[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Shining Bird are fast becoming one of Australia’s best-loved bands, and with their second LP Black Opal just released last year, frontman Dane Taylor reveals that they have already started another.
“We went up to near the Blue Mountains in Blackheath and spent a few weeks up there just writing and have about half an album written,” he reveals. “We kind of just want to keep the foot on the gas this year and probably put something out towards the end of the year.”
The boys have angled their sound far beyond their Austinmer hometown on the NSW South Coast, and into Central Australia, drawing from landscapes and sound textures to create a truly cinematic album.
“It’s more of a personal journey for us, what drew us to going out into Central Australia was our own longing to experience that side of Australia that we hadn’t particularly experienced firsthand. We’d seen a lot of it in film and read a lot of it in books and poetry and things like that, but it’s represented a lot in Australian music and art, and was a part of Australia we wanted to see firsthand and we feel like music drew us out there.
“There was a moment when we were in Alice Springs and we were performing and there was a solid few hundred people there and we sort of had to pinch ourselves, and had this moment of ‘wow, this music has taken us from a small coastal town on the South Coast all the way to Alice Springs!’”
Recalling memories of Midnight Oil and Paul Kelly’s sonic tributes to the great Australian dream, Shining Bird are well placed to carry on as a voice for a generation with similar intent.
“We’d love to be one of the Australian greats,” Taylor says. “We have a voice that’s honest and unique and also is interesting, especially to outsiders trying to get a perspective of what Australia is. Our music has these textural elements which produce more of a sound environment, it’s quite transportive.”
An interesting and instrumentally-focused collective, Shining Bird is a band built on strong friendships and a history of connecting through vulnerability, with music being the common thread. Careful to steer clear of conventional expectations, Shining Bird prefers to work from a clean slate, pushing their sound to deliver an exciting live experience.
For many of the members it’s their first run at writing and recording in a band. A phenomenal culmination of passion for great sound, mutual understanding in their songwriting and a love of Australia, Shining Bird celebrate all that is beautiful and terrifying in life and the land.
“Shining Bird was borne of some personal struggles with myself and Russell [Webster] to do with depression and purpose and regular human issues. We started making music as a bit of distraction and to give us more of a direction in life… It all happened really organically, at the time most of us didn’t have that much experience in bands or making music, so we put out an album before we’d even played a live show. We just recruited a bunch of mates and a few housemates ended up being in the band, for a lot of the members Shining Bird is the only band they’ve ever been in.
“A lot of the songs are really intricate and delicate and have a lot of dynamic to them, instead of learning to play our instruments in a standard way, we’ve learned how not to play them,” he laughs. “Russ on keyboards ends up acting as a conductor in stage, pointing to people when different elements should come in; it gives it a really nice live feel to the songs.”
While they are on an undeniable trajectory of success, the creature comforts of home are never far from the front of Taylor’s mind. Having jumped back on the road for another season of touring, he laments how difficult it can be.
“You’re out of your comfort zone for quite a while… Sleepless nights and early flights, after a while they kind of get to me in particular… I’m a bit of a sook,” he smiles. “It’d be really hard to be on the road for a year, I’m really sympathetic to the artists that have to do that. Unless you had down time it would be pretty exhausting.”
When we speak, the band are in the midst of their Morning Light tour, having just returned from Tasmania and Panama Festival with nothing but positive feedback.
“That was easily one of the best festivals I’ve been to! It was such a laid-back, chilled vibe. There were no security guards, no police, there were ‘No Dickheads’ in singlets. There were no problems, it was just really nice to feel like avid music lovers just really zoning out and loving it. I’m definitely going to go next year even as a punter.”
With a killer video clip for Helluva Lot amongst others from previous releases, I wanted to hear more about Shining Bird’s aesthetic and how Black Opal came to be, considering it does not feature as a track on the album.
It turns out for that story we head to Katoomba, the creative hub of the band and where most writing seems to be taking place. “The house was just this little shack in the bush next door to Jenny Kee’s property. We’re huge fans of her aesthetic and it’s cool what she was exploring through her art and there are parallels to what we want to do with our music.
“One of her scarf prints with all of her opalescent patterns on it, in one of the shops in Katoomba, was called Black Opal. It’s like when you’re writing lyrics, words in everyday life pop out and they’ll just stick in your brain and you’ll just keep repeating them. Somehow it just matched the musical textures in the album.”
So what makes them continue to head out into the most remote communities across Australia to spread their music? “We’re looking to head up to the top end later in the year to do a month’s worth of shows in remote and regional towns and communities,” he says. “There’s definitely a yearning to explore that part of the country and to share and collaborate with Indigenous artists and musicians, it’s a part of Australia that we want to know more about.”
“Connecting with people in their hometown – people you never would have thought would be into your music – we have a really varied demographic that comes to our shows. From kids all the way up to grandparents, it’s so cool that it can span so many generations.”[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”white”][vc_column_text]21-23 April, The Gum Ball Music Festival, Dashville
Tickets HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”” style=”custom” custom_background=”#ff5ff3″ custom_text=”#000000″ shape=”square” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-music” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fau%2Falbum%2Fblack-opal%2Fid1137577221||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]