Albany Advertiser reporter Saskia Adysti caught up with John Butler ahead of his band’s show at Wignalls Wines in January
It’s been a few years since we’ve had you in Albany.
Are you looking forward to being back here? I love Albany. I love the whole South West region. It’s a wild part of the world. You’re on the doorstep of a well-loved beautiful country out there. Will you get a chance to enjoy our coast and forest while you’re here? I would love to, but I don’t think so.
I’m usually only in town for a concert for less than 24 hours. I won’t be able to this time, but I often visit some friends who live down there so I would be able to next time. How has the music industry changed throughout your career? The industry has changed so much overthe years and you probably are aware of it, too.
We went from a cassette world, into a CD world to an MP3 world to a streaming world and that only happened in about a decade, so it’s a bit hard to keep up with that kind of change.
But at the end of the day, it’s always about one thing, and it’s about the song and that’s what people want to listen to.
I think that’s what the industry always has to remember, we are here to provide music for our listeners the way they want to listen to it.
And I think the record company in particular really forgot about that.
The thing is, people are willing to pay for music, but they just need it to be easily accessed. Is it easier or harder for new acts to break into the industry? Well, it’s a little bit of both. I think there are so many bands and so much more information out there and it’s hard to get people’s attention.
It was really hard 20 years ago, too, because it cost a lot of money to promote your music. Nowadays, you don’t have to spend to advertise your music, but there is a lot more content out there, so it’s really hard to get people to pay attention. But when you do have some success and you do have a song that’s popular, it can go viral and that never really happened before. Yeah, songs went viral in the past, but it always goes through radio and record companies and now things can go global in such a different and bigger way.
So there has been some benefits with the changes in the industry, but it’s still tricky to break through the noise. You’re playing with Melbourne artist Missy Higgins and our very own Carla Geneve. Is that an exciting prospect? I’m looking forward to that.
It’s always a pleasure to work with good people and great musicians. WA continues its ability to incubate acts such as yourself, Jebediah, Eskimo Joe and Tame Impala. What is it about WA that helps musicians create such interesting music? I don’t know if it’s any better or any worse than any other part of the world. But a lot of us, we’re surrounded by so much beautiful country and nature and we’re touched by it in a way. You can definitely feel it. Most Australian artists have that sense of feeling in one way or another. Tells us a bit about your new album Home and the themes and creation process? This album is a lot about soul-searching.
It’s a lot about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a flawed human being and somebody who is not perfect — the human that is dealing within all of the complexities the world has to offer.
For me writing a song or making an album is always like a journal entry.
I’m always processing how I feel about being a man and a human in this planet. Every album and every song is kind of different and they demand a certain kind of presence from you.
I think they are like children in a way that they demand you to be completely there for them 100 per cent.
These songs push you to new places.
John Bu tler is heading to Albany for a concert with Missy Higgins and Carla Geneve in January.