With their first demos released in 2014, The Bottlers are a folk-punk band from Sydney.
Music has always been prevalent in vocalist Matthew Black's life. “I kinda grew up with Irish music in the house,” he says.
“At first when you're a kid and your father comes home and is blasting Irish music at 3am you're not the most adherent to it. But when you're older you try and find out about yourself, and you find out maybe music is something that runs in the blood.
“I was looking around for a guitarist and found Ned McPhie, so we decided to sit around and take a few songs that I'd scribbled down and bring them to life. People sort of start coming to life in regards to joining the band; it's an organic process,” Matthew explains, referencing the band's nine members.
“This tour is our first proper interstate trek out of the paddock. This is the first time we'll all be crammed into a tiny bus together.”
Nine members doesn’t cause too much trouble for the band though. “If the stage is too small for us, we jump into the crowd and become part of that,” Matthew says.
The Bottlers songs come to life in various ways. “Sometimes it's on guitar, sometimes it's spurred on by conversation, sometimes it's wordplay; it's how the moment wants to manifest itself,” Matthew says.
When asked about the ideas he likes to explore with his lyrics, Matthew talks about seeing the beauty in ordinary things, quoting famous Australian poet Henry Lawson. “There's golden hearts in gutters.”
However, Matthew doesn’t believe there are too many overarching themes in The Bottlers' work, describing their EP as: “A clatterbag mishmash bringing everything together.”
A lot has changed between the band's first demos in 2014 and their self-titled EP released in 2017. “Our demo was recorded at a music school, [whereas] for this one we went to proper studios like 301 in Sydney with proper engineers.
“The first one we mixed ourselves in half a day.” Matthew says. “There's always going to be progression, maybe honing in a self-awareness of what your abilities are and what you would like your abilities to be in regards to songwriting and recording.”
The Bottlers often perform at folk festivals, which can bring a different audience to those who attend smaller, headline shows. “At folk festivals you get a public holiday vibe. Everyone's stress levels drop and everyone is open and receptive to music.
“At smaller gigs, you can pull out the punk energy. It depends on the crowd, depends on the night, depends on the feeling. You might pull out more ballads and not as many ass-kickers.”
When asked what's in store for The Bottlers, Matthew says plenty. “We have an idea of actually recording an album this year. We have a few ideas in regards to not only bringing our music to life but other people's music.
“Ned from the band and I have a vanity label called Cutthroat Folk. We have ideas of putting together a little mini folk, folk punk and punk fest called Cutthroat Folk Fest.”
The Bottlers are set to embark on their biggest tour yet. “It's the first time as a band that, besides Canberra, we've been outside New South Wales. It'll be nice to get a new perspective and new ideas and meet some new folks around the tracks.”
The Bottlers Tour Dates
Sat 24 Feb - The Bearded Lady (Brisbane) Sun 25 Feb - Small Ballroom (Newcastle) Fri 9 Mar - Tumut River Brewing Co Sat 10 Mar - Bar Open (Melbourne) Sun 11 Mar - Goldfields Music Festival (Castlemaine) Fri 16 Mar - The Grand Hotel (Sydney) Sat 17 Mar - St Patrick's Day (Wollongong) Sun 18 Mar - Sydney St Patrick's Day Parade @ Moore Park Fri 23 Mar - Junction 142 (Katoomba) Sat 24 Mar - Frankies Pizza (Sydney) 29 Mar-2 Apr - National Folk Festival (Canberra)