Having just dropped their latest single, No Need for Lovers, Perth’s Sugar Army are embarking on a summer of festivals, playing some of the finest this country has to offer. Their schedule will see them making appearances at Homebake, Pyramid Rock and Southbound, as well as headlining a New Year’s Eve party in their hometown, all the while trying to attain the title of “the hardest drinking band in Australia”. So it’s no wonder there’s no need for lovers, there probably isn’t any time either.
Daniel Clarke caught up with guitarist Todd Honey shortly after the release of their debut album, The Parallels Amongst Ourselves, to talk about their upcoming tour and Sugar Army’s progress since their selection as Triple J’s Next Crop artist of 2007.
Music Feeds: So your first album is out, are you excited?
Todd Honey: Yeah we’re stoked. We haven’t done much since we released it so we’re really looking forward to touring in a few weeks.
MF: Have you been reading any reviews of the album?
TH: I tend to not really read them that much. I’ll read one if I come across one or if somebody shows me. I think everything’s been quite positive. All of our friends really enjoy it and I think that’s what really counts for us anyway.
MF: And so the recording, was that all done in Perth?
TH: Yeah, at Blackbird Studios run by Dave Parkin. We were there for about three weeks. We did our EP with him and decided to go with him again cos he’s so good at what he does.
MF: How did you approach the songs in the studio? Was it a track by track thing?
TH: When we did the EP we’d like do the drums for all six tracks, then the bass etc. But this time Dave suggested we do it song by song cos you kinda focus on the song a bit more. It’s more about getting the best out of each song. I think it’s a much better way to work for us, much more enjoyable when you complete a song. Obviously we still went back and made touch ups and stuff. It’s also really interesting to see the album unfolding. Now the album’s out we’re looking forward to writing some more stuff already.
MF: How did you go about getting the intensity of the Sugar Army live show on to the album? Was that a difficult thing to do?
TH: A lot of people say we have trouble capturing what we do live on CD. We kinda try to capture the intensity but we see recording as something different. We enjoy that it’s not always the same as live, we like to give them something new. We always try to capture the vibe of the song live.
MF: Looking at the video clips for Acute and Tongues In Cheeks it seems there’s a bit of an ongoing narrative there, a sort of urban dystopia, excesses of the modern man and all that. Is that a deliberate thing?
TH: It’s reflecting the lyrics a bit. The Acute one was all about weighing paycheck over passion. Tongues In Cheek was directed by Jamie, our drummer. It kinda reflects the lyrics again, but from his perspective.
MF: And are all you guys from Perth?
TH: I actually grew up in Kalgoorlie of all places. Lived there til I was 18 then moved to Perth where I met up with all these guys, who grew up here.
MF: So what drew you towards music?
TH: I was always playing music from an early age. My dad was into bluesy guitar and I always had a guitar in my hand. Then I learnt in school. Then when I moved to Perth for uni I wanted to start a band and it all just fell in to place.
Sugar Army embarked on a national album launch tour in September. They’ve recently announced their final shows for 2009, including festival appearances. Details can be found here.
MF: So is this the first headlining tour for the band?
TH: We did one three or four months ago but it was only a couple of dates, so it’s pretty much our first. We’re a bit nervous, a bit excited. We’ve done a lot of support tours it’s good to do them and play in front of a lot of people, but the fans aren’t really there to see you. So we’re all excited to do a tour where, even though the shows may be smaller, the people will be there to see you.
MF: What’s the most significant tour or concert you’ve done so far? What tour do you reckon you got the biggest crowd response?
TH: Maybe Sydney and one of the carnival shows we had a big response and we were stoked. One of the best shows we’ve done was when we launched the album. Good to have all the friends and family there.
MF: Where do you see the band going in the next few years?
TH: We definitely wanna go to maybe Europe or the UK.. It’s definitely in our foresight to go overseas. Everyone keeps telling us to go overseas.