AN INTERVIEW WITH
Adam Brand is one of Australia's most loved and recognizable country music artists. The 12-time Golden Guitar winner is heading to Thredbo to headline the Snowy Mountains Country Music Festival this month.
What can people expect from your show at Snowy Mountains Country Music Festival?
It's actually my very first time playing at Thredbo at the Snowy Mountains. I know they've had a lot of festivals down there before, you know [the] CMC festival?, but for some reason or another, I was always away or on tour or something when those festivals were happening. So I'm really excited about going there. My shows are always high energy. [When] we walk off the stage, there's nothing left in the gas tank - put it that way. We're going to give it our everything!
My show is, obviously, I've got the new album out My Side Of The Street so there's a few of those new songs in there but I definitely play songs ranging from my very first album, which came out in 98, and songs off every each album through the years. So what can they can expect is a pretty broad cross section of songs spanning my ten albums.
How do you choose what songs to play?
Yeah, that's the kicker. There's songs that people want to hear - songs like The Anzac, Hell Of A Ride, Good Friends, Dirt Track Cowboys - those sort of songs that I'll always play. But then there's a few new ones and a few others that I do scatter between.
I do get a bit of artistic license so what I usually do is have a bit of a list of songs that me and the band are playing at the time and I just read the crowd. If it's sort of a lovey-dovey crowd, I'll sing a few more romantic songs or if its a party crowd with people absolutely going off, than we'll just keep slamming the fast pace path.
I imagine Thredbo is probably going to be more of a party.
Yeah, I'm thinking so. That's cool I'll go down the path no problem. Me and the boys, they want a party! I'm expecting a pretty big night and people being pretty rowdy.
I know you said you haven't played there, but have you been to Thredbo before?
I've been through there once years ago but it's been a lot of years. Everyone says how beautiful it is.
Do you have time to see any of Thredbo when you're there?
I'm not sure. Before these shows they send you a run down sheet so you know what time you gotta to be there for sound check and that kind of stuff, so depending on what time I get in, me and the boys like to have a scout around the area and find a nice cafe somewhere and speak the locals and see what kind local goss we can get.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?
It's a fairly small industry so everybody knows everybody, so backstage everyone just sits around and jumps into everybody's tent, pops their head in and says hello and sees what they've got in their esky and steal a couple of bottles of this or that. It's bit of a communal thing backstage.
Who have you most enjoyed touring with?
Oh, I don't know ...
Okay, who has the best esky full of stuff then?
Barnesy [Jimmy Barnes], by far! They always have a esky. They have a cook out the back cooking fresh food for you. Although, I toured the states opening for Taylor Swift - that catering was like a five star restaurant! That was pretty huge! Our normal tours, it's not so luxurious, we just get some crackers and a bit of kabana. Just a bit of kabana and crackers and we're right! From five star through to crackers and kabana.
Listening to your first album compared to your latest album, there's a definite different kind of sound ...
Yeah, there is and I think that's just the natural progression. Every album I want to grow and evolve and change up a bit. Even the music that you listen to changes over the years, even things that we're wearing, things that we're saying, everything changes so I'd be worried if it wasn't.
Also musics an art form. It's creating stuff so I wouldn't want to just go along creating the same sounding album just because the last one sold. "The last one did well so we better make another one that sounds very similar so that we'll sound the same again" - that's just not something that I can do.
I'm always wanting to push myself in different areas and try and create things that have a bit of a freshness and a newness about it. I know there are artists that kind of stick to that formula of what they're known for and they don't want to risk loosing anyone that likes that formula.
I sort of buy into that thing of if people like want to do, buying into me as a songwriter and a music creator, and want to follow that journey, they'll follow it down the new streets as well as the old streets.
Well it's obviously working for you keep winning music awards ...
The CMC Awards, I've done pretty well in; but the industry ones - the Golden Guitars Awards, I haven't won one of those in years. So as long as the fans like what I'm doing, then that's alright with me, I don't mind at all.And come on, isn't it better to win the fan ones anyway?
Look in my humble opinion, absolutely! At the end of the day, it's all opinions - people vote based on what they'd like to listen to. For me, it's not so much about awards but if people want to keep hearing what I do, then I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do. And those fan awards are very much special.
You've had a pretty long career. Have you ever had any crazy-fan moments?
I wouldn't say there's been any awful ones or anything that kind of makes you go 'AHH!' ... freak out of anything. People are genuinely really nice and it's amazing. Sometimes people go to a whole lot of effort to show you there appreciation of what you do. Sometimes it's actually very humbling rather than sort of freakish. People who will keep lots of scrapbooks and they'll make you handmade gifts and things that reflects something that you've said on Facebook or done in your career.
Sometimes I look at it and go "wow, these people has actually listened to what I've said at that point a year and a half ago and went home and made this thing and waited til I came back again." That's pretty special stuff and I know some people maybe don't give that much thought but when you think of the thought and the time and effort that goes behind it it's actually pretty lovely.
Do you keep it all?
I do. I mean, I don't have it on show or my house would be [laughs] I have a lot of stuff in boxes that over the years I've collected.
Do you have any career highlights?
Yeah, there's a lots of wonderful things that we've talked about that happen all the time. But a lot of the time it's probably not what you'd think they'd be. People always go, "it must have been a highlight to get that award" or "play that gig in front of all those people" - and all those things are good but I think the highlights are probably a little more humble.
The things that stick in your mind, like before a show or after a show, a family come up to you and they've got a little five or six year old with them. The five or six year old runs up to you, wraps their arms around your neck, gives you this huge squeeze and then they show you this crayon drawing that they've drawn for you. All those kinds of things are really rewarding. Because it just shows that they're really listening to what you do and appreciate what you do, you know? There's lots of that kind of stuff that happens all the time.
Do you do many meet and greets?
I try to do them every gig. Sometimes its not as possible as others - sometimes it's organized, or sometimes, if it's a festival and nothings organized, I'll just go pop around the side or around the front and start signing stuff over the fence. But usually we try to make sure I have time for me to sign things, get my photo taken with people and that sort of stuff.
I can count on one hand the amount of times I haven't been able to sign over the years. And I've probably done 70-80 gigs a year for 15 years so a part of what we do is to make sure I spend some time meeting and greeting people. Sometimes you can't do it for as long as you'd like to, especially at some festivals - 40,000 at a festival you can't sort of stand there the whole time but you gotta make the effort.
Do you prefer a large festival gigs or a small intimate gigs?
I don't really have a preference because they're all special in their own way [and] they've all got great things about them. Standing in front of a big crowd, the energy of that's amazing; but even an intimate show or even a small acoustic show with 100 people, it can be fantastic! You have this interaction and connection, actually eye ball people. Every show is different. Every show is kind of what you make it, what people bring to it and whether they're bringing their energy and what kind of show it's going to be.
Some shows people are sitting down and intently listening, and some [gigs] they want to stand on the table, get their gear off and just go crazy! And all of it's fine by me!
Who would you most like to see at a festival gig?
Anyone in the world?
Yes, anyone Go nuts!
Alright then, I'll go nuts. Bruce Springsteen - headline act. I'd want Fleetwood Mac to get together for our big gig. I'm not sure what we'd call it. The Rockin' Rumble Barbeque! No, The Big Barbie, that's what we'll call it!
Do you get food at this big barbie?
Yeah, you get a snagger as you come through the gates! So they'd be Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac get together, John Mellencamp - you can kind of see where I'm going with this sort of music? I think Robbie Williams should come along too.
That'd be cool! Something a little different. Whose album are you loving at the moment?
You know what, I'm doing the Spotify thing at the moment. I'm just browsing all these different categories - just yesterday, I was in Hawaiian Reggie. I'm kind of doing that thing at the moment, I need to get back to albums soon.
Are you working on a new album at the moment?
I am actually. I'm actually starting to listen to songs, working on a bit of a concept and few bits of pieces, so yes always thinking along those lines. I reckon it'll be out early next year, like January or something, but I reckon there might be a single or something coming out later this year. A little bit of a concept ... I haven't nailed it all down yet but it might not be just a straight Adam Brand album - a little bit of a spin or that sort of thing. Can you see it's not completely nailed down in my head because I can't even put into words?
What else can we expect from you in 2015?
Well apart from the music kind of things and shows, I'm also working on a new TV show idea as well. So looking at maybe starting filming that in a few months. They'll be a bit of traveling involved and unearthing some cool people and cool stories around the Country.
You also have your own restaurant, Brandy's Restaurant. Is it hard to manage that while you're touring?
It can be. Sometimes you get a little stretched thin but I love food. I'm up here at the moment in the restaurant and last night I was in the kitchen cooking pizzas and having a bit of fun with it.
What would you recommend on the menu?
If you're a pizza person, our pizzas are nice and thin and crispy and yummy so choose whatever you want on there. Personal favourite; I like the Nutella pizzas. That's pretty good. But I love spaghetti! I love pasta so we've got heaps and heaps of pastas. One of my favourites has got prawns, bacon and chilli.
Well as a fan, this has been an absolute highlight to talk to you!
It's been a great interview too. You've asked some questions too and you've been a lot of fun to talk to! I can tell you - there's a lot of boring interviews out there and you're definitely not one of them so thank you!
^ and that's when I died!
For more on Adam, go to: http://www.adambrand.com.au
This was originally posted on the AU review.