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:: Spotlight :: An Interview with The Butterfly Effect

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Brisbane band The Butterfly Effect rock back into the lives of Australian music followers with a brand new album “Imago” and a huge national tour taking in as many cities and country towns as possible. The album went in at No.2 on the ARIA album charts and their tour has been filling venues as they indicate how much the band has matured since their first album. They also have a new single out, titled “Gone”. I had a chat to guitarist Kurt Goedhart and drummer Ben “The Bushranger” Hall.

This is the second biggest tour I've seen. How is it going? It's more a question of which places aren't you playing?

The tour has been going really well so far. The Hi Fi Bar show in Melbourne was one of the best. It’s a great venue. We had an original plan of doing the tour in two stages – firstly a lap of Australia, then a break before doing another lap of the country. We would have been hitting the city centres first, then the outskirts/outer areas. We’d never been big enough to draw crowds on the outskirts of cities. This time, with Roadshow Music’s support, we’ve pushed the interest wider to cover a bigger area. It’s blown out into one motherf**ker of a tour.

What was going through your minds after the first album? Did you pinpoint what you needed to do to take the next steps forward?

We did heaps of towns long after the first album which wasn’t really a means of promoting something specifically, like a single, DVD, etc. We were just going out on the road. It was as if, “Yes, we need to do another lap, and another”, thinking that you’re playing to the same people all the time. Then it occurred to us that we weren’t playing to the same people all the time. Each time we thought these might have been futile shows, we realised there were new fans there. So we had this dilemma.

Much of that first record was frustrating for all of us. The way we wrote it initially was not the way you’d want to write a record. We’d be in the studio for a week, then tour, then back in the studio – all stop start. That process has helped us but it was a little rushed. Lyrically, this time we wanted to tell a story and not be so cryptic. I think the general public prefers a story as well, so we focused on that. More a concise story. Kurt wanted more melody to work with. Those sorts of things were noticed after the first record. We’d became a full time touring band for a couple of years. We were just cruising and partying.

Have you now worked out the processes to put into action, especially for a possible overseas tour next year?

There’s talk of going to Europe next year. I don’t know if that will happen. I would like to see us set aside the writing time so it doesn’t conflict with other plans. Ideally, we’d release a record, play it live, and then put a stop so we can dedicate time to songwriting for the next record. We missed that the first time. With the way in which it was written we didn’t understand the significance. So we need to work that out properly. We were so much in tour mode that we didn’t write anything of note. We needed to sit down and go through the faults of the record. We got back from Europe and there was slight tension within the band but, once we looked forward to our common goal, it was a lot easier to work cohesively.

Was there a worry in possibly alienating the fans of your earlier sound?

That can be the case for any record. Already we can sense that we can take things even further on the next record. It keeps us interested as musicians. The key factors and ingredients are still there from before. You have to have things ticking over and keeping interest for yourself.

You were produced by Joe Barresi (worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Limp Bizkit, Blink 182). You had delays in the production. What did you learn from the experience?

The longer that Joe Barresi took, in keeping us waiting, the more songs we wrote. There were probably three or four key tracks written in this period that ended up on the record. Barresi was tough to work with. He’d just reached the pinnacle of his career – working with Tool. He’s a straight-forward producer – very concise. We were a bit of a loose band at that stage. He has high standards and it’s made us better since we returned home. As people, we probably didn’t get on that well. It was more a matter of simply getting the job done.

Was it a realisation that you may not need to record overseas?

Yes, it’s quite prevalent that, after doing this overseas, you don’t really need to record outside of Australia. Look at The Living End, for example. It can be stressful when you’re away from home, particularly if things aren’t going that well.

The growing fan base, through your website and MySpace page, has obviously helped in shaping this mammoth tour and to cement your position as a top-rating Australian band…

It’s interesting with the Internet and MySpace in particular. For the last ten years, the Internet has crippled the music industry. Now, MySpace is single-handedly bringing back the independent music revolution. Music from any band in any country is so accessible now.

I thought it was a good decision not to include “Phoenix”, your download-only song from late last year, on the “Imago” album…

Yes, we thought it served its purpose as a type of “filler” in between albums. It gave the fans a chance to experience the direction in which we were moving, as a teaser towards “Imago”.

The Butterfly Effect is currently on a mammoth Australian tour. Check our national gig guide for all the dates. “Imago” is available now through Roadshow Music/SonyBMG.

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