The Seabellies.IT will be a return to an old stomping ground when Newcastle six-piece band The Seabellies play at the Great Northern Hotel on New Year’s Eve.
‘‘We used to do a residency at the Great Northern. It was a venue that really helped us hit our straps. We played there on a Sunday night for a couple of years,’’ frontman Trent Grenell told LIVE. ‘‘But we haven’t played there for maybe four years or 4 years. I really have no idea what to expect, so I’m looking forward to it.
‘‘It will be really interesting. We’re usually away on New Year’s Eve playing a show, so it’ll be nice to be home for a change.’’
The Seabellies formed in Newcastle in 2005 and two years later won the 2007 Garage to V competition, edging out more than 400 bands across the country. The win earnt The Seabellies the chance to play alongside the likes of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and The Pixies at Sydney’s V Festival.
The same year The Seabellies took out the major prizes at the 1233 ABC Music Awards .
Many festival gigs followed, along with several local and international supports, including for Evermore, Something for Kate and Augie March.
In 2010 the band released its debut album By Limbo Lake, which Rolling Stone magazine described as ‘‘bustling, widescreen indie rock’’.
Fans also warmed to their indie tunes with sweet melodies and trickling guitars including Young Cubs, Heart Heart Heart Out, Prairie, Trans Ending and Board the Apartment Up.
The six-piece is back in Newcastle ‘‘in full pre-production mode’’ for its next album after stints in Melbourne and Europe to write the material.
The Seabellies spent a month in Melbourne writing and playing shows in late 2010, when the band hit the headlines after a group of thugs attacked them.
They recuperated in Newcastle and played a few east coast festivals before heading to Europe on their own journeys, reconnecting later in Berlin to write.
‘‘We wanted to see how getting away would influence our writing, it was different in Melbourne but it wasn’t quite different enough. We were being influenced by similar things, but we had some different ideas in Berlin certainly,’’ Grenell said.
The frontman said that both a change of scene and exposure to new types of music in Germany helped kick-start the creative process.
‘‘It was a bit of both really, just different experiences from general life. There are a lot of different types of bands and genres of music across Europe,’’ he said. ‘‘It was six months in Berlin and we had access to a studio right in the city, the Eastern Bloc.’’
The Seabellies didn’t play shows during their six months in Berlin. They focused instead on writing and demo-ing songs ready to record next year in Sydney.
‘‘We’d just come off our album cycle and toured five singles and so we all just took off and did our own thing and reconnected in Berlin. We just started getting back into it, it was more of a writing mission than anything,’’ Grenell said.
‘‘It’s been five years of touring so at the end of the album cycle we just took a few months off. It’s hard to schedule six different lives and you don’t have a lot of down time when you have singles to tour, so it was nice to have a little breather. It doesn’t take long before you realise you’re itching to play again; I can’t wait.’’
The new album, which is as yet unnamed, will be recorded with what Grenell refers to as the ‘‘A Team’’: Berkfinger from Philadelphia Grand Jury and Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, Hoodoo Gurus, Augie March).
Grenell said the new material had a link to By Limbo Lake but also marked a progression for the band.
‘‘Melodically it’s not a far cry from what we’ve done before but it’s going into a bit more experimental territory. Essentially we’re a melodic-based band,’’ he said.
‘‘Our first album was written while talking to a lot of record companies so we had a lot of mixed messages and were pandering to a lot of people. It was kind of not-the-most comfortable and natural situation to make an album. But this time we’re completely comfortable and had a lot of support from our publisher. It’s a more natural and organic way to make a record.’’
Grenell said the band had learnt lessons during the six years since forming and is in a good place to record its sophomore album.
‘‘We’ve got the things in place that make it a lot easier for us these days. It’s still a very tough industry, but we’ve managed to get a lot of support for our music and we just want to put albums out and tour and things like that.’’ Despite assumptions that country cousins can face more of a struggle to get into the music industry, Grenell said coming from Newcastle worked in the band’s favour.
‘‘Initially when we started to try and hit the Sydney scene it was a positive. It seemed to work out for us. When it comes to photo and video shoots, people from Sydney love the fact we’re from Newcastle and are always pushing to do things in Newcastle. It’s a different vibe.’’
Sadly, Grenell has witnessed an increasing number of live venues closing in both regional and capital cities in the years since The Seabellies formed.
‘‘Some have closed in Newcastle and Sydney recently. In the last year Sydney has just been decimated,’’ he said.
While the band has no New Year’s resolutions yet, scoring a spot in the triple j Hottest 100 for its song Board The Apartment Up would be a bonus. To vote click here.
The Seabellies will play at the Great Northern Hotel on December 31, with support from The Owls. Tickets at thegreatnorthern.oztix南京夜网.au.