“Living in a nice wide open space near the national park keeps your mind uncluttered,” Belles Will Ring guitarist and singer Aidan Roberts tells me as he runs around inside the inner city day-care centre he looks after in his spare time.
The house he’s talking about is BWR’s other guitarist and vocalists Liam Judson’s parent’s Blue Mountains residence where the band recorded their new mini-LP Broader Than Broadway.
“The outdoors is good for inspiration,” he adds as he indulges in a little finger painting with the children, “but without sounding wanky, I like to think the music we make is kind of not place specific, it could come from anywhere. I think we’ve got better results by just mucking around with stuff and not having the pressure of being in the studio, just being able to do whatever we want.”
With Aidan having also released a critically acclaimed solo album as Maple Trail on top of Belles and his work here at the centre, Liam working with The Lovetones, Sister Jane and The Late Night Sound, and drummer Ivan Lisyak plying his trade with The Paper Scissors, it would seem ‘doing whatever they want’ is a trend within the band.
“Liam and I have been doing experimental stuff, like hip hop and some other stuff for years,” he laughs. “We all have projects going on. It’s so nice as well to have a break. It just gives you a bit of variety, coming back to it is good though, like comfortable. It also helps in recording, keeps you sharp, in practice.”
Moving like a cat, he’s helped two children with their glitter-based artworks, and gone out to the sandpit, helping little Suzie with her castle. He doesn’t stop moving, he just keeps jumping from child to child.
Their 2007 debut Mood Patterns grabbed the attention of more than a few fans and industry types, irresistibly tasty with it’s psychedelic sonic landscapes and sweet and polished vocal harmonies, earning the band some highly sought after support slots.
“Last year was great, we got to tour with Broken Social Scene and Ian Brown,” he says pausing as one of his many charges firmly attaches himself to his leg, “he is crazy,” he adds, “Ian not the child.”
“That was surreal, like it was Ian Brown from the Stone Roses,” he exclaims losing his shit just a bit. “I used to tape his videos on Rage,” he exclaims enthusiastically, “and to actually tour with him was a bit scary, but hilarious. He’s an old stoner, just mad for life.”
Part Shins, part Animals and eaps Belles, Broader Than Broadway sees the band more focussed and streamlined than ever, being forged in the heat of the pressure to follow up Mood Patterns.
“Well it did make us nervous, we weren’t expecting Mood Paterns to be received so warmly. So we thought, ‘well now there are quite a few fans we have a responsibility to, to deliver something that they’re gonna dig,’ but we wanted to give them something as different as possible to keep it interesting for us,” he explains as he pulls a veil off a giant plasma screen in the corner of the room.
“Broader Than Broadway is an album with a very different flow and feel to the first one,” he continues, “It isn’t quite as freewheeling, it’s a bit more focused. I’ve used the term glamorous, along with the Broadway connotations, but it really does sound more Broadway.”
The kids are all gathered around the TV now, eagerly waiting for whatever it is Aidan is going to put on.
“The next album will be a full length, we want to change the tone again, make it more spooky, a long album.”
Putting in the DVD he sits next to me, handing a timid 5 year old sitting near us at the back an apple as thick silence settle sover the room.
“Liam and I want this next one to sound like No Country for Old Men. A sparse and tense album, but also relaxed. That’s our reference point for it, as an atmospheric thing…” he stops as the credits roll.
Belles Will Ring are touring now and will play Spectrum on the 20th + 21st of March. Broader Than Broadway is out now.