If you’re not familiar, here’s what you should know about Boy & Bear – they’re a hard working, harmonious-quintet hailing from Sydney, Australia. They’re currently sitting in the top 20 on the Triple A Radio Charts, and will be playing some notable festivals in 2014 such as Firefly, Sasquatch and this months’ SXSW.
Boy & Bear are set to play their very first Philly show on March 22nd at Milkboy Philly – and to a sold out crowd. This Philly stop is just one on their worldwide tour; a tour that will take them to over 65 cities in the next few months. I was able to chat with Jon Hart (vocals/keys/mandolin) recently and asked a few questions of both the insightful and the random nature, to try and give everyone a good idea about just who Boy & Bear are.
Interview by Carolyn Lederach
TSI: What’s one random fact you’d like to share with us about you?
Jon: I like art of most forms (I don’t really get performance art, sorry..) and I try to stay healthy at the same time as loving food and wine and good company.
TSI: If you could describe Boy & Bear (the band as a whole) in a few words…what would they be?
Jon: Nice boys who hopefully make nice music.
TSI: What kind of music do you relate to the most/What inspired you to become a band?
Jon: It would probably be classic pop and folk music from the Beatles, to Simon and Garfunkel, to James Taylor, to Crosby, Stills and Nash (& Young, jointly and in his own right) and recently some not so classic pop like ELO and some at times rockier sounds like Springsteen.
TSI: Your sound gives a very roundabout melodic/harmonious Indie Folk sound…What do you feel carries over/changes between live sets and your recording, or do you work hard to make sure they’re similar?
Jon: I think our live set has more of a rock edge than our recordings do. Not that we become a rock band on tour, but maybe it’s harder to communicate subtleties live than it is on a studio recording. We work hard on nailing the harmonies live too, but that is probably the biggest challenge especially when things are loud.
TSI: ‘Harlequin Dream’ was written while on the road in the US during the last tour… What inspired the writing for that?
Jon: It’s a record that was a while coming, so the songs were written really since the end of 2011 to when we finished making the record in May of 2013. I think we were all listening to a lot of music from the 60’s and 70’s and deliberately trying to distance ourselves from current trends. I guess we were inspired by simpler song structures, but still with the really effective instrumentation and melodic lines that all classic pop music has.
TSI: Since you clearly spend a lot of time on the road…What’s your go-to activity to kill time?
Jon: Personally I like to listen to music and watch the scenery of the road drift by. And when I need something to occupy me I read a book. We also do general knowledge games like trivial pursuit sometimes (we can be nerds at times!)
TSI: How do you feel it’s different playing in Australia vs. US?
Jon: It’s not that different to be honest, I find that music fans are pretty similar everywhere. Crowds in somewhere like Sydney or Melbourne are quite similar to crowds in London or New York. Big cities can have a similar feel. You feel a bit like you have something to prove in places like that. There is often a lot of music for people to go and see, so you’re wanting to make sure people feel like you were worthwhile them making the effort to come along to.
TSI: What’s your favorite/least fav part of touring the US?
Jon: Sometimes it’s hard to eat healthy when you’re on the road (that’s pretty true for everywhere though).
TSI: If your tour van happened to break down in any city anywhere, which one would you hope to be stuck in and why?
Jon: I love New York, so I might choose there. The subway is great, so you can get around and it has great food and coffee and I have some friends there so I could sleep on a floor in my friends apartment in Williamsburg for a few days.
TSI: If you had a dream tour with anyone, who would it be?
Jon: I think going on the road with Bruce Springsteen would be really something.
TSI: You’re playing some big US Festivals this year – Firefly, Sasquatch, SXSW – How does it feel to be selected for these?
Jon: It’s amazing. We played Lollapalooza back in 2011 and we were kind of shocked by the scale of festivals in the US versus back home.
TSI: What’s each of your guilty pleasure songs?
Jon: Mine might be Tiny Dancer by Elton John.
TSI: What’s your favorite American food?
Jon: I think I’m a New York slice kinda guy.
Here’s a live version of their current single “Southern Sun,” which you may have heard playing across WXPN lately.
Boy & Bear are Dave Hosking (lead singer/guitars), Killian Gavin (vocals/guitars), Tim Hart (drums/vocals/guitars), Jon Hart (vocals/keys/mandolin), Dave Symes (bass)
Boy & Bear will play a SOLD OUT show at Milkboy Philly on March 22nd with Dresses.
Stay tuned for coverage of this show on TSI!
Find Boy & Bear on the web:
Download the new album ‘Harlequin Dream’ here: http://smarturl.it/harlequindream