John Butler and his talented band have been sharing their stories, foot stomping beats and heart felt lyrics for twenty years. We are lucky enough to have the John Butler Trio visit Port Macquarie for the Summersalt Festival … FOCUS chatted with John about his impending album release, life with music and some of his greatest achievements …
Hi John. It’s been some time since releasing a studio album; however, you did drop the single Bully mid last year. When can we expect the release of a new album?
Well, I’m working on my new album now. I’ve just finished tracking, I’m heading to LA on Thursday to finish the mix on that, and it will hopefully be out mid-year, if all goes well. Bully was one of those songs; it was from the very first session, and I didn’t think it would make it to the album, but it was done and it was a song I thought was good enough to have a life out there – especially in the political situation that we’ve been touring through in The States. I’d say the album is a little bit more soul searching than that kind of righteous and angry vibe that Bully is.
How would you describe the vibe of the album then?
I guess on the music production front there’s probably a lot more electronic aspects to it, in a way; I’ve had a lot of ideas on programmed beats and synthesisers and easing that into what I do with my band, guitar playing and my song writing.
What was the experience of playing the iconic Red Rocks like?
We had supported acts there for almost 10 years, and now we’ve headlined three times. We headlined it back in 2012, and we’ve done it twice since then as well – it was a huge mountain to climb. On one of my first tours in The States, I was opening up for Dave Matthews’ Band and Michael Franti, and I said to myself that one day I’m going to play this venue … It took 10 years of touring to be able to headline that venue on my own! When you work that hard to get to that point, you know what it’s worth.
Last time I was there, they had all these great photos on the wall, like Willie Nelson, John Mayer and Neil Young, and I walked around the corner and there was this huge A4 poster of us from our last headliner there. It was awesome!
Summersalt Festival, you’re headlining there, as is your wife, Mama Kin (Danielle Caruana). What do you love about being about to share the creative domain together, but still keep your own identities?
For me, it’s really important to be somebody who feels creatively expressed, whatever that is, whether it’s playing soccer or knitting or making music, and I just feel very thankful that both Dan and I have these outlets and that we work really, really hard to make a balanced family and a balanced life, where we both get to have an avenue for expression. So, we are very blessed; it takes a lot of work to keep that balance and that tightrope right. We are both releasing an album in the same year, which is crazy. We’re taking our boy out of school and homeschooling him along the way. We just bring the kids along; I’ve been lucky enough to do this for 18 years and bring the kids up like this, on and off. It takes a lot of effort; we dream big and make it happen. If you dream big, then all of a sudden you can draw something bigger out of you.
After all these years and hits, which song is still your favourite to perform?
I like them all – Ocean, Pickapart is real fun … They’re all my kids! I don’t have a favourite, but Ocean is one of those that has been with me for years, so it’s like a body part, rather than a song.
Catch John Butler Trio alongside Mama Kin Spender, San Cisco and Oh Pep! On the SummerSalt tour on Sunday 25th March. Tickets summersaltmusic.com.au