Aussie bands are always a highlight of South By Southwest. Brisbane band Drawn from Bees is currently touring the US and Canada, including a stop at SXSW and a Houston date on Sunday, 3.20.11, at Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar and a free in-store show at Cactus Music next Tuesday, 3.15.11.
Drawn From Bees’ Raven Jones recently answered some questions for Houston Calling in advance of the group’s trip to North America and shows at SXSW.
Houston Calling: What are you looking forward to most at this year’s SXSW?
Raven Jones: Soaking up the atmosphere, seeing a lot of new music, and most importantly buying a good cowboy hat in the Mecca of cowboys! Austin is the Mecca of cowboys, right? That is how I imagine it to be…
HC: Are there and bands in particular that you’re looking forward to seeing during SXSW?
RJ: A couple of bands I really want to see of course such as The Black Angels, but I am really looking forward to the discoveries I make and checking out contemporary music from all over the world.
HC: This will be your band’s first North American tour, correct? Have you been to the U.S. before? What are you most looking forward to seeing while you’re here?
RJ: Yes, [our] first American tour. We showcased at MuseExpo in Los Angeles last year at The Whisky-A-Go-Go, which was a real treat considering The Doors got signed there, Motley Crue and Guns n’ Roses started out there! We had a really warm response from the American music industry there which is why we decided to come back and pester y’all some more this year.
HC: What’s your favorite part of touring?
RJ: Waking up in a new city every day or so. I love the traveling, meeting new people, having new experiences, hearing new inspiring bands. I can think of no better life that being a rock’n’roll nomad wandering the land for new inspiration.
HC: What do you consider to be your primary musical influences and how do they play into the music you make?
RJ: Personally, I would say David Bowie, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, The Pixies, Nick Cave, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Jimi Hendrix. A mix of rock across generations. I think these musicians gave me my basic understanding of how song structure & writing works. I learned to write by learning to play these bands music. I imagine they have had an enormous influence both consciously subconsciously on the way I and the other two writers in the band compose.
HC: How has digital technology changed the way your band creates its music?
RJ: Our recording method is totally technologically based. Everything we do in the studio embraces technology. Our singer Dan James produces our albums and is obsessed with finding the latest gadgets and gear. We thrive on technology. We are the antithesis of the laying-it-down-to-tape band. Not there is anything wrong with that approach. We just embrace technology because it’s fun, experimental, and while purists will nod their heads and mumble disapprovingly, at end of the day our albums can stand proudly up against almost everything out there. I guess we are just good at what we do. Damn good.
HC: Other than SXSW, what’s on the horizon for the band in 2011? Hopefully the flooding in Australia hasn’t affected you too much…
RJ: We were fine; of course, we all knew people affected by the floods and helped out where we could. It was quite a surreal thing to witness. Our whole city shut down for about three days [and] no one could go anywhere. It will take a long time for things to be fixed, replaced, and back to normal.
2011 is about the U.S. & Canada for Drawn from Bees. This first tour is all about setting up the next few tours. We love coming over to the States and the reception we had last time was overwhelmingly positive. We’d like to be back for a three-month tour before 2011 closes, plus we still haven’t done Vegas!
HC: Name one favorite musician or band from each era: 1960s/1970s/1980s/1990s
RJ: David Bowie, The Doors, The Pixies, Nirvana
HC: Is there any music you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend?
Yeah – Bernard Lakes from Canada are stupidly good. Love The Black Angels’ Passover album. The latest Deerhunter record is fantastic. Beach Party were amazing live at Laneway Festival (in Brisbane, Australia) last weekend. Every American should check out Australian bands Grinderman and The Drones–they are hard, bad-arse fuckers–they sound like ex-convicts, just as you’d expect from our history (Australia was built on the labor of convicts to any reader out there that don’t know– it’s why we are all so rugged and dangerous). I am totally inspired by new music at the moment. I think we live in a healthy and inspirational time as far as music goes.
Thanks to Raven Jones from Drawn From Bees for taking the time to answer these questions for Houston Calling. Be sure to check the band out when it hits Houston on Tuesday, 3.15.11, for a free in-store set at Cactus Music, and on Sunday, 3.20.11, at Dan Electro’s.
Here’s a video of Drawn From Bees’ single, “The East Wood Fox”:
Drawn From Bees plays several shows in Austin during SXSW:
International Psych-Out Party
Aussie’s Bar & Grill
Dart Music International House Party
Check out the band’s Cautionary Tales of the Lionhearted, here.