The Blackwater Fever
Dark, light…dark – the mood shifts in cycles for Brisbane blues-rockers The Blackwater Fever, who have found themselves exploring their more light-hearted side on second album 'In Stereo'. Fans of debut record 'Sweet Misery' are in for a bit of a surprise, according to vocalist/guitarist Shane Hicks, who also adds that any changes to their musical direction aren’t likely to stay permanent, however.
"Well our first album was pretty dark and moody, this one is more upbeat, and the stuff we've got for the third album is going back to the darker sound," explains Hicks. "I guess after Sweet Misery we just wanted to hear something more rock 'n' roll and upbeat in terms of the feeling we put out. There are still some slow songs on this album, but we just wanted to try something pretty different.
"The first song, In Stereo, was written in an old funk and soul kind of beat, for example. The next album we're working on, we'll be going back to the darker territory yet again."
Rather than describing it as a 'return' to The Blackwater Fever's original sound, Hicks claims the band's third album will be slightly reminiscent of Sweet Misery but definitely a step in a forward direction, particularly thanks to new band member Jed Walters on the keys.
"Jed came along at the tail-end of me and Andrew [Walter, drums] finishing off In Stereo," recalls Hicks. "He didn't contribute to this album but he'll definitely be making a big contribution to the next one. We'd been looking for a third member for quite a while, but because just couldn't seem to find someone and there weren't even that many people to choose from. We actually sort of gave up and forgot about it and kept working as a duo, then Jed called out of the blue!
"We wanted to meet up with him first just to see if we would even get along with him, but when we sent him some tracks and saw what he did over them, we realised he was the right choice. We clued him in on what we were sort of after, but we wanted to leave it up to him to play his parts over the top of the demos, so we didn't give him too much…"
Not only a keyboardist, Walters is also an organ player as well as talented on the mandolin. Thanks to his new bandmate's musical chops alone, Hicks claims he is already looking forward to laying down the new tracks as soon as possible. Sure the band have only just officially launchedIn Stereo, but when those juices start flowing it makes sense to keep up the momentum, as the vocalist/guitarist agrees.
"I'm itching to start recording again!" enthuses Hicks. "Having that third member now, it's sped up the writing process so much, whereas In Stereo took us a long time to finish. We did it in dribs and drabs, just locally at a mate's (Skritch) studio. If you are someone who's come to our shows before and heard us live, then you may have probably already heard some of the new songs. Still, having Jed come on board with us lets us have lots more interplay between the bass and electric guitar and having a cross between melodies. We've got the ability to make much more interesting arrangements."
With an east coast tour currently underway, Hicks says Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane especially better get used to The Blackwater Fever because the band plan to return at least another few times by the end of the year.
"We want to hit Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane at least three more times in 2011. We've just had such a great response so far - we played the Bluesfest just recently and that was pretty much our second gig of the whole year. We did play a small gig just before that in order to break the ice. Bluesfest has been a pretty big deal to us because we really managed to fill out the tent! We also played an hour-long set for both days, we got to play with The Black Keys, and the response was pretty amazing. Andrew and I have been together for five years, and I would say that's definitely been the highlight so far."
THE BLACKWATER FEVER return to launch their brand new album, In Stereo (out now through Plus One Records) with shows at The Barwon Club on Friday May 13 and at Pony on Saturday May 14, with very special guests Jackson Firebird along for the ride. Check out THE BLACKWATER FEVER’s facebook page as well for your chance to win a double pass to one of their shows.