Q&A Scene: Victor Kennedy

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
Ride The Blizzard, our new album, was recorded at Incubator Studios in Melbourne. I went in with Tim Brosnan on guitar, David Tillotson on bass, and Des Hefner on drums. We tracked eight of the songs ‘live’ over two days, wanting to get the immediacy of the band all being recorded at the same time, as opposed to doing the drums & bass, then over dubbing ad infinitum. The vocals were done after the initial tracking, and I also added some piano, organ, percussion, and various other noise signals.

Admittedly there are a couple of guitar overdubs, but what you hear is pretty much the band live. The lead song ‘Ride The Blizzard’ was written one night while I was waiting for the album to be mastered, and after demoing it we liked it so much that we went back to Incubator with Jim Richter on drums to record it and the song ‘Dad’. It went from being an off-the-cuff song to become the album title, and is also the first song from the album with a video.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
[pullquote]We’ll be playing gigs in and around Melbourne to promote the album during Spring/Summer, with interstate shows continuing through the Summer and beyond. [/pullquote]A perpetual stew. The pot is never, or rarely, emptied all the way, with ingredients being replenished as necessary. Foods prepared in a perpetual stew develop their own flavour due to the manner in which the ingredients blend together, often improving with age.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?
Like many writer/performers, all the songs on the album have some direct or indirect meaning to me personally, whether or not they are actually from the ‘first person’ aspect or not. As a song, ‘Ride The Blizzard’ says to me that no matter what shit life has to throw at us, and no matter how much, on some days, one might want to leave it all behind, there is something to be gained from riding out the storm to see another day.

Any on the road anecdotes?
A band that I was in during the 80’s was booked to play at a festival in the Daintree Rainforest. We had to sail north from Cairns on a fishing boat, as there were apparently no roads capable of getting us to the site. It was supposed to be an eight hour trip, but the skipper missed the turn off that would take us up the river, and by the time he’d realised and turned back south, it was low-tide and we couldn’t get over the sand bar at the river mouth. This was no cruise-liner with beds and supplies, but we ended up spending the whole night on the anchored boat, and eventually got to the dock the next morning.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life basically, and all that it has to offer through observation and personal experience. I’m continually jotting down notes in my head, into my phone, on a napkin, coaster. Whatever’s at hand. Walking is a great place to write, whether it be a lyric, a rhythm, or some form of melody and metre. I was fortunate enough to have parents who valued the arts and creativity, so from a young age I was given music lessons and encouraged to pursue my own creativity. One of my dad’s friends had come from the Carnaby Street scene of the 60’s, and he gave my sister and I a lot of old vinyl 45rpm records. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the combined effect of all these events.

What’s next for you?
We’ll be playing gigs in and around Melbourne to promote the album during Spring/Summer, with interstate shows continuing through the Summer and beyond. During this time we’ll also be working on new songs, some of which will appear in our live set from time to time. The temptation to rush in and record another album too soon will be hard to resist, but we’ll curtail ourselves as best we can.

What’s your scene?
Getting from one day to the next in a hopefully balanced state.

About Victor Kennedy

Ahead of their debut full length release Ride The Blizzard (due out in October) Melbourne based Victor Ken- nedy You Yangs have gifted the world with a teaser of what is to come via their brand spakin’ video clip for the album’s lead single and title track Ride The Blizzard.

Speaking of the video-making process Victor says : “Working with Amalthea Films on the production of a Music Video Clip for the song Ride The Blizzard was a real treat. We shot it during an intense one-day session at Red Hill Me-chanics Institute Hall, on the Mornington Peninsular, south of Melbourne. The people from Amalthea got the essence needed for this song, without a scripted story-line per se”.

Victor goes on to state, “As for the song itself, it is one of those “off the cuff “ songs that I wrote one night during a period after the album was basically finished. When I played it to Tim and David, they nailed it straight off, and 30 minutes later we’d recorded a Demo version in my home studio. Liking the song so much, we decided to go back into Incubator Recording Studios, where the album was recorded, to lay the song down.”

Victor, like all classic story-tellers, has travelled many miles, and crossed many county lines, and in the process he has gleaned much from his travels transporting his tales of characters on the road and myriad of acute observations into his songs. Along with his band of musical cohorts, Victor Kennedy You Yangs have birthed a debut album Ride The Blizzardwhich sweeps you away into that world of rich story-telling: Aworld of textured layers of Australian indie rock, best likened to The Drones meets Lou Reed.

Victor’s band features musicians from impressive pedigree and all are impassioned musicians who draw upon a wealth borne from years of experience performing in notable Australian bands from the past four decades such as The Birthday Party, Paul Kelly & The Dots, The Slaughtermen, Lobby Loyde etc. , namely Tim Brosnan on guitar, David Tillotson on bass, along with both Des Hefner and Jim Richter on drums. Victor han- dles vocals, guitar and keyboards. Musical influences of the out- fit include the likes of Lou Reed, The Triffids, and Bob Dylan.

At times a wild ride, at others a lilting, soft tapestry, Ride The Blizzard captures the listener’s attention and takes them on a musical and poetic journey. Containing nine self-penned tracks which paint a portrait from Victor’s diverse travels, alongside one David Bowie cover, he’s gleaned imagery and words whilst traversing the planet over the past few decades and shoehorned them into an outpouring of his soul.

The debut full length Ride The Blizzard will be available soon, and like all good art – this collage of music contains equal parts light andshade. Meanwhile you can enjoy the clip here:

Ride The Blizzard – Victor Kennedy You Yangs from Victor Kennedy on Vimeo.

About Mandy Hall 838 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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