At a time when it seems that the US and European based music industries, hand in hand, still take up most of music fans' attention, Australia on the other side of the world has unnoticeably and effectively set up itself as a competitive base for music artists to "strike" with.

One of those bands that have emerged from the Australian continent and which has managed to build themselves up a strong reputation as an indie-rock band are Sydney four piece, Bluebottle Kiss. The band was originally formed in 1993 and since then has gone through some line-up changes, and has released various singles and seven albums and EPs. Their latest album, 'The Revenge Is Slow’, has just come out on local label, Nonzero.

Bluebottle Kiss's sound has been compared to Coldplay and The Go-Betweens. They seem quite uncertain about this, but do play their instruments warmly and with great conviction. The band have just finished an Australian tour and have also toured the US.

The group, which consists of Jamie Hutchings (vocals, guitar), Ben Fletcher (guitar), Richard Conelliano (drums) and Ben Grounds (bass), are now at a point where they are starting to introduce their music more and more to an overseas market .As well as putting records out in the States, they have also recently released their debut European release, 'Ounce of Your Cruelty', a three track EP, on the British Sugar Shack label.

Jamie Hutchings spoke to Pennyblackmusic about the history of the band and its hopefully promising future.


PB: You, Ben Fletcher and Richard Conelliano first formed Bluebottle Kiss in 1993. Were you in any other bands before that and how did you meet each other?

JH: Technically I'm the only original member. Ben joined 6 months later. He was a lot younger, only 16, and we knew each other through mutual friends. Richard is actually our third drummer, though he's been with us the longest (since 1996). Before this band I was in a couple of garage bands that never really got out of the garage to play shows or to release anything.

BP: You made some line-up changes in 2001 when Ben Grounds come into the band and Ben Fletcher moved from a bass onto a guitar. What made you do such change and are you happy with the results ?

JH: That was Ben's call. He was disinterested with the bass and wanted to move on to guitar. I’d been the only guitarist up to that stage. Considering what we'd been through in the US a change seemed like a good idea. I'm enjoying it now. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to half the guitar playing but I'm enjoying the flexibility and the broader range it gives us melodically and texturally.

PB: What exactly you mean by "considering what we’d been through in the US"?

JH: We went over there because we’d had our last album released by an internet label. We got over there and they went bankrupt. The shows they’d booked us were pretty shocking, so we ended up booking shows by ourselves. We bought a van, built beds in it and lived in it for 3 months. It was fun but very tiring.

PB: You have just finished your latest Australian tour in May. How was the tour ? How did your fans react to your new songs from your new album ‘The Revenge Is Slow’?

JH: It went very well. We've managed to get quite a healthy following despite being an independent band, which is tough over here. I'd call the tour a success for us, for sure.

PB: How do you collaborate on writing music and lyrics?

JH: To be honest we don't really. I write the songs and everyone seems happy with that. If we had more time and didn't have day jobs, we'd have more time to collaborate. It's usually "Here's the songs ! Lets get to work" and it goes from there. The other guys have other bands they play in as well though, so everyone has a creative outlet in terms of writing for different projects.

PB: The new album, ‘Revenge Is Slow’, recently came out. Could you say what it’s about and whether you are pleased with it?

JH: There's 12 songs about all types of things, the passing of time, pursuit and being pursued, communication, all types of dramas. We're pleased with the end result. It’s as we envisioned it which is a big call.

PB: What do you think was the biggest inspiration for you for the songs on the album?

JH: I guess travel. Living the way we did in the States inspired a few of the tunes, but the songs were written over a three year period so there are many themes. There are songs about relationships, plus some more intangible stuff.

PB: In the song ‘Gangsterland’, which came out as a single, you sing about Julie and how much you don’t want her to go to ‘Gangsterland’. Does the song have any relation to your life and what it’s about?

JH: No. It's a story which could be taken metaphorically or literally. It’s about someone who is tied and obligated to a shadowy past which wont let them go.

PB: Bluebottle Kiss have released quite a few albums and singles by now. Do you have a favourite one ?

JH: I don't really. It's hard to be objective. I like a couple of our EPs a lot due to their more experimental nature. Those kind of recordings give me a lot of satisfaction.

PB: The covers you use for the album differ in style. Some of them are photos and the other ones are paintings that don’t seem to really have any relation to your music. Is there any intention or meaning about them and who designs them?

JH: For this album, the label wanted to hire someone so they did, but they turned out to be great people with a very intuitive feel. Formerly I've had a fairly big contribution. The idea is to find an image which conjures up some kind of feeling that is echoed in the music.

PB: Could you say more about your plans for the near future?

JH: We just want to get our records released in as many places and play in as many places as possible and expand ourselves mores. It's hard when you're Australian. We're doing some more recording, and basically finishing some stuff we started at the same time as the album, some out takes which will be released sometime over the next 6 months.

PB: Do you have any goal or dream that you are aiming for with Bluebottle Kiss?

JH: It means a great deal for us to play. We wish it was all we did and were able to continue doing it on a larger scale would be nice.

PB: What is the most important thing for you about being in the band?

JH: Being immersed in the playing / composition. Getting something rare on stage.

PB: What was one of the best gigs you have ever seen?

JH: I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a couple of months ago at the Enmore theatre. It was pretty convincing, I was engrossed. Sonic Youth in 1993 at Sydney Uni was amazing too.

PB: Thank you.




















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