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An Interview with Castlecomer’s Bede Kennedy

Sydneyside champs Castlecomer have been making moves this year and have big plans!

– interview by Dariya Salmin

So for those of us over here on the west coast who aren’t familiar with Castlecomer, tell us a bit about the band?
Ok well we are a five piece from Sydney, we’ve been around since about 2013, but we we’re kind of like hobby musicians for about two years and then midway through 2014, we started to try and be serious and try and write songs, not as a joke. So we’ve been touring for a long time but in terms of writing and recording music, it’s been about eighteen months or two years. We’re all from the same suburb in Sydney called Tramone? And we’re all related except for the keyboard player. So we’re a weird incestuous band.

Yeah so two of you are brothers and the rest are cousins? Is that right?
Yeah pretty much.

Oh cool, so how does that dynamic work between you guys? Is it super fun? Or does it get a bit tense sometimes?
I think the tension is a lot higher than it would be if we weren’t related. Probably because we can push the boundaries of what we say to each other, you just have to stay together because you’re related. So it gets pretty serious sometimes but we’re all friends so we go out anyway and we’ve been hanging out since we were born so it’s good in that regard.

That’s awesome. And so your EP All Of The Noise, is set to release October 7th, what’s the process been like so far?
It’s been amazing. We’ve been releasing singles off it for a year now, so we’ve just packaged them all up and just called it an EP. But it’s been great, like I said we’ve just been recording for fun and sort of tried to take it seriously and we released a song last August called Fire Alarm and it got quite a lot of plays on Spotify and we’ve just been hugely surprised to the response towards the songs we’ve been releasing. So yeah we’re stoaked, we’re really pumped to have it all out and just go on tour and play the songs.

What was it like, because you did the EP with Scott Horscroft and Jean Paul Fung? Is that right?
Yeah yeah yeah, Scott Horscroft – he’s great, he’s got his own studio on the central coast of NSW and he’s like a huge veteran. He did four other songs and JP did Fire Alarm. Yeah it was mad. They’ve got very different styles, but they both kind of worked really well. Yeah we were really happy. And it’s the first time we’ve ever used a producer, so that was really interesting. Yeah it was great, it was awesome! We had a sleepover for the first time at the studio, so that was really cool. We got right into it.

Yeah sleepover time, getting really serious now!
Yeah that’s right!

And so how does Castlecomer’s song writing process work?
At the moment, I’ll write the skeleton of the song and then I’ll bring it to the band and we’ll play through it. Everything just pretty much gets changed once the band comes in. But the initial idea of the song has been coming from me at the moment and then we sort of fix it when we practice and then go into the studio with it. So everyone sort of writes their own part.

And because you’re all family no one probably holds back with their opinions as well?
No they’re very very brutal.

[laughs] that’s good and bad I guess.
Yeah, well it keeps things honest but you’ve got to, because in the music industry the concept of rejection is an everyday occurrence so you’ve got to have thick skin and know that it’s not personal and they’re just trying to make it better.

Yeah definitely. So you guys just released the new single Judy with the really fun and interesting video clip directed by Ben Sheen, so tell us about the single and what the video clips all about?
Well the single is just sort of about being in a relationship that is not society-approved. Like you know it might be abusive or something like that and it’s just from the perspective of the weaker party. We’ve gone and twisted it so it’s the boy who is the one that is suffering, which is very rarely the case. I just wanted to make it an interesting thing. So we sent it to the director Ben Sheen, and he was like ‘you know it’s kind of dark, let’s just do something a little bit fun with it. And I want to put you guys on a green screen, and then I want to super impose you covered in toothpaste and put you in the mouth of this character Judy as she’s brushing her teeth.’ And we were like ‘what the hell?’ he was like ‘bring your denim jackets and your leather jackets, we’ll just get you down and dirty.’ So we ruined a few jackets in the process of having shaving cream and tooth paste all over us, it was really fun! And we had never been on a green screen before so that was cool. Yeah it was great!

Yeah it was a really fun video clip to watch, the lead actor was awesome, the girl Judy.
Yeah she was amazing, she’s a NIDA graduate. It was really just trippy and something we hadn’t done before. We liked that it was different.

Yeah it was, I thought it was really cool. And so you guys supported Safia at the start of the year, how was that experience?
It was great. We supported them at Wollongong Uni and then we supported them two weeks ago at Thredbo, which was really cool. They’re super professional, really organised with their gear and their crew and like all our gear is broken and you know we’ll be on stage and one of the guitars will break or whatever, but they’re just so professional touring, so it’s really good to see that sort of stuff. It’s pretty much what we need to be doing, like buying guitars that work. So yeah that was good! They’re really cool guys and we played in the snow so that was interesting because it was super cold. We were told we were going to be playing outside and we all bought fingerless gloves to keep us warm but because it was raining they had to bring it inside, so luckily we kept warm!

That sounds fun and I guess with Safia being so professional it would be a good indication of what it would be like for you one day!
Yeah I know, except our style of music is different as well, so we can’t be too prepared, for instance they’ve got a laptop with all the tracks going and underneath they’ve got a back-up laptop that picks up the beat, so there is no beat that gets lost if it breaks, so it’s super high tech. Whereas during our sets like with the guitar, my string broke and they were just like ‘here you go, you can use mine’, but we’re going to make it happen [laughs].

[Laughs] Baby steps! So you’ve got the national All The Noise tour coming up in November-
Sadly it’s not national and I can’t even pretend it’s national because we’re not going to Western Australia. We’re going to save our money and we’re going to come over! We’ve been to Western Australia three times and we friggen love doing it, it just costs us four and a half grand to get over there every time-

Yeah I was going to ask!
We froth it over there but in the studio in October we were spending all our money, just before we were to go on tour so I dunno we’re trying to sort it out so we go early next year to Adelaide and Perth and maybe Margret River and do the west side.

Yeah that would be great! It’s so frustrating living here because we just miss out on so many good bands.
I know I know! And we ‘ve got a lot of friends over there as well, so it’s never the accommodation that costs, it’s just getting the car, getting the flights, getting the gear over. And our publicity team were trying to announce it as a national tour and I was like ‘it’s not a national tour unless we do Western Australia!’

And so on the east coast where are you looking forward to playing the most then?
Well it’s good because it’s in December so it’s going to be hot. So Byron will be fun. Queensland is always fun in December. We’re playing our biggest show in Sydney, it’s like a one thousand cap at Manning bar so that is super daunting for us playing that big of a venue at this stage but we’re really pumped for it, so there’s that one and we always have a really loose time in Canberra. The whole thing will be good! Everything will be good!

[Laughs] Yep all of it! And then after you guys are going to the US?
I’m just going over to meet with some labels, but then after those meetings there’s talk of going back, we haven’t actually announced this to anyone yet, but when we record in October – the songs, a lot of labels want to talk to us about them, so that will probably be early next year, but we will see. We definitely have the intention of getting over there, and we’re lucky because we’ve got a few people asking us to get over there, in terms of labels but it’s just a matter of organising it.

Yeah that sounds exciting! So that’s pretty much the near future plans then? So potentially the US and then WA? Is there anything else on the cards?
That’s right! WA is a higher priority than the US for sure! For sure! [laughs] so hopefully after this tour because we’re fully broke at the moment but hopefully we won’t be after the tour, we’ll be able to get to WA and then get to America. So fingers crossed, hopefully people show up to these gigs!

I’ m sure they will! Ok awesome that’s pretty much everything I have, good luck with the tour! I’m sure it will be great, thanks for taking the time out to chat!
Alright no worries, thanks so much!

Find show details, downloads and more at CastleComerMusic.com!

Photo by Ben Appleton.

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