The Follow – Here, There and Everywhere!
Despite some limited success and a few shows supporting big names like Sonic Youth, Eskimo Joe and Nine Inch Nails, The Follow are still one of Australia’s best kept secrets. They have recently returned from the United States, playing shows throughout L.A. and New York, recording with producer Nick Launay (Silverchair, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave) and generally spreading Followy goodness across America.
Between houses, between countries, between shows and between recording sessions, Azaria, The Follow’s guitarist/vocalist allowed us to quiz him on the bands travels and upcoming album.
Loud Noise and Pictures: The Folow’s line up has seen a few different faces come and go since the last album, how is the band’s chemistry at the moment?
Azaria: Well the first album was recorded by me alone. I then got my close friends from high school to join the band and make the album come alive. Since then until now, we have put out an EP through Warner and toured with NIN, Sonic Youth and Amanda Palmer [Dresden Dolls], and touring up and down the east coast of Australia for 3 years. Released and toured ‘Smashed Heart’ in the UK and toured America… You’re bound to lose a member or two after all that. However the band is at its strongest at this point in time because we’ve been lucky to have found people who can sustain the road and maintain the ability to have a creative journey. Its been five year’s and I guess KJ (bass and Vocals) and I are the original members still standing. We’re really proud of everything we’ve been through. Our latest guitarist Jak was our guitar tech who toured with us for a year, and naturally, joined when it was time. And we met our new drummer (Steven) in NYC when we toured there.
LNaP: What were you expecting to happen when you headed over to America? And did everything live up to expectations?
Azaria: We expected just to play a few shows, maybe get an agent or a manager as we’re in between management at the moment – and to record with Nick Launay. The States gave us more then we had expected. We’re releasing a new EP from America to everywhere in the world except for Australia/New Zealand (as Warner owns the rights to release us here). We recorded ‘Love Bomb Revolution’ and a new song called ‘Break’. We found many management offers and agent offers after playing a few shows. But the best thing was all the help and love our fans gave us. From accommodation, to lending us a BMW – thank you. There was something for us to do every night in Los Angeles. It was a fun trip.
LNaP: How receptive were the U.S audiences? How different is the Australian scene to the U.S. scene?
Azaria: The Australian scene has always been welcoming to us. I guess the only difference is that there s more people over there. And you could play every night around California and meet new people and scenes. Where as in Australia, a band like ours could only really play once a month in every major city in Australia. The main reason we found ourselves in L.A. was because of the support that Nick Launay has given us and gave us when we were over there.
LNaP: Was there a great deal of difference between the New York and L.A. crowds? Which was better to play for?
Azaria: Well we played 6 shows in 5 days. On our last night we played in NYC and we jumped in the cab to go to our next show in Brooklyn. Everyone from the first show came across the bridge with us, even the bar guy. The Brooklyn show was on at 1pm on a Sunday night and the place was packed. We made some loyal fans in NYC. And I got to meet Anton [Newcombe] from The Brian Jonestown Massacre and he gave me his red glasses. It’s nice to see the world through another’s perspective.
LNaP: Did you get to play with any good bands audiences may not be aware of? Did you happen to play with any bands that we may already know?
Azaria: Yes we played one show in N.Y.C. and L.A. with The Veronicas. They are more underground over in the States and it went down well. That was fun and they’re such a good band. We played a show with Dizzy’s band from Guns ‘n’ Roses too. We played about 15 shows all up over there; we were more concentrating on our recording. But were lucky to pick up the shows we did along the way
LNaP: How is it coming back to Australia? Does it feel like its good to be home, or do you wanna go back to the circus?
Azaria: We have a lot of people back here that we dearly missed, so it’s been good meeting up with them. We’re just taking things a bit easy here and not playing shows. We’re kind of homeless at the moment, Jak’s in Newtown borrowing a room, KJ’s out of town and I’m in Brisbane visiting my granny. Being scattered around has been fun but we’re looking forward to going back to the states in a month to complete our recordings and play more shows.
LNaP: You’re playing again soon in Brisbane, has The Follow’s live shows changed at all since you last played on Australian soil?
I was just doing an acoustic show. But I think every time we tour we learn something new and refine our show. Plus we have lots of new songs now.
LNaP: The Follow has been recording again with Nick Launay, how is it different this time around?
Azaria: It’s more focus and from both sides we’re working faster and creating more than before. We have developed a really good relationship with him inside and outside of the studio and recording process. So we have become very comfortable with him. And like a film maker loves to film on film rather then digital, we are the same in that since recording with Nick both times, we’ve recorded live as a band to tape. It’s all sounding better then ever, because the band’s at its strongest level then it’s ever been.
LNaP: What can we expect from the new album – and more importantly – when can we expect it to be released?
Azaria: I’d say it will probably be out in the States before Australia. Early next year we think. But it has a very focused direction, unlike the schizophrenic first album, I guess playing for so long, we’ve kind of developed our own thing now. We still try new things, but the first album was like every idea into 12 songs. It kind of sounded like a compilation album. But I was young and had a million ideas. And I’m glad I got it out of my system back then.
LNaP: In the past you’ve performed on stage with Amanda Palmer (from The Dresden Dolls), how did that come about – and who else would you love to perform alongside with?
Azaria: I’m actually playing a solo acoustic show in Los Angeles with her next month…like Trent [Reznor] from NIN someone had played our music to her and Amanda contacted us through a friend. She’s the kind of artist that picks and chooses who she wants to play with. Which is refreshing because mainly agents decide, but we have been lucky, Sonic Youth, NIN and Amanda Palmer have all hand picked us to play with them. And we are very honored of course… we’d love to play with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, KJ wants Hole to get back together (me too) but it can t be 1995 forever. Nick Cave is touring America later this year too. But he always gets a more subdued band to support him. But a kid can dream. We’re just dreaming and liking reality of a dream…
LNaP: What are The Follow’s plans for the rest of the year?
Azaria: We’re going back to America to finish our album and get it ready to release and we’ll be back in Australia for a tour in December.
Plenty of kind thoughts go out to Azaria for his time and effort.
I strongly recommend you all Follow your heART and see the band in action if you are in the Brisbanian or Californian regions – and keep an eye and an ear out for their new album when it drops.
|The Living Room||Brisbane, Queensland|
|Bar Sinister||hollywood, California|