You’d be forgiven to think that Trial Kennedy had just disappeared off the map. Their debut album New Manic Art received positive reviews and critical acclaim across credible music circles. Tracks like Neighbors, Color Day Tours and Sunday Warning were anthem like rock songs that encouraged you to sing along and the band delivered it on the stage night after night.
“The live thing is important to be able to convey what we get out of music to our audience. We’re fucking having a ball and get so much out of playing music, we want everyone else to feel what we’re feeling.”
But the last few years have been a trying and testing time for the boys from Melbourne. Their friend and bass player Aaron decided to leave. The band then split with record label Sony, changed management and encountered other personal and professional set backs. When I asked Tim Morrison (vocalist) if they ever thought about pulling the pin on Trial Kennedy, he was brutally honest.
“You know what Jase, to be honest, it really did get that way. You know we did go through a lot of shit, we tried to keep our heads high and take everything that comes to the TK table as glass half full. Generally speaking, we’re really positive guys and tend to rub off on each other. We’re lucky to have experienced a lot being around for twelve odd years and we’ve learnt how to deal with these things over time.”
For Tim, he also had to overcome some health issues, which the singer wished wasn’t public knowledge.
“I had a heart condition since I was about 20; it could’ve been life threatening, but it wasn’t at that stage, but I did have heart surgery. My life has improved 100% man! I can’t tell you how good I feel now.”
He also fell off a ladder and cracked his head open requiring 30 staples.
“I’m sort of annoyed Thomas, our manager, put that stuff in our press release! [laughs] He was like ‘why not?’ because I don’t want people to fuss about it, I don’t care!”
With all the set backs, the result has been their brand new record Living Undesigned. following on from New Manic Art in sound and structure; the record is a logical step in progression for the band.
“In terms of story line, it’s based around the same principles as New Manic Art, where every single song lyrically was based around true experiences. Most of them revolving around Trial Kennedy and us as individuals. It was a collective collaboration of songs, done the same way but a different set of tunes I suppose. [laughs] The whole principle around the record has a very similar vibe. Having said that, hopefully most of our records will be like that. I enjoy writing songs that have some authentic stories behind them.
Musically, I don’t know where it all came from. Obviously it is a lot different. There’s quite a few up tempo songs but there are quite a few dark songs as well. I guess that was a huge influence from Richie. (their new bass player) Since Aaron left and Richie has been in the mix, the song quality has changed and shifted in different ways.”
I quizzed Tim if he and the band have any concerns about the album leaking before its official release; a topic that he holds a strong opinion on.
“Big time, absolutely. That’s one of the biggest things that goes through your mind before you do release it. But you can’t really control it and if you try you’ll end up doing your head in. You see bands like Metallica who pay millions of dollars to people to put in encrypted codes on their records and all that sort of crap and it’s still getting leaked! Some smart arse sitting in his bedroom whose a genius will crack it anyway.
You know what, in today’s world, music is just a marketing tool. You really don’t make money selling records anymore. It’s been like that for a couple of years now. I guess we’re not really too stressed by that side of things. We figure if people want to pay for it they will and if they don’t they won’t.”
The last thing I had to ask Tim about is something that’s mentioned on their Wikipedia page.
“Not the fucking kangaroo story! A friend of ours, he actually leads our Street Team and does our merch, he comes into the studio one day and shows us what he put on. He was bored so made up the story about me getting into a fight with a kangaroo. [laughs] It’s a good story though. Me beating up a kangaroo. Next thing RSPCA will come knocking on my door wanting to know why I’m fighting with wildlife!”
Trial Kennedy’s new record Living Undesigned will be out on May 13 through MGM