Mandolinist Jon Hart from Boy & Bear chats to Aoife Valentine about the perils of being an Australian band and the genius of Fleet FoxesAustralian indie-folk fivesome Boy & Bear originally began as several solo projects, meeting between university and the Sydney music scene. They then eventually came together in 2009 to form the band as it is today.
“We all grouped in around Dave, who’s the lead singer and he was doing his solo project. Gradually, he got us in one by one, helping out and then it suddenly was no longer a solo project. It was a band thing.”
Since then, the band has released their debut single, ‘Mexican Mavis’ and an EP, With Emperor Antarctica, while keeping themselves entertained supporting folk-queen Laura Marling on tour and appearing onstage with Mumford and Sons.
Given that they are about to kick off their own tour in the UK and Ireland, o-two asks if it’s all escalated too quickly? “As much as since Boy & Bear formed, I guess it’s happened relatively quickly. We were all doing other things before that in terms of music, so I guess we feel like we’ve put in quite a lot of the yards already. Certainly, things haven’t gotten out of control.”
However, being an Australian band surely impedes their initial ability to gain recognition internationally? “I think it’s just a location thing really. It’s just harder to be here and be touring regularly and be part of a scene, whereas at home we live there, so we’re just around.”
He continues: “It’s tough yeah, because it’s a 24 hour flight to the UK and that’s a bit of an investment for the band to make to say we’ll come and play some shows, but we’ve got a great team on board who’ve made that possible for us.”
When probed about the folk genre, and its revival of sorts recently, Hart is quick to mention two bands which first come to mind upon listening to Boy & Bear’s music: “Fleet Foxes; you can’t ignore those guys. What they do is incredible! And also: Mumford and Sons. I’m really looking forward to seeing where they go with their next album.
“They’ve both done, in some senses, pioneering records. They’ve really got to move onto the second album after that, [so it will] be interesting to see what direction they choose.”
But what about Boy & Bear; once the tour is over, are there plans for an album? “We go into making a record in February. We’ve got a really great producer from the States who we’re really excited about working with, so the plan is to have a full length out the middle of next year.”
Catch Boy & Bear in the Academy on November 30th.