Tertiary Links

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Nick Mason Joined: 13th April 2011
Last seen: 17th April 2014

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Ball Park Music

 

Brisbane indie-pop troupe Ball Park Music are set to bring their reputable live show back to Melbourne. The 180° Tour, the band’s most ambitious yet, has frontman Sam Cromack in a spin. “The tour’s been a massive step up from where we were previously: bigger venues, more ticket sales and it’s just been quite surreal for us to watch it all unfold.”

 

The group’s growing popularity should come as no surprise: their sensational debut album, Happiness & Surrounding Suburbs, wasn’t ever about to slip by undetected. Fun, occasionally feisty and ultimately infectious, Ball Park Music prevailed as the definitive feel-good group of 2011. “We’re a really high energy band, so even if I bring a really kind of sombre piece of music to rehearsal, because the nature of the musicians in Ball Park Music, they’re going to make it really upbeat and energetic,” Cromack explains. “There’s definitely some miserable songs hiding in amongst all the poppy music, too – Sad Rude Future Dude has some of the miserable lyrics I’ve ever written!”

 

Concerning Cormack’s songcraft, there exists a conscious struggle between light and dark. “I’ve got to admit that I’ve always been a lover of sadness in music but I’m increasingly worried that I’m losing my ability to explore it in my music. Even when I have sad content in my lyrics, I just can’t help but smack it with a two and a half minute pop song,” he muses. “I think I’m losing the ability to make the music sound sad – either that or I don’t have the guts to do it because I just think it’s going to have zero appeal. We’ve become such a ‘radio band’ that I would feel a bit guilty if I were to deliver a five-minute slow-burner.”

 

Cromack displays a healthy appreciation for pop. “I think it’s a bummer that pop’s become a dirty word in this day and age. To a lot of young people, you mention pop and they just think of Top 40, mainstream artists. Even they cop a lot of criticism – artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry – but sometimes I find their songs more scintillating than some of the watered-down indie-pop bullshit that you hear on other radio stations.”

 

“For me, pop music is essentially The Beatles. I grew up with so much of The Beatles in my life and they’ve set such a benchmark of what pop music was and still is to me,” Cromack explains. “It’s really difficult for someone like myself to take away the influence of their songs – especially early Beatles, where it’s just the most outstanding and most straightforward pop rock. It’s just incredible and I’ve always had such a great appreciation of it.”

 

Ball Park Music have forged a career upon their own pop sensibilities, quickly emerging as one of the nation’s most exciting new acts. Cromack remains diplomatic concerning their stature, however, feet planted firmly on solid ground. “Even though we’ve achieved a lot of things that I fantasised about for years and years – some of the places we’ve played, the artists we’ve played with, or getting in the Hottest 100 and all those kinds of things that I wanted to do since I was very young – all those things have come and gone in the blink of an eye.”

 

Typically, the only way to recapture the same kind of success is to work harder still. “It’s absolutely a slog,” Cromack confesses. “Last week I drove from Brisbane to Sydney, played five shows in a row, then spent another day driving back. I’ve worked every day since I’ve been back and my mind and body feel really fried at the moment. Last night I was pretty much having a meltdown to my girlfriend. It takes a lot of perseverance, I guess, to get up and keep doing it. It’s just really exhausting.”

 

Following the tumultuous evening, Cromack resolved to review the way forward. “We have immediate plans, a lot of touring to finish, Groovin' The Moo and some other stuff. We’ll start recording our second album.”

 

“I think I’ve actually reached the point where I need to sort of ask myself what I’m trying to achieve here. I don’t want to just get stuck in a monotonous and repetitive routine of album, touring, album, touring. There’s gotta be someplace to go. I think that’s when you have to get back in touch with the music you’re making and make the music that you want to make. I think perhaps I will be giving that a little more thought now. You become so busy it’s very easy to lose sight of why you do it or what you’re enjoying.”

 

BY NICK MASON

BALL PARK MUSIC play a plethora of shows at The Corner soon: Saturday April 14 (soldout), an under 18s only matinee show on Sunday April 15 from 12.30pm, Monday April 16 (sold out) and Sunday April 29, which is sure to sell quickly. They also play Groovin' The Moo in Bendigo on Saturday May 5 (sold out). Happiness & Surrounding Suburbs is out via Stop Start/EMI.