Trial Kennedy

on in Interviews


Trial Kennedy

Trial Kennedy are about to hit the road in support of their new album Living Undesigned. To say it’s been quite a journey for the band to date is an understatement. Two years ago, the Melbourne rock outfit were perched at the edge of something big. After two killer EPs (2004’s Present for a Day and 2005’s Picture Frame), their Nick DiDia-produced debut album, New Manic Art, was garnering the sort of critical acclaim every band aspires to. Songs such as ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Colour Day Tours’ became instant Triple J anthems. However a run of challenges from being dropped by their label, to losing a band member and others having a serious fall off ladders saw the band retreat in to the shadows while they regrouped. However, as Nikki Williams found out, they’re back fighting fit and ready to hit the road.

Firstly can you tell us a little about how the band formed and when your first big break was?

Trial Kennedy has been around for a few years, the first release was in 2004, which was an EP, called Present for a Day, then another in 2008 called New Manic Art which was put out through Sony.  And now in May, we’re about to release Living Undesigned, our most recent album. So really, it’s just full guns blazin’.

Must be pretty damn exciting to have another album coming out then?

Yeah it really is – I mean a record for a band is years of work put into ten songs.  All the hours of rehearsing and spending time going back and forth in the studio and you get forty minutes worth of a record. So at the end of the day, that record is your baby in a way.

On that note then, if you’re spending so much time working on the same tracks, do you ever get sick of hearing them?

I don’t like showing people the tracks, it makes me feel weird. If I give them the record, I can’t be around them when they listen to it. But then again, hearing a Trial Kennedy track on the radio for the first time always gives you a bit of a churn in the tummy. You know, you feel cool about it. But it’s like anything, once it’s played to death, you just want some distance from it.

What was the transition like going from an independent band doing most things for yourself to working with record labels, A&R and other music business officials?

Well the way we got into it wasn’t actually through an independent label through to a major record label like Sony, we were led through a bit of a side door. You know, we were sort of warmed in through a development deal and then on what was called Red Label around the same time. It had it’s own sort of aesthetic and generally a very chilled out vibe. Then when we released the first EP, it was a bit of a full frontal. But we definitely made some great contacts through that and even though we’re no longer with Sony, it was a great stage in our careers, both thanks to positive and negative experiences and after all, it’s the reason why we are where we are now.

Was it ever a little surreal then?

I think everything you do in a band after a certain point is a little surreal. I mean sometimes you could be playing a gig and you have this moment where you think, “I’m not here”, haha. The same thing happens in the studio, sometimes you wonder if these things in your career are actually happening. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing gigs or how long you’ve been making music, after a while everything seems surreal. I think its just humility; you have to always have that humble side even if it means pinching yourself every now and again. If you don’t you’re a wanker.

So just keep it real, yeah?

Haha, that’s right, keep it real.

What advice can you give bands that are up and coming?

I think the best advice would be to align yourself with good people who have good morals. I mean managers, booking agents and other bands you tour with and people who do your merch and stuff, you get a vibe off. So make sure you align yourself with positive people. You know, there are a lot of snakes out there.

Have you personally come across these so-called “snakes”?

Yeah, you see them – I mean you have to fish them out. I think it’s just part of the world we live in, in business that is. People have to be aware that the Music Industry is a business and you have to not only be good at what you do but also be able to wear your business hat. Another thing actually, don’t try and be a second rate version of another band. Try and strive to be your own band

And since then what has been you own personal highlight in the Trial Kennedy’s journey?

I have to say going to America was a personal highlight just because it was an amazing experience. But also recording this new record and the process you go through to actually completing it and reaching that landmark. It’s an awesome feeling.

Have you ever been star struck?

Not really, I think Australian bands particularly are just really down to earth people. They’re just like you and I, but they happen to play in a band. I’d say 99.999% of Australian bands are the most down to earth people you’ll ever meet.  Sometimes you might meet someone who you think will be an absolute knob, but even someone like Dave Grohl who I personally look up to, I think he would be an absolute champion to meet. He’d be just like one of the boys!

Do you know anything about a strange encounter that Tim Morrison from Trial Kennedy had with a kangaroo?

Oh hang on, wasn’t it a crocodile. Oh no, maybe it was a kangaroo. That’s right a kangaroo and an ATM. Pretty much he was waiting to use an ATM and this tagged kangaroo came up and hit him. I’m sure it hurt a hell of a lot but the story is still pretty funny to retell.

What’s the best story you have about being on tour?

Well we do all the usual boy sort of stuff. Wait until people are asleep, draw on their face, tie people’s shoelaces together. It’s just like going on a road trip with mates. But it’s not all easy stuff, I mean going to bed at 4am and getting up at 6am to start driving towards the next town isn’t easy work. And going back to the other question, I guess that’s why people in the Music Industry are so down to earth; because they’re worked so hard. The prima donnas get weeded out.

How would you describe the Melbourne music scene and how has it changed in the past 10 years?

Well I guess Melbourne has always been a hub, mainly because we’ve always had so many venues and so many bands. I must say, Melbourne is probably the hardest show to play in Australia because Melbournians see so much music, so when they come to a show, most of them to begin with will stand their, arms folded, maybe nodding their head if you’re lucky. If you go to Adelaide or Perth though, they just go crazy. The other thing is that the music scene has maintained its standard in Melbourne, where as Sydney has become more of an industry and less focus is put on the music.

Do you think it’s a good thing for a new band to start off in Melbourne then?

Yeah! I mean there’s such an abundance of venues in Melbourne who emerging bands can apply to gig at. You can compare East Brunswick Club with Northcote, then The Espy with Cherry Bar and I can safely say they’re all very different venues. But the one thing that remains with all of them is that they are all dedicated to housing good live music.

Describe a typical Trial Kennedy fan.

Ahhhh, shit. That is a hard one. I think if I knew the answer to this question, I’d be pretty damn well off. I mean the other day I was having a think about Pete Townsend from The Who. Now the reason they were so popular was because they were a mirror of their fans. So the people who loved The Who would dress like The Who, act like The Who and it became almost a cult. What we try to put out is something unlike every other band, but still something that is still familiar. I must say a lot of people who come to our gigs are musicians, but they don’t all listen to one particular genre. It’s usually a pretty diverse crowd.

What’s your best hang over cure? I’m pretty sure I need one right about now…

There’s only ever been one hang over cure. Two Litres of water, a strong coffee and then another beer. That’s simply because your brain is dehydrated, so the water will rehydrate you, the coffee will get the blood flowing to your brain again and the beer, well that’s just to top it off.

What can Trial Kennedy fans expect from this upcoming tour?

Some of the old stuff, some of the new stuff and some new tricks. We have a new bass player and also an extra member for this tour, Hayden who also mixed this latest album.

And finally a little about the about to be released album Living Undesigned. What’s special about this album?

I think this record is a snapshot of a moment of time. I look at my favourite records of all time, you know, Jeff Buckley and stuff and it has a timeless appeal to it and that’s what you strive for. It’s ten songs, which sum up Trial Kennedy and our career. They’re all very different, and there’s something for everyone – the rockers and the chillers. I think it’s a record that you can listen to from start to finish and go, shit I want to listen to that again. But at the end of the day it’s up to the fans that listen to it and whether they give the thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s out of my hands now…

Living Undesigned is out May 13th and the tour kicks off the next day!

Friday, 13th May.  Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au & Oztix outlets.

Saturday, 14th May.  Pelly Bar, Frankston

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net , Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets and from the bar at Pier Hotel,  phonecharge 03 9783 7311  or www.pierlive.com.au

Thursday, 19th May.  Wollongong City Diggers, Wollongong

with Numbers Radio

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets and from the Venue Ph (02) 4228 8522.

Friday, 20th May.  The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle

with Numbers Radio

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets, Moshtix phonecharge 1300 438 849, www.moshtix.com.au, Moshtix outlets.

Saturday, 21st May.  The Annandale, Sydney

with Numbers Radio

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets and from the Venue phonecharge 02 9550 1078 or www.annandalehotel.com

Friday, 27th May.   The Zoo, Brisbane

with Numbers Radio

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au & Oztix outlets.

Saturday, 28th May.  Miami Tavern, Gold Coast

with Numbers Radio

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au & Oztix outlets, www.Ticketek.com.au, phonecharge 132 849 & all Ticketek outlets.

Thursday, 2nd June.  Prince of Wales, Bunbury

with Wolves

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets and from Heatseeker phonecharge 08 6210 2850  or www.heatseeker.com.au and all Heatseeker outlets.

Friday, 3rd June.  Amplifier, Perth

with Wolves

Tickets on sale from Moshtix phonecharge 1300 438 849, www.moshtix.com.au, Moshtix outlets. tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au & Oztix outlets. Heatseeker phonecharge 08 6210 2850, www.heatseeker.com.au & all Heatseeker outlets.

Saturday, 4th June.  Jive Bar, Adelaide

Tickets on sale from Moshtix phonecharge 1300 438 849, www.moshtix.com.au, Moshtix outlets. tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets.

Sunday. 12th June.  Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully

Tickets on sale from the Venue Box Office: Ferntree Gully Hotel, phonecharge 03 9758 6544 or www.ferntreegullyhotel.com.au

Friday, 17th June.  Granada Tavern, Hobart

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net, Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au, Oztix outlets and from the Venue Ph (03) 6249 1100

Saturday, 18th June.  Hotel New York, Launceston

Tickets on sale from tickets.newworldartists.net , Oztix phonecharge 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au & Oztix outlets


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