If 2013 was a big year for The Preatures, riding on the success of the inescapable and impossibly infectious Is This How You Feel?, then 2014 has been a gargantuan one.
Just last week, the Sydney-siders kicked off their biggest national tour to date following an overseas stint that saw them play Glastonbury, Coachella, Bonaroo, CMJ Music Marathon and even score a primetime slot on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Throw in the warmly-received release of debut album Blue Planet Eyes in October to their bevy of achievements and it isn’t hard to understand why The Preatures are being championed as key players in the future of Australian Music.
XXIV caught up with guitarist and vocalist, Gideon Bensen, just a few days after a throat infection led to the last-minute cancellation of the Rolling Stones’ Hanging Rock tour-stop – for which the quintet were set to play a support slot. “It’s kind of bittersweet,” says Bensen. “We just came back from tour and needed to catch up on sleep, but we’ve got a second chance to do it over the weekend, provided Mick’s able to to.” While it might be of little comfort to disgruntled Stones fans, the cancellation of the much-vaunted show serves as a reminder of just how physically taxing touring can be, with Bensen himself all too familiar with the myths surrounding life on the road following the band’s hectic recent months.
“It’s not nearly as glamorous as people think. You’re either really straight edge about it, you’re really conscious about what you eat and what you drink…or you take a shitload of drugs.” No middle ground, then? “There is a bit of a middle ground,” he adds. “You just try to find balance.”
“At the end of the day, there are so many bands around. The opportunities you have, you’ve got to take them while they’re there. If you think you can get shitfaced and play badly and it’ll be alright…”
Considering their utterly dizzying schedule over the last few months, this kind of opportunity-seizing attitude within the band isn’t surprising in the least, with Blue Planet Eyes, co-produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, being nothing short of a ten-track testament to the band’s commitment to their craft and diversity as musicians.
“That was such a great experience, working with Jim. You hear such horror stories with bands working with big name producers and getting dwarfed by experience. The band had such a strong identity and Jack and Izzy really knew what they were wanting, it really made it work.”
Blue Planet Eyes boasts so many different energies, from the anthemic Better Than It Ever Could Be to the delightful melancholy of Two Tone Melody, and even an ode to Sydney nightlife in the form of the sinister, pulsating Rock and Roll Rave, that when Bensen professes the band is “itching to get back into the studio,” it makes us wonder what direction The Preatures will take sonically in future.
“It’s so hard to say what we’ll do next. Taking away from this album, what we were looking for was perhaps something new to us, something that would excite us again in being a band and wanting to play together.”
Our guess? It only gets better.
You can catch The Preatures on the remainder of their Blue Planet Eyes tour, with support from Holy Holy, on the following dates:
Thursday, November 20, Barwon Club, Geelong (tickets)
Friday, November 21, The Waratah Hotel, Hobart (tickets)
Saturday, November 22, The Forum, Melbourne (tickets)
Friday, November 28, The Hi-Fi, Brisbane (tickets)
Saturday, November 29, Sol Bar, Maroochydore (tickets)
Friday, December 5, The Hi-Fi, Sydney (tickets)
Saturday, December 6, Metropolis Fremantle, Fremantle (tickets)