Interview: Johnny Wishbone from ‘The Snowdroppers’
We chatted with absolute legend Johnny Wishbone from Aussie blues-rock band The Snowdroppers. He told us all about the new album, what to expect from their upcoming tour ‘Gluttons For Punishment’, and that he’s pretty keen for a sauna.
So, Australia Day on Tuesday, how did you celebrate?
I actually worked, so I didn’t really get to celebrate at all! I did have a couple of sensible ales in the evening to celebrate, but I didn’t get to do any barbeques or anything like that, unfortunately. I didn’t get to listen to the Hottest 100 but I heard The Rubens won? So that’s pretty cool, I guess! It’s cool that it’s an Aussie band that won.
You’re renowned for outrageous and crazy live shows, what’s been your craziest/scariest live experience?
That’s a very good question! Playing Bluesfest was just an incredible experience, seeing that many people there. You know, I though maybe they’d come to the wrong tent or something! That was pretty crazy.
Let’s talk ‘Business’ briefly, it’s a step forward for you guys musically, moving from a raw blues rock sound to a more polished collective sound, was that a conscious decision?
I don’t actually know! I was talking about this with my guitar player the other day, and I think the way The Snowdroppers started was quite unique because we started for a very specific purpose, and then decided to keep going. So that first album, we were writing to a sort of brief, you know what I mean? And that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy what we wrote; we loved blues music and country music. But it just wasn’t the only music we liked. We all listen to a lot of different stuff! So I guess on that second record, we struggled to sort of find that balance. And then this time ‘round I think we just sort of went, “F*ck it!”, and at the end of the day, we all just sort of avoided big choruses and hooks, and we just wanted to keep it a bit groovier. I don’t exactly know what our sound is, just because of the nature of how we started. So it’s just us continuing to explore, you know?
What’s the reception been like since the release of the album? I know you’ve had some huge shows recently, including your set at BIGSOUND…
You know what, I don’t even know! I tend not to read the reviews anymore, so this time I actually don’t know. I think, like all of our albums, some people liked it and some people hated it. I know people want us to keep rehashing that first album again, and it’s so good that they really connected with it, but at the same time we’ve got to be true to ourselves. If we don’t believe in it, an audience isn’t going to believe in it, and we’ve gotta keep moving forward.
Now, ‘Gluttons for Punishment’, it’s a big tour for you guys, what can people expect from this tour that they may not have seen before at your shows?
We definitely want to try and make it a bit special. For years now we’ve wanted to try and crack that “next level” and enhance the live show. So we’re looking into that now. It’d be cool to have some pyrotechnics!
I read that you’ve got a film crew coming on the road with you, fast approaching a decade doing this, how do you keep things fresh to maintain that passion and drive to continue year on year?
Well we’ve been doing this for a long time now, and we’re getting older, so I think it’s just knowing that we can make the show a good one. I think that’s what it’s all about, just making sure that we’re doing it really well every time we go out there. Keeping that quality up is what maintains the drive. Like with anything, if there’s a job worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. And we play lots of internet video games, of course.
What’s the writing process like for you guys?
I think we’re sort of at a point in the writing process where we all want to change things up for next time around. At the end of last year, before we went on a break for Christmas, we all got around in a room and just had a jam to see what would happen. That was kind of cool, because we don’t do a lot of that. We’ve never been one of those bands that jam. The last record was really a labour of love for Paul, our guitar player, because he really locked himself away in his room and demoed a bunch of stuff, always working on it. I think changing that process up for us is what keeps it fresh.
Even though the album hasn’t been out for too long, are there already plans on new music?
We don’t know what it looks like yet, but we’ll definitely do something this year. As I said, we’re sort of in this state of flux. Stay tuned!
Is there anything in particular that you’re really looking forward to for this tour?
Probably the sauna. Hopefully the accommodation has a sauna. I’d really like that!
The Snowdroppers ‘Gluttons For Punishment’ TOUR DATES
SAT 20 FEB
The Foundry, Brisbane
FRI 26 FEB
Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney
FRI 4 MAR
Get Tickets HERE