Longreef Discuss U.S. Invasion, ‘Dirty Motel’ EP + Upcoming Tour
Australian rockers Longreef followed the path of many before them, forming their band and building a buzz at home, but then realizing their dreams by relocating to America. After two years in the U.S., the group has delivered their debut EP, 'Dirty Motel,' and also put together a DVD titled 'Live at the BLVD.'
The group is building their following in the U.S. paying their dues on the road turning audiences on to their melodic rock-fuelled tracks. Loudwire caught up with singer Josh Barker via email to learn how they're enjoying the transition to the U.S., how their 'Dirty Motel' disc came together, and about their upcoming shows with Foxy Shazam.
What was it like making the decision to leave home to come to America? Tell us some of your first experiences trying to break into the U.S. music industry?
Since I was a teenager I'd dreamed of going to the USA to pursue my music so the decision to move was pretty easy. The hardest thing for me was leaving my family, loved ones and friends. But with today's technology it's a lot easier to stay in touch and even see each other with Skype.
When the band arrived in Nashville in 2010, we hung out a lot. We partied a fair bit down on Broadway but also did a bunch of writing and recording. It was awesome in Nashville as there was so much inspiration to draw from and we were the new kids in town. I think we were there for a few weeks when we got the call from our manager to play a show in Pensacola, Florida. We were pumped, our first show in the USA. After playing our first show, the response was huge, looking back I think it was a matter of weeks before we had an agent and started touring the Gulf Coast. It was really organic, we didn't force anything and we had control of our destiny, we just kept playing and playing and building fans. When we weren't playing music we lived on our friends 60-foot Hatteris yacht which wasn't too hard to deal with. Fishing, swimming and surfing became our pastime when we needed some inspiration.
You had a chance to write with Vertical Horizon's Matt Scannell, while 3 Doors Down's Chris Henderson lent a hand with your record. What was that experience like?
Writing with Matt from Vertical was such a treat for me, I've been a huge fan of his work since 'Everything You Want.' We hung out and talked music and gear for hours before we even put pen to paper.
Recording and writing with Chris Henderson from 3 Doors was awesome, he had a lot of input with a lot of the songs and brought his own unique method of writing into the project which I learned from and still use today. We hung out and wrote a few songs in Nashville and I went out on the road with them for a few shows. Great friend and can't wait to write with him again.
In addition to some of the people you've written with, can you talk about the dynamic of writing within the group?
The first time we wrote as a band was back home at a little surf town north of Sydney called Seal Rocks; we rented a big house on the beach and set up Pro tools and got cracking. The great thing about writing within the group is that everyone's idea is pursued ... even if it we didn't like the idea we still gave it a go. My experience is that you can take the best part out of a s----y idea and it can turn out to be a great song. It's a great moment when everyone is locked in and on the same wavelength in the writing process. There's an electrified energy within the room and we begin to feed off each other which is really cool.
In Australia, you caught one of your breaks by appearing on the reality series 'The Resort.' What are your thoughts reality singing competition shows?
When the whole 'Idol' phenomenon started, I was very skeptical, but some great artists have gotten their breaks through these kind of shows. I'm a big fan of Chris Daughtry. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you get your break, real talent shines through eventually.
The lead single 'Lonely' is getting some attention. Please describe the song musically and lyrically.
'Lonely' was the first track we released here in the U.S. It was a little nerve racking as we had no idea what kind of response we'd have. The song is about two people trying to force a dying relationship to work but when there's no love left to give they end up fighting for nothing … hence the line "In a fight to be lonely" We were so stoked when 'Lonely' reached number 33 on the R&R top 40 indicator chart.
'Dirty Motel' is the name of the EP and one of the tracks on the disc, and it's definitely got some attitude. How did that track come together and what's the inspiration for the song?
Nick [guitarist Miller] had a riff that we were playing around with, and we started singing over it and the story about a girl doing anything to become famous developed. We live in an age where people can become famous for anything, and a lot of funky stuff can go down on the journey. It’s not good or bad, just how it is. 'Dirty Motel' is the current single at active rock radio and we're stoked with the response and the requests we've had over the last few weeks.
'Live at the BLVD' is the new DVD. What was it about the Gulf Shores show that made that one the right one to showcase? Had you planned it all along or was it a happy coincidence that that ended up being the show?
Having such a good response from our first EP we wanted to give more to our fans with the second, the DVD was just that. We’ve spent a lot of time playing in the Gulf Coast and it’s not that often we’ll do a semi-unplugged kind of show. We had a lot of fans wanting to come from across the country for the filming, but only had a limited capacity. So a lot of the people in the audience are passionate Longreef fans and that made it a special night.
You're playing some dates with Foxy Shazam this fall. What are you thoughts on the band and getting to share a stage with them?
The Foxy guys are insane! Great, great band and really awesome guys. They’re onto something different and it’s true rock n roll. We had a lot of fun and we look forward to playing more shows with them.
You guys like your outdoor sports! What's your favorite and who partakes in what within the band?
Nick, Aaron and myself have surfed for years. We'd often gather the lads and head to Fiji for a week and surf the famous "Cloudbreak" till our limbs felt like they were gonna fall off. It would always inspire us for when we got back into the studio to write and record. Jim's more of a dirt bike/speed car fiend but he's keen to get on a board next time we head out. Yeeeeeew.
Watch Longreef Perform 'Dirty Motel'