Glam Adelaide’s James Hickey caught up with Bernard Fanning to discuss his upcoming national tour to support his latest single Wasting Time from his new album Civil Dusk. Talking to us from his home in Byron Bay, the former Powder Finger front man reveals some of the journey involved in creating his latest studio album.
Given the 3 year gap since Departures (2013) we asked if this latest album was a challenge to produce. “They’re all difficult”, says Fanning “…I enjoyed making this one more than I’ve ever enjoyed making a record, it had the most relaxed atmosphere around it, because there was no deadline, it was just a matter of doing it until it was done”.
The new album was produced by long-time collaborator Nick DiDia (Powder Finger, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine) who according to Fanning is a key element in putting the tracks down on tape at their co-owned La Cueva Studios in Byron Bay. “We have a very easy communication between us”, Fanning reflects “we know what each other is talking about…it’s really healthy for me to have someone who’s opinion I respect that much coming in and saying that part is crap or that part is great…on the production side it is 90% Nick in his skills as producer and engineer”.
Civil Dusk is the first of two studio albums, the second Brutal Dawn, already in the pipelines is set for release in 2017. A lot of the song writing for the album was undertaken in his wife’s homeland of Spain, so we asked what impact this had on the creative process. “Any work you do is incumbent on having ideas, no matter what the environment is you have to have good ideas…I love being in Spain…it must have some impact because for starters you are speaking a different language, you’re using your brain in different way”. Having said that Fanning assures us “it’s not a Spanish album, but I was there for a year and I was writing pretty much the whole time”.
Over the last 10 years Fanning has returned to his first musical instrument, the piano. “I think it is the best tool for writing, you cover the sound of an entire band with the piano”, muses Fanning. “I’d play it all day, every day if I could”. Fanning hasn’t abandoned the guitar completely for the ivories so rest assured the upcoming tour will involve plenty of strumming with a few old classics thrown in the mix.
The 11-date tour includes a stop in the remote WA town of Geraldton, which Fanning recently visited for Triple J’s One Night Stand. He felt it was worth returning to despite the huge travel distances and costs. “I just really liked the place”, remarks Fanning speaking of Geraldton “and I love playing in regional Australia…a lot of those places are starved of live music”.
As far as the Adelaide show is concerned, Glam asked if we might hear a version of the song Hindley Street from Powder Finger’s Internationalist. “Possibly”, laughs Fanning, reminiscing “I did write that song in Adelaide, in a hotel in Hindley Street…I guess its [Hindley Street] cleaned up it’s act a bit since then…we’ve always loved coming to Adelaide, I’ve got a lot of good friends there…I enjoy the lack of intensity that Sydney and Melbourne has”.
Adelaide will certainly open its arms to Bernard Fanning who will perform at the Norwood Town Hall on the Wednesday 26th of October. Doors open: 7:00pm. Tickets from oztix.com.au
Interviewed by James Hickey