Bands making their name in Sydney, by nature of their environment, have to have a tireless spirit and a penchant for hard work. Safe to say, Sydney based quintet Bad Pony have both these qualities in spades. They just don’t stop! From independently releasing three self-produced singles and their debut EP ‘Limbo’ with national radio success to playing festivals including Music Matters Singapore, Canadian Music Week and three national tours, Bad Pony are showing no signs of slowing down. After inking a publishing deal with Perfect Pitch Publishing as well as a booking deal with 123 Agency in 2016, the band has their sophomore EP, ‘Deficiency’ in the works to ensure 2017 as the biggest year for the band yet.
With the band’s praises being sung by multiple Triple J presenters and critics including Rolling Stone Magazine, they recently returned from a national headlining tour with promises of more live shows to follow later in the year. We recently had a chat with the guys about life on the road and their creative process. This is Bad Pony’s Savvy Seven.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
I started off as a drummer. Sam, Mark and I played in a bluesy riffy rock band called Lovers Jump Creek for about 4-5 years before Bad Pony. Sam and I started writing music together at the end of 2012 and our first single got picked up by a touring company who recruited us for a month long tour of high schools. I’d never toured as a vocalist before that, so it was a really amazing start for me to get comfortable with my voice and get out from behind a drum kit.
What advice do you have for someone who is planning and setting off on their first tour?
Plan well, set up lots of media activities, sort out your backline, build rapport with venues, soundies and bands. Most importantly though; have fun, see lots of music and experience and discover the shit out of new places. The most amazing thing about being a musician for me is the places I’ve been able to see and the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
I think the first show that hit me in the feels was when we had our single launch for ‘Bottles’ at Newtown Social Club (RIP) and the room was full of strangers singing the words to all of our songs. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.
How has the way you make music changed over time?
We’ve just started trying to be more inclusive and all pitch in to the writing process instead of it just being Sam and myself. I think it will be a much healthier and productive way to create and also to co-exist. We’ve also started doing a lot of co-writing sessions with other musicians which has been interesting, eye opening and I think really beneficial to our own songwriting. It’s great learning new tricks from others.
My best business tip for new artists is…
Keep financial records, learn to record and produce and leave your ego at home.
My biggest career barrier has been…
Money and time. All the money we make as Bad Pony gets invested back into the band so we all have other jobs. If I take time off to create/tour then I have no money. If I work a lot to make money, I have no time to create/tour. It’s a vicious cycle and can be tricky to balance.
In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Locally, NSW lockout laws have had a pretty big impact on us and our city. Nationally I think our music industry panders to a certain type of “head honcho” personality which is super unhealthy, misogynistic, outdated and counter productive. Internationally I don’t think we’ve done enough touring yet to have found any real issues apart from nobody knows who the hell we are. We’re pretty damn keen to get back overseas though.
What would be a songwriting challenge or road block you’ve encountered and what methods have you used to work around it?
We learned a lot from a recent co-writing session in LA with Marc Orrell from Dropkick Murphys. We got stuck on a lyric so took a bunch of books down from his shelf to try and find a phrase we could draw inspiration from. If we got stuck musically, we would just muck around with synth sounds until we found something that stuck. I think in the past we’ve been very quick to judge ourselves and also quick to give up on ideas. Marc really taught us to explore EVERY avenue and idea and EVERY sound and pick and choose what works rather than trying a single idea and dismissing it.