After a recent east-coast Australian tour with American singer-songwriter Hannah Aldridge as well as a US jaunt with Nashville icon Amelia White in March, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes are headed back out on the road, this time with good mate Ben Leece as part of the 'Friends And Acquaintances' tour.
With a new single to promote ('The Road'), Lachlan, being the fine storyteller he is, has taken the time out of his busy tour schedule to talk about going into 'the family business', 'good hangs', and becoming a 'more mature' adolescent.
At what point in your life do you feel something clicked within you and music became more than just a hobby? It seems to have happened gradually.
I grew up with music all around me, but as a teenager I sort of rebelled against it – like I didn’t want to go in to ‘the family business’. But in my early 20s, I realised I was spending more time in guitar shops than in my uni classes, and then I got mixed up in a couple of bands.
I got a ‘straight-job’ job for a while, but I wasn’t very good at it and my mind was always on songwriting, so eventually I quit and took up the family business after all.
What elements of songwriting, performing and general ways of going about things have you drawn from working with Ben since the beginning of your friendship? We’re still in the early stages of that friendship, but I’ve noticed Ben has a calmness about him that is kind of reassuring. He’s a classy guy – I hope that some of that rubs off on me.
What sparked the need for the 'Friends And Acquaintances' tour? I think it’s important to give people an entertaining show – and one of the best ways to do that is to collaborate.
Taking two bands on the road doesn’t happen very often in our scene, but I think it’s more interesting for the audience. Our bands are very different too – our songs and performing styles are different, but it gives people value for their ticket. For us, it’s also a good hang.
How does the onstage dynamic differ from playing solo gigs to going on tour with a band backing you up? Well, my solo gigs tend to be pretty spontaneous – I’ll dig deep in to the back catalogue or pull out a sketch of a new song or some obscure cover that I know most of the words to.
The band are more organised, disciplined and rehearsed – we structure the set and make sure it’s a show that’s going to work. Either way though, I always tell a lot of stories between songs and try and make it feel conversational – that’s become a big part of what we do.
How has your songwriting and performance developed over the past few years? I’m probably tougher on myself than ever – very few songs that I start ever make it as far as the rehearsal studio. I’ve always been a bit like that, but as I get older the quality control feels more important.
I feel like I have adult stories to tell now – I was mentally an adolescent until recent times. Maybe I still am, but I’m a slightly more mature adolescent at least.
What is the best part about doing this tour with Ben? Playing music on a stage is my favourite thing to do in the world. Doing it with my friends – my band – makes it better. So therefore doing it with two bands full of people I genuinely like makes it even better again.
Tell us about the development of Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes from your inception in 2008 to the release of 'Black Coffee' album in 2013 and to now on the 'Friends and Acquaintances' tour? We started as a four-piece band that had gotten together pretty much straight out of school.
We knew very little about anything, but we were guided by some great producers and some very supportive people like our first manager Tracey. The line-up has changed a few times – but original bass player Shaun Ryan and I have always remained in the band, and our original guitarist Andy Wrigglesworth and his wife Laura Coates (both from The Weeping Willows) are often re-absorbed into the band (including for last year’s European tour).
We have a new guitarist on this tour – Riley Catherall – and he’ll be joining us in Europe and the UK this year also. He’s fitted right in.
Do you have any love stories of your favourite instruments? I bought my Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar between our first and second records. It was and still is the only guitar I’ve really ever passionately wanted.
Sadly it got damaged pretty badly on a flight to Glasgow, but the great Rob Buitenhuis at Guitars & Things in Frankston has kept it alive with loving care. I’m also very fond of the old piano at my parents’ place – it belonged to my grandfather and it’s the instrument that my mum and her sisters learned on, and later my brother and I learned on it also.
What are you most proud of in your musical career? I don’t look back on things very often (at least not in a positive way) so that’s hard to say. Probably just particular songs.
What is your best piece of advice for anyone starting in the music career or for life in general? Practise and learn as much as possible. And spend less time on your phone (something I’m working on).
Seriously though, I think the music world is full of people telling artists about all these different things that are important to your ‘career’. But this is a pretty pointless career to get in to unless you’re prepared to spend most of your time and energy just making music.
What can fans expect from Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes for the rest of your shows on the tour? We have some new songs to play – and some new ways of playing the old ones. We’re digging deep in to our catalogue and I’m telling stories that are a bit more direct and honest than I’ve told before. We’re getting braver.
Ben Leece & Lachlan Bryan 2019 Tour Dates
Fri 17 May - Junk Bar (Brisbane) Sat 18 May - Junk Bar @ 3pm (Brisbane) Thu 23 May - Sly Fox (Sydney) Fri 24 May - Stag & Hunter (Newcastle) Sat 25 May - Paddock Sessions (Hunter Valley) Sun 26 May - Flow Bar (Old Bar, NSW) Thu 30 May - Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues (Geelong) Fri 31 May - Caravan Music Club (Melbourne) Sat 1 Jun - Rezza House Concert (Melbourne) Sun 2 Jun - Billyroy’s Grassroots Music Club (Bendigo)