It’s release week for Hunting Grounds who unleash of their debut album ‘In Hindsight‘ this Friday. You’ll have a few weeks to digest it before they head out on tour to launch it around the country. We caught up with Michael from the band this week in The Hoseat. Expand this post to take a read of his answers and a re-cap of their tour dates. Order your copy of the album are available [Here].
Hometown is best known for: The gold rush in the 1850′s. Go check out Sovereign Hill, best pies of all time.
Best venue in your hometown: Karova Lounge; the only real venue. The others try every now and then to put a gig on, one of them even calls themselves ‘Ballarat’s home of live music’ or something like that, but the truth is they all fail. Karova’s been around for ages and every good band that comes through here plays there. Pretty much the reason we were able to become a live band is because of the dude who started it, the late and great Paddy O’Driscoll let us play gigs there from an early age. He’s a god in our town. There wouldn’t be a Yacht Club or Gold Fields without him either.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown: Vasco Era when they were on their first album tour. The place was fucking packed to the point that people were forced to stand on the stage. Girl Talk was another great one.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown: Probably the show we played in 2010 when we were on a tour with Yacht Club and DZ Deathrays. It was wild from the beginning; I’ve never stepped into a more energetic room.
How did the band first come to exist? We originally started in early High School when a teacher of ours asked us to play a cover at year 8 assembly. It was only Tim, Daniel and I back then but soon enough Lachlan joined as well. It wasn’t until we were about 15-16 that the full band was assembled. I met John when we both worked at McDonald’s together and Galen was always this renowned pianist, so he was an obvious choice.
How long has the band been going? We’ve been a complete sextet for about 5 years.
Any particular story behind the name? Happy Hunting Grounds is a type of heaven.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… We’re about to release our debut album ‘In Hindsight’ on July 6th. We spent about a year or so (all of 2011) writing it and recorded it in February at Red Door Sounds in Collingwood with our producer/mastermind Woody Annison. We did the album with Woody as we’ve worked with him before and we all just seem to click. He really had some unbelievable ideas for the sound of the record and everyone sort of just rolled with it. We were very open to change and it’s pretty obvious when you listen to the album. Although the songs were very different from our earlier stuff when we brought them in, they left with such a new life. It was a pretty amazing experience listening to the album in full, in the control room, when it was completely finished.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Probably playing Golden Plains, it’s my favourite festival on earth so to play there was mind blowing.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? A family friend of ours, James Remington, came over to our house with some shitty rip off Strat and a Behringer V-Amp pedal and played, what seemed like to me, the greatest guitar solo of all time. I got him to teach me a song, I think it was the Mission Impossible theme song, and basically from then on, I was in love with it. I’d played drums on and off but never really stuck to anything.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? I saw this in every interview, but Grace by Jeff Buckley would have to be a major influence on me, not only in songwriting but as a person. I love Buckley’s use of chords and the way he structures his songs, it’s such a journey, you can never remember how it began. I love pop songs that by the end you can’t remember how it started.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Sound Rape… we were terrible as you can tell.
Most prized music related item you own? My Danelectro. It’s not the best guitar I own, and it’s not in the best condition (I broke the neck once accidentally), but when I left guitar lessons when I was younger my guitar teacher always told me, when he was ready to sell his Dan i’d be the first person he called. We were on tour with Philadelphia Grand Jury in Tasmania a few years ago and the guitar I was using at the time completely broke on stage. When I got back to Ballarat I got a call from him offering it to me, then a few days later I got a royalty cheque to pay for it. It was fate haha.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Honestly, making music. It’s all I ever really do. I’ve been making music recently under the name Record Attempts and putting it online just for fun, and I’m also in a duo called Twinsy. Apart from that I hang out with friends, and just do normal stuff.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… The last night at home in bed.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… If we’re driving somewhere, driving somewhere. But really I love everything about touring, to the point were I end up really bummed out after we finish. I get home and think to myself ‘what the fuck do I do now?’.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Beers I guess, we’re not really that picky. Although it is awesome when you get a lot of everything, however vodka is always dangerous before going on stage.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? I always love going to Brisbane because all of our friends are there, for some reason we have this great friendship with a lot of Brisbane bands our age, DZ, Last Dinos, Dune Rats, The Cairos, Gung Ho etc so it’s always nice to go there and see friends. I do love going to Perth and Adelaide as well, you always seem to get treated the best there. I felt like a fucking king last time we played in Perth, everyone was so nice.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Maybe the Grand Prix, only cause we had our friend, and genius guitar tech, Alex Nicoli teching for us so we were able to do the rock star thing and just walk on stage to a few thousand people. Another would be Yacht Club and DZ at the Prince where Shane from DZ smashed his guitar on his head and a few of us ran on and played an epicly heavy version of Beautiful Day while everyone else in the bands crowd surfed. That was messy..
Got a favourite song to play live? Maybe a new track off our album ‘Liquid Air’, it’s just so energetic.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? I’ve fallen over a few times but nothing to crazy comes to mind.
Any pre-show rituals? Not really, we tried doing one of those stereotypical band huddles once and played one of the worst shows we ever have.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Eating.
Last song you listened to? For Now – Twin Shadow, it’s playing right now.
Last album you acquired? Sebastien Tellier – My God Is Blue
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? I’ve been getting into the new St. Vincent album a lot lately.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Gung Ho, go listen to Twin Rays.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Our album comes out and we tour it in August.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? OK Computer, only cause it’d be such a challenge to do it well. Or Brown Sugar by D’angelo, which would be even harder than OK Computer.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Radiohead, or Skrillex cause it’d be hilarious.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Pink Floyd
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? Ever since I saw The Strokes in 2006 the dream has been Festival Hall.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Again Radiohead.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Gung Ho and Dark Arts.
Got any final words? Our album comes out July 6th. You can enter to win tickets to our secret invite only album launch in Melbourne via our Facebook which is happening July 12th. Buy tickets to our tour.
HUNTING GROUNDS – In Hindsight
Available Friday July 6th
Order your copy now [Here] with free postage.
With Guests GUNG HO (* = Not Appearing)
3rd – Elsewhere Bar, Gold Coast [18+]
4th – X and Y Bar, Brisbane [18+]
5th – The Hotel Great Northern, Byron Bay [18+]
8th – Plantation, Coffs Harbour [18+]
9th – Yours and Owls, Wollongong [18+]
10th – Good God Small Club, Sydney [18+]
11th – Transit Bar, Canberra [18+]
16th – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury [18+] *
17th – Amplifier, Perth [18+] *
18th – Rocket Bar, Adelaide [18+] *
24th – Karova Lounge, Ballarat [18+]
25th – The Toff in Town, Melbourne [18+]