written by Chris Familton
Two years ago Queensland’s Drawn From Bees killed off their former incarnation (Glasshouse) and after some time apart reconvened and decided to approach their music from a new and ultimately more satisfying direction. Their new album Fear Not The Footsteps Of The Departed rounds out a themed series of EPs and offers a fully realised insight into their melodically adventurous songwriting.
The decision to wipe the slate clean and start again was a hard one but something the band needed to do to continue writing music together. “We just weren’t interested in what we’d been doing anymore. We grew up in our early 20s playing music that appealed to us but we just lost interest in it. I think because of our friendship we’ve gelled really well as songwriters and that grew into our music,” explains guitarist Raven Jones.
Immediately following the local release of the album the band jetted off to America, Hong Kong and London to participate in some showcase gigs, experiences that were a great success. “Los Angeles was really interesting and different to what I expected. People were really nice and supportive of our music. It didn’t have the egos I thought it might. We stayed in Laurel Canyon and there was a really good vibe. People just came and knocked on our door and said “We heard you guys and just want to know what you’re up to” and we chatted to them and they invited us over for drinks.” Jones recalls.
Drawn From Bees challenge pop sensibilities with cascading and layered harmonies and a distinct UK guitar sound, prompting talk of relocation to that part of the world. “Lots of people have said we have more of a British sound so that was one of the things we went over for – to focus more on Britain. We’re planning to go there for a while, maybe move there for a year or two and just push it and see what happens there,” says Jones.
With the band about to embark on a national tour to celebrate the album release it will be a chance for devoted and curious fans to check out how their music translates from album to the stage. Fear Not The Footsteps Of The Departed is very much a lush studio album and Jones explains that they have had to reconstruct the songs to play them live. “Some of the songs were written in the studio so now we have to sit down and learn to play them as a band. A lot of the time I’d be playing guitar and keyboard lines at the same time on the record so we won’t be able to entirely replicate the recordings live. We’ve only played about half the album live but they’ve worked pretty well even if they do sound a bit more sparse. I was never concerned watching bands and whether they sound exactly like the album though.”
The next stage for the band is to build on the contacts they’ve made overseas and they are already making plans for their next album. “For the next one we want it to be written by the entire band all in one room before we hit record. We’ll have more of a jam approach to the way we do it,” hints Jones.
You get a strong sense of self-belief and ambition from Drawn From Bees yet it doesn’t come across as false or pretentious. These guys have been around long enough that they don’t have stars in their eyes and listening to their album it is clear they can back up their ambition with bold and rewarding songwriting.
A version of this interview first appeared in The Brag.