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Interview: Flying Bison

7 April 2016

Steven, Paddy, Tom, Jeremy and Hayley make up local Melbourne Band Flying Bison. They released their EP “Keep Your Distance” in October 2015 and last month was their second performance at UniMelb’s North Court. Farrago’s Claire Jobling sat down with the band for a chat before their North Court performance.

The five members of Flying Bison all met through school and family friends and have been playing together for just over two years now. “It was basically anyone that wanted to tack on until we found ourselves five people to make the band” explains Paddy. Steven adds, “just Paddy and me it’s been five or six years now” to which Paddy jokes… “long enough that we should be better than we are.” The two boys started out making “just noise in the garage” before they found more people to join the band.

Their musical influences range from Bowie to The Smiths and Led Zeppelin. Early on the band started out playing Foo Fighters covers but now their repertoire has moved on to include some Kylie Minogue and a mash-up of Mylie Cyrus’s Party in the USA and Wrecking Ball. When asked their dream artists to perform with answers range from James Brown to Green Day, Alice in Chains and of course Miley Cyrus.

Our conversation turns to some defining moments the band has shared so far. “We’ve opened for the Hoodoo Gurus” exclaims Paddy. Steven corrects him adding, “we played 24 hours before them. It was just at the same festival, Ares Inlet Open Mic.” “I’d still call that opening for them,” Paddy laughs. The band will also be performing on Friday the 13th of May at the Thornbury Theatre with Steven’s dad’s band ‘The Smoking Figs.’ I’m promised everyone there will be in costume for the auspicious date.

Steven brings the conversation back on topic from our tangent about crazy Halloween/Miley Cyrus costumes. He gestures to the trees around us at the edges of North Court and the BBQ being set up in the distance commenting, “Melbourne Uni North Court is a really good gig to play. It’s nice to play and have people that aren’t there just to see you.” Paddy adds jokingly, “let’s be honest people’s priorities here go free drinks, free food, say hello to the sound mixer, burritos, Flying Bison.”

I ask about the band’s song writing process. “Paddy or Steve will come to rehearsal with a shell or most of a song and we flesh it out,” Tom answers. “Once we work out the music part Hayley will sing along with melodies and come back the next day with lyrics.” “And I’ll just play what I’ve been told” concludes drummer Jeremy.

Track three ‘Souls Alight’ on their four song EP ‘Keep Your Distance’ was the first song they wrote together but I’m Paddy adamantly tells me it sounds very different to six years ago. “When it started out we had a riff of just three or four notes and just played that over and over again, and we built on it when we had more people to play other parts.”

“It’s so weird calling the songs by their real names, because we still call them by their working titles,” Jeremy tells me. “The song ‘Things I Should Have Said in Earnest’ I wrote the morning that Katy Perry did her famed Left Shark Superbowl performance, so we called that song Left Shark. I said to Hayley if she could work the words left or shark into the lyrics that’d be great” Paddy explains. Jeremy continues…. “‘Half Love’ was called ‘The Smiths’ because it kind of sounds like The Smiths. ‘Souls Alight’ was called ‘The Loop’, but that makes no sense, ‘Calling Out’ sounded like a song called ‘Last Goodbye’ but it wasn’t as good so it got called ‘Bad Bye.’

As I thank everyone for taking the time to chat they cheer we’ve done our first sober interview guys!”

Check out their music on Bandcamp: https://flyingbison.bandcamp.com/releases