My interview with Yves Klein Blue frontman, Michael Tomlinson is doomed from the start. The call comes through as expected, but as happens with the best laid plans, well, things begin to go awry – a couple of minutes in and my phone is on its last legs; lights flashing, alarms going off, and not a battery charger to be seen anywhere. I tell Tomlinson I’ll call him back. I’m in the process of moving house, and it seems the aforementioned battery charger is one of the items yet to be extricated from the Old Place – it seems we have a problem. But the gods are smiling and Claire turns up with the charger an hour or so later, and so all plugged in, I call Tomlinson back. His phone rings out. It’s at this point where apathy sets in, I mean, he’s not doing me any favours, but it’s then that he calls back, and we’re in business, despite what he’s been doing over the past hour, something which seems to have slowed his thought processes down somewhat and he rambles a lot, but I listen anyway and we talk about Yves Klein Blue.
“We’re Nullarbor virgins,” is one of the first things he tells me, referring to the band’s impending trip to WA, obviously their first time across the desert. It’s a trip that’ll yield only three shows this time around, but it’s an important trip, a trip that’ll get these Brisbane youngsters some much needed exposure out west, a definite bonus given how well they’re doing over here on the east coast. Their debut EP, Yves Klein Blue Draw Attention To Themselves, released in March this year, has been picked up by Triple J, and as well, YKB won the MTV Kickstart competition around the same time, something which has had them up in lights all over the place. “The Kickstart money was actually what allowed us to record the EP,” Tomlinson explains laconically.
“But Triple J getting behind Polka (first single from the EP), and all the stuff that’s come from people hearing our music on Triple J, it’s the sort of thing you’d like to happen. We’ve just been very fortunate and lucky that Triple J have been so good to us…when you go in to record, you can only do what you think is relevant, and so to have people liking it is a dream come true.” It would seem that Tomlinson, in his slightly foggy state, is right on the money – things for YKB have indeed blossomed since they won the Kickstart competition, hence the fact you’re seeing their name and hearing their tunes every time you open a magazine or turn on the radio.
As it stands right now then, this current tour (which not only takes in WA, but the rest of the country as well) oddly named the Immaculate Confection Tour (yeah, there are cupcakes involved…) is that tour that goes down now that the EP is right out there, and before the band get into recording their debut full-length offering, something which is much on their minds. “That’s exactly right, we’re recording that album two days after we get back from this tour, so it’s very much that time-killer tour,” Tomlinson drawls. “We’ve been writing for the past month and a half and we’re doing our final demos this Friday, so it’s all very exciting and nerve wracking.
“Well actually, we’ve been working towards this for a couple of years, we’ve been writing for that long, but it’s been the past month and a half where we’ve been going back over songs, cutting out the fat,” he re-clarifies in a burst of lucidity, before going on regarding the evolution in sound they’re finding, as you’d expect from a young band with a host of live experience but yet to release their debut long-player. “Yeah, there’s been a lot of expansion, especially in terms of adding other vocal parts, using other instruments,” Tomlinson muses. “Although it’s hard to say, maybe we have no perspective, like, other guys in the band will go, ‘this is too different’, while I’ll say, ‘I think it’s fine’. But I definitely think that listening to the LP, there’ll be a progression, which is inevitable I suppose.”
Indeed, progression is the name of the game. It’s at this point where I decide we’ve both had enough, but before we wrap up, I put it to Tomlinson there’s a fair bit of hype surrounding the band at the moment – are they confident this record will live up to it all? “I’m feeling a fair bit of pressure from ourselves,” he admits. “Your first record is such a bold statement, we really want to say something that’s relevant, we want to do it right, so yeah, there’s pressure from us.” And so there should be – straighten up and fly right Yves Klein Blue, and maybe the world, on both sides of the Nullarbor, will be your oyster.
Dr. SJF Zhivago