Boy & Bear’s Har­lequin dream­ing

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS - – JES­SICA HUX­LEY

SOLD-OUT shows, more ARIA nom­i­na­tions and a new bass player – it’s been a big year for Syd­ney band Boy & Bear.

The indie five-piece bring songs from their lat­est re­lease, Har­lequin Dream, to the Coolan­gatta Ho­tel tomorrow night.

Key­board and banjo player Jon Hart says the new ma­te­rial sits well with songs from Boy & Bear’s 2011s ARIAwin­ning de­but Moon­fire in the band’s live set.

‘‘I don’t think it was a mas­sive de­par­ture from our first record – it’s more just an evo­lu­tion from where we were,’’ he says. ‘‘It hasn’t been a com­plete air-swing. ‘‘As a band we try to bring the feel from the record and get as close to the sound as we can, but to some ex­tent we also bring a lit­tle bit more en­ergy – even re­strained en­ergy – when we play live.

‘‘We def­i­nitely bring some­thing more from our per­son­al­i­ties to it.’’

Re­leased in Au­gust, Har­lequin Dream has earned the band ARIA nom­i­na­tions for best group and best rock al­bum, while pro­ducer Wayne Con­nolly was also nom­i­nated for best pro­ducer for his work on the al­bum.

Hart says he and his band­mates are most proud of the record’s sound.

‘‘I don’t think it was a deliberate thing to make this record sound more Aus­tralian or any­thing, but be­ing here and be­ing able to sleep in our own beds at night dur­ing the record­ing process prob­a­bly makes the al­bum sound a bit more like home,’’ he says.

‘‘We didn’t have that feel­ing of be­ing in a big stu­dio in another coun­try, which gave it more of a unique feel. While our first record had a real in­ter­na­tional feel, this one feels more like an Aussie one that we can show­case to the world.

‘‘‘I didn’t play man­dolin at all on this record so it only comes out on stage when we play the older tunes.’’

Boy & Bear wel­comed new mem­ber Dave Symes this year af­ter part­ing ways am­i­ca­bly with orig­i­nal bass player Jake Tarasenko.

‘‘It’s been a re­ally dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence bring­ing some­one in, but hon­estly he’s prob­a­bly the most ta­lented mu­si­cian of all of us,’’ Hart says.

‘‘He has a back­ground in jazz and even though that genre isn’t re­ally nec­es­sary in our mu­sic, it re­ally gives him the abil­ity to stretch out into gen­res and sounds we pre­vi­ously didn’t in­cor­po­rate.

‘‘It’s been good to bring some­body in with such a rich mu­si­cal his­tory.

‘‘It’s been tough per­son­ally say­ing good­bye to Jake though as we’re still mates and he was the one I used to share a room with, so it’s been a bit of a change par­tic­u­larly now that we’re on tour.

‘‘He han­dled him­self and the sit­u­a­tion re­ally well though, be­cause he knew this band wasn’t a long-term thing for him.

‘‘In some ways we were a fam­ily be­cause you go through so much to­gether, but I think we have come out of it a lot bet­ter than most other bands do.’’

Hart says he’s been over­whelmed by the sup­port of fans on the band’s na­tional al­bum tour.

‘‘It has been a real shock that our venues have been sell­ing out. It’s a pleas­ant sur­prise and with it comes a lit­tle bit of ner­vous­ness,’’ he says.

‘‘We’ve never been good at try­ing to guess what our au­di­ences want. We’re just stoked they keep en­joy­ing what we’ve been putting out.

‘‘Be­ing played on the ra­dio is nice, but it re­ally about live per­for­mances and fes­ti­vals and see­ing how peo­ple are re­spond­ing in per­son – whether they are re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion and drawn in.’’

Boy & Bear play the Beach Ho­tel, in By­ron Bay, tonight and the Coolan­gatta Ho­tel tomorrow night.

Syd­ney band Boy & Bear land on the Coast this weekend as part of their Har­lequin Dream al­bum tour

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