, then you couldn’t really afford it. So we just tried to make a tour so that anyone who wants to come can come. Hopefully even for those who are a bit far from capital cities, they can still come and have a beer and enjoy the night out.

You picked up 5 ARIA awards last year – a great nod from the marketplace. How has it propelled you forward?

For us, it was unexpected, really unexpected, and we had already been planning the next record. The thing I really love about Boy & Bear is that mutual respect in terms of our creative vision, and the favourite part for us is to be able to create new songs and play them live for people, so we’ve been doing that.

The ARIAs were really lovely and it’s great to be recognised by people; I think that that is something a lot of musicians deserve, but don’t always receive. I am not sure we deserved it, but we were very humbled by the fact that we were recognised. I don’t think you can rest on that, and we are onto the next record now and writing that at the moment. And that’s why (on the tour) we’ll start to play some new songs live and see how the audiences respond to them.

Thanks Tim; see you at the Summer Starter Music Fest.

About the Summer Starter Music Festival.

The breakthrough festival will feature APRA Song of the Year winners, Boy and Bear, two time ARIA Award winner Josh Pyke, ARIA nominees, Bluejuice and great Aussie favourites, Stonefield and Loon Lake.

The Summer Starter Music Festival will kick off festival season, giving fans a unique opportunity to enjoy an up close and personal experience with some of their favourite artists.

Festival goers can expect a casual, relaxed experience and when the sun set over Tamworth, the temperature is set to rise, as the star studded lineup unfolds.

In addition, the Summer Starter Music Festival will host the first ‘Harvest an Artist’ competition, where two talented local artists will be chosen to perform on the day.

Event organiser Sam Scott says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for a regional centre to develop an identity as host of a range of different musicians and music styles”.

This story was published in issue 65 of the New England Focus

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