Q&A Scene: James Chandler ~ PERCH CREEK

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

Our current single Gold Shop is a convoluted tale of mischief set to a 60s inspired funk groove. It’s about Eileen’s alter ego as a moustachioed dude getting into trouble for crimes commited by his own alter ego (a shady female)… are we confused yet? The film clip fleshes it out hilariously. Gold Shop is just one taste of our forthcoming self-titled album which sees us expanding our sound from folk/roots to more electric instrumentation, epic arrangements and intricate melodies. We will be dusting off our dancing gear for the national album launch tour which kicks off on the 31st May in WA.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Definitely a vegetarian buffet with a little bit of everything and a healthy amount of cheese. We write all the songs together as a five piece and have three lead vocalists, so naturally we end up with a lot of diversity in our sound. We are all vego which means that from time to time we have to eat shitty food when touring in places that can’t comprehend the “v” word. It’s part of our bonding as a band.

Which of your songs resonate most strongly and why?

“Daffodils” is one of my favorites – it has great imagery and a lot of cool metaphors in the lyrics, which work together with the melody, rhythms and arrangement so well to create a real journey. The song isn’t released yet, so until the album comes out in April, you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Tell us a quick, on the road, anecdote.

We like to have fun wherever we go and one time when we were on tour in Europe we decided to go rapid riding on the clear blue waters of the Aar river in Switzerland. It was amazingly fun until we realised that part of Christi’s prosthetic leg had fallen overboard and been swept downstream into oblivion. The next day we had to busk all day on the streets of Bern with Christi on crutches to earn the money needed to get a new one made up by a local prosthetist. It was a miracle that it all got sorted out within a few days…

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Personally, I’m inspired any time anyone expresses themselves fully and truthfully on stage or anywhere at all. As for musical influences we listen to everything but it’s hard to deny that what speaks to us most strongly is that 60s and 70s era rock, folk and soul.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

“A Simple Twist of Fate”/every Bob Dylan song – his rhymes always seem so simple that you always think “I could have done that!” but you know that you couldn’t have…

What’s next for you?

The self titled album will be released in April, followed by a tour of Oz in May-July, then who knows? Whatever happens I’m just happy to keep writing music and keep playing for those people that dig our sound, whether they are a big crowd or just my two bunny rabbits…

What’s your scene?

We keep a pretty low profile in Deep Preston – a suburb that can’t decide whether it’s inner or outer Melbourne… We are also running an arts space in Coburg North called Bighouse Arts that keeps us pretty busy and in good artistic company.

Energetic folksters Perch Creek are back with a mischievous new single Gold Shop, a thrilling car-chase of a track, out March 23.  The family band have also announced a hilarious, vintage-inspired clip to accompany Gold Shop, directed alongside Honey Editorial.  This single is the second taste of Perch Creek’s new self-titled album, which is an eclectic and innovative collection of harmony-driven folk, evocative pop and offbeat soul, set for release on April 13.  To celebrate the album, the group will be heading out on an epic national tour, kicking off on May 31 at Fly By Night in Fremantle, WA, then swinging through regional and metropolitan cities in NSW, ACT, QLD, SA and VIC.

Gold Shop is a serious groover –  funky as all get out, but still hitting that pop song bullseye.  It’s not only the irresistible music, but also that enjoyably perplexing storyline that makes you want to watch it over and over again.  Perch Creek’s bassist and token non-sibling, James Chandler, explains, “It’s about [lead singer] Eileen’s moustachioed male alter ego bemoaning the woes caused by his own alter ego (a shady female) who is committing crimes and getting him/her into big trouble.  Are we confused yet? It was inspired by the multitude of gold ‘souks’ in the world’s capital of bling, Dubai, where we spent a week performing at a shopping festival.  It wasn’t exactly Golden Plains but we managed to have a great time nevertheless.”

The clip for Gold Shop is an out-and-out winner – imaginative, fun, and channeling the best bits of those brilliantly corny 70’s action flicks. The audience are kept on the edge of their seats, following the escapades of the group as Eileen tries her best to avoid the cops who are chasing her for a crime she didn’t commit.  There’s dancing, bands in vans, bikini girls, court trials and clever chase scenes – all coming in at under five minutes!  Reflecting on the clip, James says, “We came up with the general concept of a 70’s style action chase (inspired by the classic Beastie Boys film clip for Sabotage) featuring our Kingswood, maybe a fake moustache and the backdrop of the North Coburg industrial zone [in Melbourne’s north].  It wasn’t until we met Sasha, who directed and shot the film with Honey Editorial, that the screenplay really took shape. They capitalised on our comic acting and made full use of our vintage car and bike collection to create an epic, hilarious and at times confounding 4 and a half minute action flick.  It’s definitely the coolest video we’ve done yet.”

Gold Shop is almost an anomaly on this diverse new album from Perch Creek.  Recorded and produced by J. Walker (Paul Kelly, Jen Cloher, Machine Translations) and mixed in collaboration with Andy Stewart (Gotye), stunning arrangements and glorious harmonies abound, soaring particularly high across the divine album-closer Belle.  Opening track Why Won’t You Come Home features brooding rock organ over lamenting vocals in the verses, breaking into a head bopping major-key chorus. The song is driven by pulsing bass lines that continue to groove their way through Mama Sings and the rest of the album. While vocal duties are shared amongst the group, and stylistic elements vary from track to track, there’s still a definite sense of cohesion throughout this intriguing release – these are clearly very skilled musicians, and their shared musical childhoods is evident in the way they can turn any genre into their own sound.  In keeping with the creative process honed on previous albums, all the music and lyrics on this release were written in a five way collaboration beween band members. This album has been a long time coming and marks a distinct change in direction for the band, as James explains: “After our last album we felt that our folk/roots/jugband phase had come to a natural conclusion so when it came to writing this album we just jammed and let the music come naturally.  Lyrically there’s some themes of disillusionment, a lot of reflectiveness plus a random song about a gold heist…” “(Finally releasing the album) feels like a Baywatch-style slow motion run toward the ocean that has lasted more than three years, but has finally reached the point where we are diving in and beginning to taste the salt water…”

The group are set to play a massive run of shows to celebrate the release of the album – expect to see and hear multiple lead vocalists, lots of sibling vocal harmonies and a lot more electric guitar than old fans may be used to, while still maintaining the band’s trademark mix of intensely high energy songs interspersed with atmospheric ballads.

Perch Creek is Camilla Hodgkins on keyboard and vocals, Lear Hodgkins on drums and vocals, Eileen Hodgkins on guitar and vocals, Christi Hodgkins on trombone, saw, harmonica and vocals and James Chandler on bass and vocals.

Gold Shop is set for release on March 23, and Perch Creek will available through MGM distribution on April 13.

PERCH CREEK AUSTRALIAN TOUR 

With special guest Jumpin’ Jack William (excluding *) plus more TBA

All tickets available from www.perchcreek.com

THU 31 MAY | FLY BY NIGHT, FREMANTLE WA | 18+ *

SAT 2 – SUN 3 JUN | DENMARK FESTIVAL OF VOICE, DENMARK WA | ALL AGES *

THU 7 JUN | LIZOTTES, NEWCASTLE NSW | ALL AGES
FRI 8 JUN | THE METROPOLE GUESTHOUSE, KATOOMBA NSW | ALL AGES
SUN 10 JUN | SMITHS ALTERNATIVE, CANBERRA ACT | 18+
THU 14 JUN | BLACK BEAR LODGE, BRISBANE QLD | 18+
FRI 15 JUN | MIAMI MARKETTA, GOLD COAST QLD | ALL AGES * FREE SHOW.
SAT 16 JUNE | STAR COURT
THEATRE, LISMORE NSW | ALL AGES
SUN 17 JUNE | PELICAN PLAYHOUSE, GRAFTON NSW | ALL AGES
THU 21 JUNE | THE WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG VIC | 18+
FRI 22 JUNE | THEATRE ROYAL, CASTLEMAINE VIC | 18+

SAT 23 JUNE | THE EVELYN, VIC | 18+
FRI 29 JUNE | JIVE BAR, ADELAIDE SA | 18+

SUN 1 JUL | THORNBURY BOWLS CLUB, MELBOURNE VIC | ALL AGES

FRI 6 JUL | MAJOR TOM’S, KYNETON VIC | ALL AGES

SAT 7 JUL | SANDY POINT MUSIC CLUB, SANDY POINT VIC | ALL AGES

Pre-order: PERCH CREEK

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About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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