Fountaineer have just put not only their name on the map but also the little town of Bendigo, Victoria following their release of their new album, ‘Greater City, Greater Love.’
The three piece comprised of brothers Anthony and Francis White as well as childhood friend, Kieran Daly, perfectly capture the essence of their hometown with the album. Exploring the highs and lows of growing up in Bendigo, the boys take the listener on a journey through the pubs, churches, footy fields and libraries they have grown up amongst.
We were lucky enough speak with Tony from Fountaineer to discuss future plans, musical influences and of course Bendigo.
1. Hi – Thank you for taking the time to chat to us ahead of your new album ‘Greater City, Greater Love.’ It’s quite clear that your home town of Bendigo has been a strong influence in your music. What’s the music scene like in the more regional parts of VIC?
I’d be lying if I said it was great. It’s been terribly inconsistent, and there’s a multitude of reasons and factors that influence what’s happening in our part of the world. It comes down to the quality of music, the quality of venues, the interest (or lack there of) of the general public. We all have a part to play in making it great again, and there’s certainly hope that it will prosper. ‘Greater City, Greater Love’ definitely comes from a place of genuine care and concern for this great place, but much of the record is us fighting against the status quo, challenging things and aspiring for change.
2. With your home town being such a heavy and personal influence, does that make it slightly more daunting to share these songs or are you driven by home town pride?
It does present a rather precarious situation, where we can be seen as critics of the place, critics of the music scene, people wondering whether they are in the firing line in certain remarks. I stand by every word uttered in the album, though, as being what I believe is the truth, and it’s ultimately a record of hope and spirit once the dust and dirt clears. We can all be better, we can all do better; we’ve learnt so much in the making of this record, we’ve never tried harder at anything in our lives, and we really wants what’s best for Bendigo and care about the future of our town.
3. Is there a particular spot in Bendigo that has inspired the majority of your song writing?
About 100 metres from my house is a really vast, vacant area which we call ‘The Wasteland’. The idea for Fountaineer came when I was walking the rocky paths of The Wasteland, pondering a concept album about Bendigo, and for me it’s the most inspiring place I know. It can look and feel completely different on certain days, in certain seasons; it’s desolate but magical, and it captured perfectly what we tried to capture in the album’s ugly/beautiful aesthetic. It’s featured in every one of our clips so far and my hope is that they don’t ever build on this special piece of land.
4. Your single ‘The Cricketers’ is named after the painting of the same name by Russell Drysdale. What’s the story behind that?
It’s the painting that still hangs in our family home, and it’s a haunting but beautiful image that seemed to capture the essence of our record in one simple picture. While a game of cricket is obviously being played in the foreground, there is so much more to the painting, so much happening underneath the surface. It’s not about cricket at all, and neither is our song. I think the shadows are probably the most prominent thing within Drysdale’s work, and we wanted an undercurrent in our music that was befitting of his brushstrokes.
5. Speaking of art – can you explain your choice and/or inspiration for the album art on ‘Greater City, Greater Love’
We found the picture on-line on the Lost Bendigo site. It’s a beaut site where local people share old images of the town. A woman had posted this incredibly simple photograph of a supermarket apron and it really struck a chord with us. She thought we were taking the piss when we contacted her to use the image, she didn’t really see it as being ‘art’. But we loved how a simple image made by an ordinary person could be recognised as ‘art’, and she captured something in the photo which seemed to speak of the shared experience of life in a regional area.
6. You mentioned you took so long to finish this album as you wanted to make it ‘special and different’ – which you have certainly done. Do you all share the same kind of musical influences or are you really a mixbag when it comes to personal taste?
The album was actually done relatively quickly, however the release of the album was the tricky bit. We really took our influences from proper ‘albums’, where the whole story has a context of some sort, whether that be a theme, a place, an issue, a relationship. We love the classics, and that’s probably partly due to the radio stations we’ve grown up on. But artists like Bon Iver, D.D. Dumbo, Arcade Fire all make intricate indie pop music that is serious, and thoughtful, and has a conscience, and their attitude to making music and creating art is something we all admire and respect; they became our role models.
7. I feel like your song ‘Words With Friends’ needs to be on everyone’s road trip playlists, such a groovy tune that has this underlying feeling of escapism to the country mixed into it. What are your top tracks you jam in the van before shows?
I am a sucker for the UK tv series ‘Escape to The Country’, maybe that’s where the inspiration comes from. It’s definitely a ‘country’ type song, and there’s a lot to be said for the simple life; something that is increasingly harder to attain, especially in the cities. Having grown up on punk music, it always has a life-affirming effect on me, and gets the juices flowing. Maybe Lagwagon’s ‘Double Plaidinum’ for some positive pre-show energy and obligatory sing alongs.
8. Speaking of Words With Friends, did any of you play the game? Who was the best?
Hell, no – we’re Scrabble kinda guys. Given that I was an English teacher I’d hope I’d be able to trounce anyone in the band in word-related duels, however the boys would probably be better at board games than I. If we were 8 years old, Franky would flip the board and send the tiles flying before a winner could be declared; a real smart loser.
9. You recently played with Catfish and the Bottlemen and will soon be joining Gang Of Youths Australian Tour. What’s it like transiting from small regional shows to opening up some of the countries biggest venues?
To be honest, it’s quite a relief. We’ve spent a few years now setting up PAs, playing to empty rooms, trying to give our all on stages as big as a double beds; now to be given the privilege of doing it in some of the country’s biggest venues is wonderful. In a way, there’s less pressure and less that we have to worry about. We just do some stretches, warm up, and try play the greatest half an hour of music we can. And we get to see Gang of Youths perform every night, whilst pilfering their beers and food when they’re not looking. I hope they have soda water; we’re quite partial to sparkling water after a sweaty gig.
10. What are your plans for the rest of the year after this album release?
We’ll be touring ‘Greater City…’ in a few months time after the Gangs support run finishes up, and we have some festival dates as well which are always really fun, we'll be playing New Years on the Hill. I suppose we should get stuck into album number two and make up for some lost time, too!
‘Greater City, Greater Love.’ - OUT NOW