Progressive surf roots rockers Band of Frequencies have played all over the world with the likes of Donovan Frankenreiter, John Butler, Angus Stone and Ash Grunwald; as well as some of the world’s most amazing festivals and events, among them the Billabong ‘Banzai’ Pipe Masters, Hawaii; North Shore Film Festival, Hawaii; Surf & Sound Tour, Tokyo. Not to mention some of Australia’s premier festivals: Splendour in the Grass, Mullum Music Festival and Woodford Folk Festival. True believers in sounds beyond boundaries, Band of Frequencies draw their influences from a vast spectrum of roots, rock, electronic and psychedelic styles. Their signature blend comes from years of live experimentation, constantly pushing their influences into the creative fires to see what melts, what explodes and what merges. They have now successfully forged a bond of sonic elements that represents their coastal roots and strikes a chord in the hearts of passionate music lovers around the globe. It’s this quality that has lead to invitations to grace the stages of diverse festivals, at home and abroad, and to record soundtracks to several internationally released surf films. The name Band of Frequencies refers to the concept that each person vibrates at a certain frequency with the lowest being fear and hate and the highest being love and compassion. Like radio and TV stations, we also broadcast our particular band of frequencies at any given moment. “We are just a Band of Freq’s doing our thing to raise the collective frequency through sound.”
Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
My Father, Alan, was my first musical inspiration. Being a drummer he had a beautiful old Rogers drum kit set up in the living room and there was a weekly rehearsal with his band at the time. I remember playing along with drum sticks on cushions so I felt like I was in on the jam. I always wanted to play drums. Actually… I still do! My parents were also DJs and managed a club called ‘The Galaxy’ on the Sunshine Coast, so through their ever-expanding record collection I was also introduced to a lot of the music that has inspired me.
What advice do you have for someone who’s about to record and release their first album and go on their first tour?
Just enjoy it and absorb as much as you can throughout the whole process, especially during recording. There is so much to learn from everyone in the music industry, so pay attention to the subtleties and ask people questions. Sound engineers, venue operators, promoters and other artists all have a wealth of knowledge, so you can learn valuable lessons from people around you who’ve been around the block a few more times than yourself.
How do you record your initial song ideas?
If I’m not in the studio I personally record my ideas using my phone voice memos like a dictaphone, so I can capture the initial concept, and then I’ll record each stage of the evolution so I can backtrack if need be. With Band of Frequencies we love capturing the initial sparks of creative chemistry which is why we often choose to write and record simultaneously in the studio. We wrote the ‘Men of Wood & Foam’ soundtrack album in 3 days with only the skeleton of the theme song and producer Phil Jarratt’s lyrics having been previously written. For the instrumental tracks we have a method we use in the studio we call ‘Powerball’ that we use to generate ideas quickly. We start with an idea, a tempo, a feel or perhaps a progression and then just count it in and everyone just plays. We give it three minutes for the ideas to gel, and if there’s something there, then we’ve either already got it in 1 take or we talk about melody and arrangement options before having another go at it. Obviously every song has its own birthing process, so it is impossible to generalise, but having various techniques to focus creative energies in the studio is very helpful.
How has your music practice and performance changed over time?
Band of Frequencies has been through several phases of practice and performance over the years, and now we’ve come to a balance we are happy with. We’ve come from dirty funk jam-band roots and ventured into improvised instrumental surf film soundtracks, so our focus was mostly centred around the ability to make interesting music on the spot. We’ve also written and recorded an entire album of lyric-focussed songs called ‘Rise Like the Sun’, and we love crafting and performing songs well. More than a decade down the track, we’re happy with a 50/50 mix of crafted songs and then we like to venture off into instrumental jams, live soundtracks to film footage and surf guitar tunes.
My top business tip for new artists is…
Trust your intuition.
My biggest career mistake and highlight has been…
I don’t really believe in ‘mistakes’ as everything that has ever resembled a ‘mistake’ has actually held within it the greatest opportunity for learning, growth and evolution. As the saying goes… ‘A smooth sea never made a skilful sailor’. As for highlights, whenever we are surfing incredible waves somewhere on the planet and then get to play a gig that night, all salt-encrusted and stoked, I feel like the luckiest man alive.
In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is… What do you think can fix/change it?
I personally feel like our current Government’s attitude towards the arts, artists and the whole industry is short-sighted and disappointing. I’d like to see more respect and recognition given to both the financial value of the arts and, more importantly, their contribution to the happiness and well-being of our whole society. I think this conservative perception that music and the arts are superfluous to the economy and other ‘important’ issues just drains the joyful life force out of people. When leaders recognise the role music and the arts play in the ‘economics of happiness’, then hopefully this would lead to a more concerted effort to nurture new creatives, celebrate dedicated lifelong artists’ endeavours, and support those in all facets of the industry.
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Fri 12th May – Yacht Club, Mooloolaba, QLD
Thu 1st June – Cashew Tree, Bingin, BALI
Sun 4th June – Deus Temple (9ft & Single Festival), Changgu, BALI
Tue 6th June – Drifter (Film Screening & Acoustic Show) Bingin, BALI
Sat 10th June – Full Moon Dance, Verrierdale Hall, Eumundi QLD