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The John Steel Singers - Shipping Steel

Author: Carlisle Rogers
Monday, November 10, 2008

Brisbane group The John Steel Singers have been steadily making a name for themselves in their hometown, and now, thanks to a new EP, their sights are set on the nation. 3D’s Carlisle Rogers speaks with frontman Scott Bromiley.

Delicious backyard summer BBQ swingers that come out of the speakers with almost embarrassing amounts of ‘woo-hoo-hoos’ and bouncy crescendos, every track on The John Steel Singers’ debut EP, In Colour, belongs on your summer shuffle.

Songs like Strawberry Wine and the instant radio classic Rainbow Kraut have stirred many spatula-wielding blokes into song. The weird thing is that the songs sound like Syd Barrett working with Brian Wilson.

Scott Bromiley, vocalist and guitarist, says we can run with that. “Imagine that, Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson working together fried out of their brains. I’d love to watch that. Certainly those are two big inescapable influences, but it’s kind of like if we go to make a record and at the time we are influenced by psychedelia, which seems to be rather in vogue right now, it’s almost something we want to escape. I don’t want to follow any trends. We make music because it’s the kind of music we like to make, but at the same time we also want to make music that not only challenges us, but challenges listeners as well. I’m not admitting to having achieved that, but it’s something I want to work at.

“I guess it’s hard to escape any type of influence, be it the great late ’60s bands or those Eno produced bands, but we are sort of at the point where we are trying to create something unique; and also to sound uniquely Australian. I think [with] our first record we couldn’t really drop those obvious influences maybe because the band was new and we weren’t used to the recording process. I’d like to think as much as we tried we couldn’t not sound like something else. I think more and more we are trying to forge an Australian identity and be very different from other Australian bands.”

When it came time to produce the EP, the band lucked out and scored Big Jesus Burger studios, which meant that award-winning producer Scott Horscroft was going to steer this one. “We loved the last Mess Hall record, Devil’s Elbow, and Burke Reid produced it from BJB. We didn’t think we could get Scott as a producer, we figured Burke would be a hard reach, but it turned out Burke was at the tail end of mixing a record and about to leave the country. He wasn’t available, but Scott put his hand up and said he was willing to produce. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise.”

WHO: The John Steel Singers
WHAT: In Colours through Levity / Inertia / Play Hopetoun Hotel
WHEN: Out now / Thursday 20 November, Friday 21