Instrumental rock outfit SOLKYRI are back from their first ever tour of Europe and launching their second album ‘Sad Boys Club’ with shows in Australia – kicking off tomorrow at Spectrum in Sydney alongside SEIMS and Troldhaugen.
Their upbeat, expansive approach to post-rock has seen them hit some significant milestones ahead of the new album release, including supports for 65daysofstatic (UK) and Vampillia (JPN) as well as performing at Belgium’s DUNK Festival and touring with Perth’s TANGLED THOUGHTS OF LEAVING around the continent.
I caught up with bassist/frontman Andrew Pearsall just after their return home to see where things are at for them and what we can expect from the upcoming show.
Welcome back to Australia – you’ve just finished your first ever European tour, how does it feel to be home?
Horrible. I’m back at work and I would much rather be playing a show in Vienna to 6 people.
You toured with Perth heavy instrumentalists Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, how was the dynamic on the road with them?
We love Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving (and Piggsy Anu). They actually understand us and are happy to drink with you till 4:30am in the morning. I think we spent more time kicking a footy around than playing music in Europe. We really want to play with them on their Australian tour but our manager thinks that is a really bad idea.
Playing Dunk Festival in Belgium seems to be the home of post-rock in Europe and an entry point for many great bands abroad (sleepmakeswaves, Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, Kerretta). What was the atmosphere like? How do the bands there stack up compared to here?
It was really surreal. We were treated like royalty and that was weird because no one really cares about us back home in Australia. We’ve never played to over 100 people before and to take the stage to 500 enthusiastic punters was something that I will never forget. Maybe they thought we were Doomina after all (note: Solkyri were moved up the billing order due to another act withdrawing).
I didn’t get a chance to catch any local acts. I was too busy networking backstage. And by networking I mean getting deep into some Belgian turps.
Your new album ‘Sad Boys Club’ came out recently and has already received some radio airplay on places like triple j and Double J as well as some great reviews. How do you feel the response has been so far?
It’s great to receive the support from Triple J. But some other stations are not playing it this time. So I guess you win some and you lose some. A large majority of people still think we fit into that stereotypical post-rock sound which is not only incorrect but rather disheartening.
For this album you returned to work with Dax Liniere who also produced and engineered Are You My Brother? (2013). Was the process much different this time?
There was more of a focus on trying to replicate the energy we have live on stage. So out went the lush ambient tones in favour of some good ol’ rock n’ roll distortion.
New guitarist Ryan Fitz-Henry isn’t really new so more, having been in the band for nearly a year at this point. Do you feel your group dynamic will change and evolve further or is this it for now?
I sure hope so. If not we should really consider why we are doing this.
Your first shows back in Australia to launch the new album are coming up in Sydney and Melbourne. What can we expect from the set list now that you have 3 releases under your belt?
We are going to be playing the best songs from those three releases. So we really need to figure out what we are going to do for the other 30 minutes of the set.
One of our video highlights was your ice cream fight video for ‘Hunter’ off the last record. Do you have any plans to make a new clip for any songs off this record on a shoestring budget?
I felt we hit our peak with that video. There are no plans for anything in the foreseeable future. I want to film my dog running through a maze. Yeah, let’s do that.
OK because this is a prog site – what’s your view on how progressive a band like Solkyri might be perceived? In many ways you’re using odd timings, interesting instrumentation and melodies that might be akin to the classic. But there aren’t lyrics about wizards or any capes to be seen. Is modern prog a relevant term for the band?
I would much rather read books about mathematics and coding than listen to prog music.
Rush or Dream Theater?
I despise Dream Theater so Rush on default.
Rick Wakeman or Jordan Rudess?
Yes or The Mars Volta?
I actually love both of these bands. But I will say The Mars Volta because I have had the honour of seeing them peform live 6 or 7 times.
Finally, give us Solkyri’s top tips for touring Europe.
- Don’t whinge and complain.
- Don’t panic when everything goes wrong.
CATCH SOLKYRI LIVE AT THE FOLLOWING SHOWS
Friday June 19 @ Spectrum, Sydney w/SEIMS + Troldhaugen
Saturday July 4 @ Workers Club, Melbourne w/Kettlespider + Myyth
+ more dates to be announced (see facebook event)
‘Sad Boys Club’ is out now through Bird’s Robe Records/MGM – listen here