IS THERE a festival Melbourne soul band Saskwatch haven't played? Well, probably a few, but they have managed to rack up an impressive list in the past 12 months. Saskwatch trumpeter Liam McGorry tells Pulse all about it.
Have you guys managed to leave it all behind yet?
Ah, not quite. We're still touring the album, but are recording early in 2013 so stay tuned.
You must be thrilled with the response you've had from your debut album and Your Love!?
We're pretty amazed that there are people out there who like the album. We just wanted to make an album as friends, and just enjoyed making it. We didn't think that people would want to buy it.
There tends to be a trap for soul bands to be labelled retro - does that get on your nerves?
Sometimes ... I think it's really what you make of it. We're a band that is definitely influenced (although not exclusively) by soul music from the past. We love a lot of modern bands too; The Black Keys, Javelin, Dr Dog ... the list goes on.
Did you ever consider have a band with eight people rather than nine just for the ease of catching a maxi-taxi?
That would make things a lot easier. Although as soon as you add in manager and sound engineer, it doesn't matter too much. Nine people is large.
You've been busy touring since the release of Leave It All Behind - are you getting sick of each other's company yet?
Yes! Actually, not really. We're all really good friends. The beauty of having such a big band (apart from the musical aspects) is that if one or two people start to annoy you, there are seven or eight others who you can hang out with that won't.
What are the highlights from the past 12 months?
2012 was a great year. We played with a few of our idols: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Earth Wind and Fire, Daniel Merriweather, Maceo Parker. We played some of our favourite festivals: Meredith, Golden Plains, Pyramid Rock. We toured Europe and Australia on the back of releasing our first LP, which was incredible too.
What is your mode of transport on tour? If you're travelling in a van who chooses the soundtrack for the journey and what's on it?
Generally we tend to fly or drive. When we're driving it's really first in best dressed, as the front seat is the DJ/navigator; a hard task. As for what's on the stereo, it really depends who is in the front seat. Could be anything from Grizzly Jim Lawrie to Flying Lotus, Royal Headache or Tom Petty.
You're headed to Byron Bay's Beach Hotel on Sunday - your live reputation means you have to live up to big energy for every show! What is it about your sets that have everyone talking?
I think it's just that we love playing live. I think the audience can see we have such fun playing, and people want to have fun so that part is infectious I guess! I'm really looking forward to playing at the Beach Hotel again because it was so great last time.
Saskwatch play the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay on Sunday, 4.30pm. Free.