Hitting it out of the Ball Park

Ball Park Music are set to return to WA for the epic 2-day extravaganza that is Falls Festival. Joe sat down for a chat prior to their next visit to the West Coast.

How did Every Night the Same Dream Tour go for you guys?

It went great – it already feels like a distant memory, so painless and awesome. We had the best numbers we ever had at the shows. It was such a dream run really. It was amazing to have some new songs in the set list, for live it’s always a relief to add some new shit in and have more songs to draw upon.

I was a little sad when it was over, it went so quickly. It lasted for two months, it has made me really pumped to do Falls. We actually got to round out the tour with a couple of festival shows so that really wet my appetite for doing Falls at the end of the year.

Do you think the tour drew a lot of new people to the band’s music?

These are the things I am always wondering, I don’t really know. I always worry the band is becoming irrelevant and that no one cares anymore so it is really reassuring to have your best numbers ever at a tour. One of the most touching things are young kids being there, we did a handful of shows which were all-ages. I think for a long time a lot of musicians when they begin they see those under aged kids and it’s easy to roll your eyes and think they are just little kids, they seem young and lame and too excited.

Now I have massively changed my tune and I think it’s a huge compliment those kids are there and these new waves of kids continue to get into our band. When I think back to being that age I just love music so much, the world seems so magical and bright for the future, to be making music young kids want to get into is awesome really. I feel like teenagers have pretty awesome music tastes at lot of the time so I am really happy people are still coming.

If I go to the concerts of some of my favourite bands, it’s not always the fans there. If I go and see Radiohead with an audience of exclusively forty-year-olds it’s going to be those people plus people my age, plus people who are sixteen. That was a good realisation; hopefully we could be that kind of band who have existing fans that hang on and new fans all the time.

Is it important for bands to break through to newer generations of music fan?

I wouldn’t say it’s crucial or necessary, I feel it’s super nice if you can make music that is going to resonate with all different age groups and demographics. It’s something I never really thought about when we began, when we began I was so preoccupied with making music that people – people my age – liked. But now I want everyone to like the music, so that has changed over time.

It is funny to go and see some particular bands that have one key demographic where you see only one group of people attend.

You guys are set to play across the country for the 2016 Falls Music Festival. Has the band played at the festival before?

We have done it twice before, we did a couple of the falls shows in 2010 when were just beginning. We won an opportunity offered to the JBC which John Butler does to play a couple of shows. Bloody hell, that was six years ago now and that was terrifying for us at the time, we were so excited to be doing that.

It really did scare the shit out of us to go there and play first and seeing all these amazing bands playing after us. I felt like it really brought us down to a point where we realised we had a lot of hard work to do, but we did it again two years later in 2012, after our second record was out. That was really, really great. I can’t believe it’s been four years since then.

Do you feel like you’re in new territory as a band?

I feel some of the nice things which have gone on in my career; expectations to what our sets will be like have disappeared. When we began again I was very pre-occupied with how people perceived the band and where we sit in the bigger scheme of things. I was way too focused on how many people rocked up to shows to see us and what time we played and was it a good show and did people like it.

I’ve done it so much now, I have had a lot of amazing experiences. I am now doing the music for the sake of my own enjoyment primarily. But I feel like when I can enjoy it sincerely it translates to the audience so it’s a win-win situation. It doesn’t matter whether I am playing to two hundred people in Geelong or six thousand people at Splendour, I am just trying to get up there and enjoy it.

I feel like once I free myself from any expectations, the whole thing improves. In a way I don’t give a fuck about what happens, I will just go into Falls feeling very positive. Unfortunately it has taken me and the band such a long time to figure out how to do that. You’d think you’d enjoy performing from the get go but it is surprisingly hard.

Did the music become more of a focus as the band progressed?

I think when you begin, you have that real desire to prove yourself and we got way too distracted with the whole competitive side of things. We were so concerned with where we fit in and now I feel we are finally free of it, you get to this self-acceptance.

I feel sad that we have had years slip by really quickly where I have not savoured the moments as much as I probably should of.

Is that the case for other musicians?                       

I would think so, I can’t speak for everybody. A lot of young musicians – I would fall into this category – would grow up and feel so enamoured by the rock n’ roll culture. I so wanted to be a successful well-known musician you end up getting too focused on that and weirdly lose track on what you are meant to do. I feel like the band is in the best place mentally that it’s ever been in. We’re closer, happier, and more comfortable. We are on a high this year.

Falls is new to Fremantle, have you ever been there?

I have been to Fremantle a bunch of times and I love it. If it was on the East coast I would probably move there. A friend of mine, his name is Allister Strange, a musician I have been doing shows with has just done a tour and got to go to Fremantle for the first time and he thought the place was amazing. It’s a pretty impressive little place.

Since it’s the final show on the tour, does it feel different since it’s the final show?

I always feel real sad on the last show because I can’t believe how much of my career has slipped through my fingers. I can’t believe how hard it is to really pay attention and soak up what you are doing and I feel like the last show of a tour or festival always shows up all of a sudden.

They can feel pretty impressive, most artists give it their all because they know that’s the end of the line and no commitments the next day. Mentally I am always bittersweet, because I have been looking forward to doing Falls Festival for months. It’ll be a bummer when it ends. Sometimes when you go on a good run of shows you wish it could go on forever.

Do you have any ways to cope with post-festival blues?

I am being a bit dramatic, the pain isn’t too severe. I just come back home and get on with my life. The biggest pick-me-up for sure is we all have partners and families, friends here so spending time away from them and even when we love what we do can be painful as well.

I will never get tired of coming home to my wife and resuming our life together.

With the touring for Every Night the Same Dream wrapped up, will the band delve into a different music direction for the next album?

We have started to do a little bit of writing for whatever will be next. I mentioned before that positivity that we are feeling at the moment is really shining through, which is going to be a massive change from the Nihilist Party Anthem which is extremely negative. Everything moves in waves I guess.

I feel really good about what we are writing next, we are determined to write some big songs. I am trying to imagine myself on a festival stage when I have been writing the new stuff – I want to write some big euphoric songs, a desire for big audiences to get into.

Ball Park Music is set to play Falls Festival 2016 from December 28, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Joe Wilson

Joe prides himself on being the only person to consider sparklers in a total fire ban to be a good idea and surviving the 20 minute odyssey from the festival to his campsite at Southbound. He is a regular punter at Perth gigs and has recently picked up the grand title of Master of Reviews at Grok. He also suffers from alcohol-induced multiple personality disorder and has two known alter-egos; Late Night Joe and Chuck.

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