After years of touring and performing all over the world, John Butler finally returns home with his first album of new material in four years.
Aptly titled 'Home', the new record from John Butler Trio treats listeners to a journey through the past four years of life for the highest-selling independent artist of all time. “'Home' is a lot of different things, I guess you could start with the simplest cliché: 'home is where the heart is',” John says about the album.
“So 'home' can be where my family are, where my partner is, but I think 'home' on a deeper level is where you reside in yourself, where you sit and what peace you find within your own heart and your own mind.”
John says he started writing the album when he took a year off the road from his punishing touring schedule and moved back to the country with his family and settled into a new house.
Having found a place to call home after having spent so much time as a musical nomad, once the noise and fury of his work died away John was able to start exploring his own interpretation of what it means to be in one place.
Even though 'Home' is John's seventh studio album and his first since 'Flesh & Blood' in 2014, he says his approach to writing and recording has changed little over the years.
“I'm trying to create these awesome hip hop-based and dance production kind of things and overlay my fingerpicking, folk songs over the top and I think it's because of being influenced by amazing artists like Beck, he does it so well.
“I'm often listening to a lot of pop music – I'm listening to a lot of Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Damian Marley, Ed Sheeran and Adele,” he laughs.
“That's all the music I'm listening to, but then I go away and I write these folk songs that are really just traditional folks songs really. The fingerpicking technique is hundreds of years old, played on an instrument that's hundreds of years old.
"I'm always trying to marry these worlds and I've been trying to do that probably ever since [2004 album] 'Sunrise Over Sea' – fingerpicking over hip hop beats.”
One thing that has changed for John is the pre-production process, with the advance of consumer-friendly technology such as GarageBand granting artists a much higher degree of access to industry-standard production tools.
“For years it was all so out of my reach because I'm a bit of a luddite,” John says.
“But having an iPad and GarageBand, all of a sudden I could produce a song quite easily... all that drum machine stuff I love and the bass synths I love, I could write the beats with my head and create something I'd been hearing in my head for quite a long time and it was quite an insular project in a lot of ways.”
John Butler Trio takes 'Home' on a national tour with Missy Higgins from January next year, but will officially launch 'Home' when he performs at Caloundra Music Festival (Sunshine Coast) at the end of September. “I always look forward to playing to anyone live and especially in the festival situation,” John says.
“At the same time I go 'yeah, I hope they like the new stuff'. When you go to a festival you're hoping to hear people's 'best of' and I do that but I also always make sure I'm planting seeds for the next year's harvest.”
'Home' is released 28 September.
John Butler Trio perform at Caloundra Music Festival 28 September.
John Butler Trio Australia Tour 2019Fri 25 Jan - Wignalls Winery (Albany)
Sun 27 Jan - Leeuwin Estate (Margaret River)
Fri 1 Feb - Kings Park & Botanic Garden (Perth)
Thu 7 Feb - Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne)
Sat 9 Feb - A Day On The Green @ All Saints Estate (Rutherglen)
Sun 10 Feb - Stage 88 (Canberra)
Thu 14 Feb - Sydney Opera House
Sat 16 Feb - A Day On The Green @ Bimbadgen (Hunter Valley)
Sun 17 Feb - Park Beach Reserve (Coffs Harbour)
Wed 20 Feb - Moncrieff Theatre (Bundaberg)
Thu 21 Feb - The Great Western (Rockhampton)
Fri 22 Feb - The Riverstage (Brisbane)
Sat 23 Feb - Tolosa Park (Hobart)