A change in name and personnel last year has brought about a new phase for South Australian rockers, West Thebarton.
Mid last year the band dropped the ‘Brothel Party’ from their name and introduced new drummer Caitlin Thomas, who replaced Hugh Black.
“Ever since Caitlin joined and around the same time we changed the name as well, things have been a lot more fun for us,” vocalist Reverend Ray says.
“Blenheim is such a fantastic festival in South Australia. The line-up is bloody amazing.”
“We've been touring heaps; we've been doing things here and there playing some nice, big gigs. So it’s been cool and it kind of refreshed the band attitude a little bit as well.
"It feels genuinely like we've started a new band almost – even though we've already had a significant head start, it almost has that vibe, which is really good fun.”
Ray explains the name change came about as a process of the band maturing past their garage-rock roots and becoming more focussed on their music. “When we first started making music it was really carefree garage punk and now it’s more just rock music,” he says.
“It’s good music and we don’t really want to have that scummy, punk label follow us for the rest of our lives because we've changed, we’ve moved in a different direction.
"Also, we really didn’t want to be called that anymore. We didn’t want a name that was provoking and made some people upset, so we wanted to really just make it about music.”
The significant shift undertaken by the band comes through in their new single ‘Bible Camp’, which Ray says was born from a desire to express more creative licence and indulge some of his youthful influences.
“A lot of our newer stuff we wrote, we didn’t have any formula in mind and I’ve loved soul ever since I was a kid; that's what I grew up listening to, mum and dad's soul record collection.
“So ‘Bible Camp’ I think is a reflection of the soul records that I always wanted to make and a lot of people have noticed it, which I’m really glad because that's exactly what I wanted.”
The next few months will see West Thebarton maintaining their forward momentum with more shows as well as releasing new music.
At the end of March, the band will rock the stage at Blenheim Music & Camping Festival, headlining the first day programme along with Mia Dyson, Karl S Williams, Kelly Brouhaha and more.
The second day features, among others, The Black Seeds, Timberwolf and Bootleg Rascal. “Blenheim is such a fantastic festival in South Australia,” Ray says.
“The line-up is bloody amazing, so I think that will be great.”
As well as playing more shows, including some as-yet-unannounced festival slots (the band have since been announced on Sydney's Bad Friday line-up), West Thebarton also have new material planned for release.
Though Ray offers only the slightest tease on the details. “We did a little bit of recording last year so hopefully something will come out of that this year but I guess my lips are quite tight at the moment and I shouldn’t divulge any further information,” he says.
“But it’s going to be a good year and we’ve got a couple of good songs that we want to release.”