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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



Killian Gavin stops by to talk to Mark about the biggest year yet, a never-ending tour schedule and Soft Rock...



Rock music comes in all shapes and forms and last year's Harlequin Dream showed a more soft rock side to Australia's Boy and Bear, and it's proving to be a sound that the world is sitting up and taking notice of. We catch up with Killian before a mammoth year of touring takes hold...

Mark: Hi, how are you doing? It’s looking like a very busy year for you already!

Killian: Yeah, absolutely! Getting a mixture of excitement, mixed with a bit of apprehensiveness, I guess!

Mark: I suppose, looking at the tour dates, this is going to be the biggest year for you.

Killian: Absolutely, we’ve done a couple of big ones before, but this, although the other dates aren’t publicised yet, we are pretty much locked out until December. It should be fun!

Mark: It all kicks off at the end of the month with the European tour, you are playing a lot of dates there, and looks like a lot of them are sold out. What’s it going to be like going over there for a bit of winter?

Killian: I was born in Ireland, so I have this underlying edge, where I love the cold. I absolutely love it, and I’m so keen to get over there, and wear coats and scarves and all that kind of thing!! Playing the shows is just like an added bonus!

Mark: It will be good, and there’s a lot going on over there, and then you go over to the States in March with a whole lot of dates. Have you been there before?

Killian: Yeah, we’ve done three or so, tours previous to this.

Mark: Do you find the reception to you changes each time you go over?

Killian: Yeah, I think America is the most different of all the places we’ve toured. I don’t think the Americans drink much, or are as rowdy as the Australians or the Poms, so they are a lot more kind and they stand back and really listen to the music and clap politely! It’s a peculiar thing, not what I would have expected, every time we’ve been they’ve always been so quiet, which is sometimes a nice thing because they are attentive.

Mark: Yes, it’s strange, not quite like the Japanese!! Definitely a different crowd! Of course, the big news for us here is the national, regional tour, which means some of the country areas get to see you, in April. How did the idea for that come about? Was it always something you wanted to do, take the band to areas where people don’t get to see you?

Killian: Exactly. That’s pretty much it, we’ve always done regional shows, but they’ve always been 2 or 3 hours from a capitol city, this time we are really going out to some far off places, in to the Styx, and also I think it’s a combination of things, one, we really enjoy it, and some of these places have really beautiful theatres or entertainment centres, they are still relatively small venues, but for towns of that size, they’re just stunning and beautiful. And, also a lot of people are just stoked that you make it out there, because obviously, not many bands travel out that distance. It does cost more to go out to these further away regional towns, than it does in the city, but we will continue to do it, because we enjoy getting out there.

Mark: It is great to see, and to see some of those places it will be a lot of fun. I always hate labels and pigeon holing bands, but I am also equally fascinated by how bands see their own music. How would you describe the music of Boy and Bear?

Killian: I can’t agree more, the whole idea of genres and labelling bands, and boxing them in, is something I’ve always really struggled with. Whenever I listen to the music and read a description, I always hear something so different. I feel the same about our band; we get thrown in to a whole different bunch of categories, and I don’t have an issue with that! Some of them I absolutely love, I just don’t try and agree with it, because I don’t see it myself, which is I guess, an age old thing. For me, I sort of hear it as, I would hear our first record being drastically different to our second one, more so than anyone else would, because I’m on the inside of the project, so I do just hear the second record as a rock record, we did set out to create an American style 70’s kind of soft rock, if I can use that lame term!! Although a lot of people hear it as a “ folk” record, it doesn’t bug me either way, what they say, but I just hear it so differently myself.

Mark: I think people’s perceptions change over time, and to some extent it depends on the age of the listener too.

Killian: Absolutely, that’s a really good point. You try and avoid reading the reviews and stuff, because usually you hate what you read, but every now and then you read one and you really agree with what they’re saying, and there can be two reviews about the one show and they can be drastically different! So, you just have to put it down to the person who’s writing it, to really interpret it so differently. I think that’s just part of life, so you just keep rolling along, and don’t worry about it too much!

Mark: What sort of music did you listen to when you were growing up?

Killian: Cliché, I know, but I listened to all of my parents’ record collections! The first record my dad gave me was “Help” by The Beatles. I listened to every single lyric, every single chord, when I was a kid, and I’m still obsessed with The Beatles, they are a fantastic band and incredibly creative. I grew up in the nineties, so it was a constant mixture of old stuff, like Fleetwood Mac, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, and all the stuff my parents listened to, and that was mixed with listening to Pennywise, and things like Nirvana, all those rock kind of things in there! I still listen to a lot of the sixties and seventies stuff, plus some new things, but the song writing is fantastic from the older stuff, and it sticks around!

Mark: Yes, it was a great era for music, and I think we’re getting some of that creativity back as well. Congratulations on the number one album, “Harlequin Dream”, which is obviously a great achievement for any band, to get a number one on the charts. Does laying down an album like that make you think about how your sound has changed? You mentioned before there was a big difference between the first album, and the new album, and I actually hear that myself, so is there a sense of progression when you lay down a new album?

Killian: Yeah, absolutely. It’s usually quite drastic, and I think all of us in the band would experience it on a much higher level, than anyone who’s listening to the record. You are constantly looking back, especially at that first record, it was an awesome time making it, and we were still in a really naïve period in our career, we were just starting off in a new industry. I think you do stuff that just really excites you, and you are running on high energy, but then you become more settled in to this kind of job, and understanding how it all works, and you hopefully get better at writing songs. I think then you see a better way of doing things, we found a better way by just writing much simpler songs, and much simpler parts, that was something we spent a lot of time talking about before we started making this new record. We talked about what sort of band we wanted to create, and who did we want to sound like, and everyone in the band likes the old music, so it ended up like Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen. In the end, the progression was, we put our foot down, and wrote much simpler songs, and we made bigger dynamic changes by doing more subtle things and spent more time refining this new album.

Mark: It’s a great change in sound, and I love the comment, I think is on the website, about America’s “Horse with no Name”, and the fact that it’s only two chords, and so the simpler things can make a huge difference. I think with Boy and Bear, you’ve brought back that story telling aspect to song writing.

Killian: It’s great you picked up on that, Dave is our main lyric writer and Tim helps out a lot as well. The first album was more aesthetic, and he would talk about much more intangible things, with this album, it was really hard for him, he spent a lot of time writing lyrics, and he really wanted to make it as lot more biographical, a lot more narrative based. Most of his songs are now telling stories, that you follow along and apply to your own life, and I think that for me is one of the biggest changes on this record.

Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any great album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you, and why?

Killian: “Imagine” by John Lennon, and not because of the song, but because of the song “Jealous Guy”, that is probably my most favourite song of all time.

Mark: That’s a great song. Finally, what is the meaning of life?

Killian: Shit!! I would think the meaning of life is relationships, I think friends and family is the absolute best thing in the world, and everything else comes after that. That’s my deep and meaningful moment for the day!!

Mark: That’s great, we ask everyone that one!! Do you think music can change the world? There was a lot of talk that it did exactly that in the sixties and the seventies, do you think it’s still that force these days?
Killian: I think it’s easily as powerful, as it’s ever been. What I think has changed is the way that we perceive music, and the world is so small, and there’s the internet and all these thing joining us, so you can discover things so much quicker. I think people spend less time with one thing, and more time with many things. So, I think the music for one person might change their world, but maybe not change everyone’s.

Mark: That’s actually a very interesting point; no one has ever come up with that answer before.

Killian: I went to Uni. and studied music, and this was one of the biggest things that I actually loved to talk about, we talked about the death of the “superband”, and not to get too elaborate, after the year 2000, they argued there has never been another “superband” created, like a Bruce Springsteen, or Coldplay. (Time runs out).

Mark: Thanks for that, Killian, Take care.

Killian: Thanks for that, Mark.




Killian Gavin spoke to Mark Diggins February 2014





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