Aussie Rockers Embrace R&B
Brief Canadian interview with Mark Seymour.
Author: Nick Krewen, Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada).
Date: 21st May 1987.
Original URL: N/A
Hunters And Collectors
Downstairs John at Mac, Saturday night
Can you tell the difference?
Mark Seymour, lead vocalist/guitarist for the six-piece Australian band Hunters & Collectors, says he once played in a band with his brother Nick, current bassist for Crowded House, the New Zealand trio best known for their recent hit Don’t Dream (It’s Over).
“It didn’t work,” says Mark, “We were just too similar.”
He then claims Crowded House and Hunters And Collectors share similarities.
Sure, like hot and cold water.
“Maybe my band is more abrasive,” he concedes after a short silence.
When Hunters And Collectors, who play the Downstairs John at McMaster University this Saturday night, burst on the contemporary music scene seven years ago, they more resembled a punk rock band with their shocking video of Talking To A Stranger than the “straightforward, subtle, traditional R&B and soul band” Seymour claims it is today.
“When we formed in 1981, it was a fairly loose arrangement,” he agrees. “We were an open-ended funk band, with long sections of free-form music. A lot of times, we would work on a system of cue-point to the signal the end of a piece.”
In 1983, the band trimmed down its membership to six, which included a brass section of trumpeter Jack Howard, trombonist Michael Waters and French horn player Jeremy Smith.
“We never really considered brass as an integral part of Hunters And Collectors until Jack suggested it,” reveals Mark. “He wrote dome lines for himself, Jeremy and Michael and it stuck in our imagination.
We thought the symphonic classical flavour combined with a basic rock feel was an unusual sound.”
Today they’re considered as one of the most important “awareness” Aussie imports, underlined by their physically blunt EP Living Daylight, which contains the bleak but highly energetic Inside A Fireball. The record was cut in two months, and the band figures their next album, What’s A Few Men, will be recorded in the same manner.
“We like to work fairly quickly in the studio,” says Seymour.
“That way there’s more energy in the actual playing of the songs. The next album will have a much more broad spectrum about life than Human Frailty (their last album),” he says.
Seymour says the band’s musical aims are relatively simple.
“We’re just interested in writing songs about ourselves, about travel and Australia.”
He says his approach to lyrics is also minimal.
“I like blunt simplicity. I don’t like to use too many words. The real stuff of what life experiences are made of is quite mundane. We make the mundane interesting.”
Seymour says the key to appreciating Hunters And Collectors is to see them live.
“Our live show is our biggest selling point. I think the guys put a lot of importance on the ethics of touring long distances, and in the sense of openness.”
Thankyou to John for typing out this article for us all to enjoy!