We had a chance to catch up with Jack Bourke of Melbourne band City Calm Down about their upcoming Australian tour. With their new album Echoes in Blue which came out last month, we took the time to have a chat about songwriting, finding the perfect work/life balance, and everything else music related…
So, we’re here to talk about your new album Echoes in Blue, which came out on April 6th.
You’re touring Australia to promote it, are you looking forward to that?
Absolutely, every time we tour Australia we have a blast! We’re really looking forward to playing in our home town as well, that’s always fun.
Awesome! I heard that you’ve been working with Malcolm Besley of North East Party House on your new album. How did that come about?
He produced our first album, and we really enjoyed working with him. We like his work, and he’s a great bloke to be around! We also wanted to create a continuity between our first and second album, we also wanted to explore new territory and develop our sound as a band. We thought working with him again would be the most sensible way to achieve that desired consistency.
I noticed that some of your songs on the new release have a strong theme of work/life balance, and I was wondering how you guys manage to achieve that as a band, in-between touring and writing new songs it must be tough?
Well I’ll admit that I don’t manage my work/life balance as well as the other band members might *laughs*. It gets really hectic. Sometimes it feels like I’m drowning in it all, there’s so much happening. That’s just the way it is for me, and I think it’s the same for a lot of musicians out there. It can be overwhelming at times.
Well you’ve got some upcoming shows in the US and the UK, are you looking forward to those gigs?
Absolutely dude. We’re really excited about those, it’s going to be an awesome time!
Were there any highlights from your last tour over there?
We were there in November and we had a really good time. We played lots of places that we’ve never been before, so that was a great experience. The highlight of the trip would have to be playing in Manchester, there was just something really special about it. It was the last show of the tour, and we had a great time afterwards partying, celebrating a successful tour.
Where has been your favourite place to tour so far?
Everywhere has its own charm I guess, but Australia is definitely my favourite. The crowds are so energized and it just makes the live shows something else. Brisbane and Adelaide are some of the best, but playing our hometown of Melbourne has got to be the best of the best for us.
Nice! Do you guys have any pre or post show rituals or traditions?
We always have a bit of a huddle before each show, and try to revv each other up. We like to have our energy up so we’re killing it from the moment we set foot on stage.
Are there any artists that have influenced your sound as a band?
Well recently it’s been artists like David Bowie. Earlier on in our careers, I’d probably say Joy Division.
Where did the album title “Echoes in Blue” Come from?
It comes from the lyrics that I wrote for the last song in the album. It just felt right. The title has certain ambiguities to it, it can have different meanings, we like to leave it open to interpretation. To us, it’s sort of about trying to find the right path in life to follow, with what feels like little to no guidance.
If you could work with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
I’d have to say David Bowie I think. Possibly even Lou Reed. I’m interested to see how he works, and what his songwriting process is like. Those guys have always seemed incredible to me, it’s almost like music comes to them effortlessly, like it’s a part of them.
How did the band initially meet and come to be?
I’ve been mates with Jeremy since high school, and we just wanted to get together for a jam, nothing serious, just for fun. I’d previously played in a band with him in our early high school days, and we thought it might be fun to do that again. About six years ago we put out a classified ad and that’s how we met the other members. We’ve been playing together ever since.
Can you tell me about the single from the album titled “Joan I’m Disappearing”; what meaning does it have to you?
In many ways that song is an integral piece of the album, almost like a foundation stone for the rest of the tracks. It really captures the essence of how I was feeling at the time. It’s an exploration of what can happen if you feel like you’re constantly being worked to the bone, and what it’s like for the people you love, and the ones that love you.
How do you feel the band has evolved since the last album you guys made with Malcolm Besley?
I think we’ve definitely started to explore and experiment with our sound a lot more. We’ve all grown up a bit since then, and we’ve certainly expanded our sound. I think that will continue to happen as long as we keep working together as a band.
Don’t miss City Calm Down on their Australian tour. They’re playing at the Gov on the ninth of June, performing hits from their new album titled Echoes in Blue. This is a show you don’t want to miss out on, so grab some tickets today and come and rock out with the legends from City Calm Down in Adelaide in a couple of months time!
Interview By Jonathan Matthews