Interview: The Bennies
After their huge set at Festival of the Sun where they completely dominated the festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it was time to have a chat with Craig and Bowie from The Bennies. Considering how nuts these guys go on stage, I was slightly anticipating this interview would be taken in the same direction, but contrary to what I was anticipating, I can say these guys were two of the nicest and well-spoken people I’ve had the opportunity to interview.
You guys are coming up to the end of a pretty massive tour, how has it been so far?
Craig: Yeah. This is the second last week of it, but it’s been really fun. We ended up turning nine shows into fourteen, so it’s been so great. It’s for our new single “Get high like an angel”, which has been so much fun, and playing to everyone today was an absolute banger.
Do you prefer playing festivals or your own shows?
Craig: We love them both. Last night we played in Long Jetty, and it was a small, club show that got real sweaty. But then obviously it was great to walk out today and have a big crowd and have a few sing-a-longs. There’s just something nice, that seems extra about festivals, like the setting and the open air. Especially here, it’s sunny and the breeze is beautiful.
Bowie: I saw a guy surfing a boogie board over the crowd during our set. It was such a great crowd.
Your set was so incredible; a few people I have spoken to all agree it’s been the best of the festival so far. You guys put in so much on stage, you must be exhausted after doing that for a whole tour?
Craig: Yeah, we definitely get tired. But it’s one of those things; it doesn’t matter how tired or hungover we are, as soon as you step out onto the stage and see how excited and pumped up everyone is, you just go into auto-party-pilot.
You guys all look like you’re genuinely having the best time on stage too.
Craig: It really is the best.
Bowie: I think it would be impossible to not have fun at these things. We all have such a good time doing this.
Craig: We’ve all been friends for a really good time, and even when we’re not playing the four of us will always get up to mischief. It’s so much fun being in this band, and the crowds just make it so much greater.
Tell me about the album you have coming out next year.
Craig: So it’s called Natural Born Chillers and it will be out on February second, so we’re pretty buzzed.
Bowie: We’ve been playing a couple of tracks off it live now, which has been really fun.
Craig: Yeah we threw a couple into the set tonight which was nice. But we’re just so excited to release it. It’s coming out on Pool House Records, which is our friends The Smith Street Band’s label, so really excited to be a part of that too.
I actually remember talking to Wil (Wagner) about Pool House Records last year at this festival, I think it was just before it was launched.
Bowie: Yeah that would have been around that time! We all talk to each other about everything; we’re really just a big group of friends from way back, so it’s so exciting to see them kick things off on their own label, and it’s even more exciting to be part of it.
How long were you working on the album for?
Craig: It was a quick one. We were in Europe with Smith Street in July; we had a bunch of songs and we were thinking we should do an EP, but then we were like fuck it, let’s just record them all and get them all out. So we went into the studio in August and in less than a week we pumped it out. And we’re also going to go back into the studio in February and do another album. So there will be two Bennies albums next year
Have you started writing for the next album yet or are you still focusing on the upcoming one?
Craig: Yeah, we’re knee deep in that one at the moment
Bowie: Craig has even started a new Instagram account for the album.
Craig: Yeah, it’s called the Songwriting Chronicles.
Bowie: I don’t even really know anything about it, Jules and Craig have been having their own side sessions where they write tunes and jam a bit in between sound check and things like that. Sometimes we can be mulling around venues for eight hours, with not much to do in the first half of the day, so these boys just started writing heaps.
Craig: We’ve just been writing them in all these funny places; like we were in a stairwell for one, because when everyone is sound checking you’ve got to find somewhere quiet, so we’ll go to places like a hidden stairwell, a rooftop, football field. And we thought we should just start taking photos of it, and hopefully when the album comes out there will be a collection of photos where all the songs were inspired from and started.
So is the sound of Natural Born Chillers going to be similar to what you’ve put out in the past?
Craig: It’s pretty much the same sort of stuff. I think what we try to do differently is the writing process, and when we record we just try to make it the best we can. So we haven’t gone in and done any freaky recording techniques or anything like that, we just banged it out and hopefully it will sound like a party. But on this one, we have tried to get a little quirkier with some tracks, there is one song on there, actually called Natural Born Chillers, which is one genre the whole way through, which is something we don’t normally do because we’ve got a pretty short attention span.
Bowie: It’s got a real reggae vibe to it, so not sure if people will dig it or not, but too bad if they don’t because it’s on there. There’s also a bit of a rumour going on about the recording; that we recorded every song in one take.
Is the rumour true, not true?
Bowie: Well that’s hard to say, I think we’ll just leave it up in the air and when people hear the album they can make up their own minds about it.
Fair call. So with the album coming out does that mean there will be a tour next year?
Craig: Yeah there will definitely be a tour.
You guys seem to just be constantly touring.
Craig: Pretty much. We’re going over to Europe in April/May next year, so we’ll probably be over there for a month doing some headline shows and festivals which is always fun.
Bowie: But in the meantime there will just be a lot of PlayStation going on.
Is this all you do now; you don’t have other jobs?
Craig: Everyone has a couple little things on the side, but this is pretty much it; it’s taken a long time to get here but we’ll just keep on rolling.