It might be a made-up genre used only playfully on the band’s Facebook page, but the term “eucalyptus dream pop” conjures Shining Bird and its sun-drenched and slightly psychedelic odes to the Australian landscape well. Last year’s single Rivermouth won the public’s vote for song of the year at the 2015 FBi Radio SMAC Awards, and its new single, Helluva Lot, is an anthemic environmental call-to-arms mixed by Tim Whitten (the Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus, Augie March). The six-piece is made up of Dane Taylor (vocals, guitars), Russell Webster (keys), Alastair Webster (guitars), Nathan Stratton (bass), Riccardo Quirke (drums) and James Kates (percussion), and we can expect a new album in spring.
Broadsheet: Where did you all grow up and where do you live now?
Dane Taylor: We all grew up on the South Coast, except for our saxophonist; he’s originally from Nashville. Most of us still live in Austinmer and Thirroul, but we are slowly being pushed out by the rising rent prices and cost of living here.
BS: Any favourite city haunts or out-of-town escapes you can tell us about?
DT: When in the city, we try to get to that grape-covered-ceiling dumpling house in Haymarket [Chinese Noodle Restaurant]. Mamak up the road is really good too. We also spent a lot of time at Anonymous Cafe in Blackheath recently while recording our new album.
BS: How did you come to be making music together and what influences do you share?
DT: Russ and I started making music together as Shining Bird about six years ago. We have found inspiration in Australian art, culture, film and landscapes to name a few things.
BS: Australia. What do you love about it and why do you write about it?
DT: I guess it’s an instinctual thing. It just seems honest.
BS: And musically, how do you translate it?
DT: The same way food creates energy.
BS: What can you tell us about recording your forthcoming album in the Blue Mountains?
DT: We ended up in Blackheath just randomly. A friend owns a little cabin that backs onto the valley, and we seized the opportunity to record there. It became a regular thing, heading up to the mountains every few months to lay down initial ideas. We found that the three of us (Dane, Al and Russ) would come up with ideas much easier than at home. So we stuck to it. We’re really happy with how the album turned out. I think overall it’s a bit more “awake“ than Leisure Coast. It has sharper edges.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere?
DT: Midnight Oil/Warumpi Band – Blackfella/Whitefella Tour 1986.
MELB: Shining Bird play The Tote on Thursday June 2.
SYD: Shining Bird play the Newtown Social Club on Wednesday June 8.