Interview with Adam Brand
Arguably one of Australia’s favourite country musicians, Adam Brand’s latest record Get On Your Feet isn’t the stereotypical glum yet wistful sound most often associated with the genre.
In this interview with Jackie Smith, he discusses why he wanted an upbeat vibe for this release, what to expect from his current tour, and how his tour mates are settling in.
Congratulations on the release of your latest album, Get On Your Feet. It sounds great. What was the inspiration behind the record as a whole?
Thanks mate. Look, this record I wanted to feel good at the end of it. I wanted to have a big grin on my face and feel positive and uplifted. I wanted it to be fun. I didn’t want people to listen to it and go, “Oh, [I’m] feeling a little bit down in the dumps now.” The album, the tour, this whole year’s all about letting your hair down and having a good time and feeling good.
You recorded Get On Your Feet in Nashville and in Sydney. Can you talk me through that process and how it influenced the album’s sound?
Sure. These days, with technology the way it is, you can do album’s like this. I can be recording in Sydney, and I’ve got a friend who plays fiddle or guitar over in Nashville. I can send them the files and then [they can] send it back to me all in a day.
It really does open up the possibilities of using different musicians and different people that you want. You don’t have to have them there. It opened up, and broadened my horizons a little bit. I got different influences, different people working on the album. I think that added to the overall sound of the album being a bit new and fresh.
I read that you had hundreds of songs to choose from for this album. Was it difficult to whittle them down to a handful?
You would think it would’ve been, but it wasn’t really. The songs that I was really in love with, I just kept putting them in a little playlist and kept listening to those over and over again. If a song started to bore me or I just thought it wasn’t right, I’d just delete it from the playlist. So, basically, I ended up whittling them down to the ten songs I loved the most, and I kept wanting to listen to.
In your opinion, how does Get On Your Feet compare to previous releases?
It’s new, it’s fresh. But, you know, hopefully if I speak to you about the next album, I’ll be saying the same thing. You always want to grow [Laughs].
You’ve just started on tour with Matt Cornell and Gemma Kirby to promote the album. What’s the reaction been like so far?
It’s great. I’m taking them out on the road as the opening support acts. They’re very talented; they’re doing great. People are loving them so I think people are really going to discover them on this tour, and fall in love with them too.
I interviewed Gemma about the tour a couple of months back, and she was really excited about it. What’s she like as a tour mate?
She’s great. She’s a great girl. Her story’s amazing. She’s a 25 year old girl who sings, but also drives trucks in the mines. She’s one of the gang, one of the team now. Everyone loves her. [She’s] part of the family.
She was worried about the physicality of the tour given how energetic you are on stage. Is she keeping up so far?
[Laughs] She’s doing fine. She doesn’t have to run around as much as I do. But she’s holding her own.
What can people expect from one of your live performances if they haven’t seen you before?
It’s fun. I want it to be fun. I want it to be spontaneous, cheeky at times. And then at times, I want you to stand there with your hand on your heart and pay respect to people like The Anzacs. It’s very much a show that I want you to come along [to], and forget about your troubles in your day, and leave feeling good.
What songs from your back catalogue are guaranteed to get a good crowd reaction when performed live?
There are songs that I always play on tour, like Dirt Track Cowboy, The Anzac, Good Friends, Hell of a Ride … they’re probably songs I’ll always play at my concerts.
What are some of your favourite tracks from this album in particular?
Because it’s so new, they’re all my favourites [laughs]. One that’s really sticking out for me is If Heaven Has A Soundtrack.
What do you enjoy most about touring?
I love being on stage and singing for people. Seeing people’s reaction, meeting people. You just never know what’s going to happen when it’s live. It’s not a studio where you can stop and start again. It’s a great environment to play music.
Do you feel any pressure when preparing for a new album or tour such as this, given your previous success?
Not really. I’ve always said to myself to follow my heart with music and make sure I record and sing songs that I really like first. I think if you do that, and be sincere and be true to yourself about it, the rest will follow. That’s the main thing, you’ve got to be happy with it yourself.
You’ve been in the industry for quite a while now. How has it changed over the years?
It’s changed dramatically. My first three albums came out on cassette tapes [laughs]. So, with the digital age and YouTube and streaming, how you get the music out there is changing a lot. But at the end of the day, the foundation is still the same. It’s all about connecting with somebody through music.
What does music (and country music as a genre) mean to you?
Look, I love country because I can really sing songs that I have firsthand experience in. I can write songs from the heart about things I know intimately, you know.
Country music is also not so fashion-orientated. It’s in fashion today and gone tomorrow. People within country music are very loyal and it’s more a way of life than just a passing fad.
What would you class as some of the highlights and lowlights of your career thus far?
Every career has ups and downs, just as everyone in life has ups and downs. What I feel is most important is what you do when you go through those low times, breaking through and moving on into a more positive space. For me, it’s overcoming those things.
And having amazing supporters who are very loyal is a big part of how I get through those times and those down times. That’s why I’m very grateful for country music and the way that people do support me.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Go from your heart. Shoot from your heart. Don’t do anything because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. Don’t do anything because you think that’s what people expect you to do. Do it because it’s true to you, and then you can’t go wrong.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Well, because it’s new album time at the moment, I’m not really listening to a lot of other stuff because my head’s been immersed in the studio; and immersed in the songs and the new tour. At the moment, not a lot.
In a bit of downtime, I’ve discovered these two guys called Two Cellos. They play these cellos amazingly and they do all these modern songs with it. Occasionally, I’ll put that on to give my head a bit of a rest.
For full tour details and tickets, visit Ticketmaster.
Connect with Adam Brand
- Jackie Smith