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Miscellaneous - Interview with Anthony Bautovich

  by John Clarkson

published: 12 / 10 / 2003

Miscellaneous - Interview with Anthony Bautovich


Anthony Bautovich is best known for his work with the much-acclaimed power pop super group, the Orange Humble Band, but has also recently formed his own band the Forresters. He talks to John Clarkson about its debut album, 'Skin Deep'

Sydney-based singer-songwriter Anthony Bautovich is best known for his work with the much-acclaimed trans Pacific power pop super group, the Orange Humble Band. Bautovich co-writes songs and sings and plays guitar for the Orange Humble Band, who have recorded two critically-lauded albums, 'Assorted Creams' (Half a Cow, 1998) and 'Humblin' Across America' (Laughing Outlaw, 2001). As well as Bautovich and group leader Darryl Mather, the Orange Humble Band also contains as a regular part of its ensemble ex-Posies guitarist Ken Stringfellow and acclaimed American indie producer and former star of Let's Active, Mitch Easter. While remaining an active member of the Orange Humble Band, Bautovich has also recently assembled a new group, the Forresters, to showcase his own solo songwriting talents. The Forresters debut album 'Skindeep' finds Bautovich surrounded by several of Sydney's most prominent and influential musicians, and spans across a wide musical spectrum which runs from power pop to blues and soul, alt. country to rock 'n' roll.. It has been self- released by Bautovich as the first venture of his new label, Tom Thumb Records. In an exclusive interview Bautovioch spoke to Pennyblackmusic about the Forresters and the recording of 'Skindeep'. PB : Is it true that the Forresters take their name from an Australian soap opera ? AB : Well....yeah....my life revolves around rock'n'roll and afternoon soaps. It's actually an American day time soap, 'The Bold and the Beautiful'. I started watching the show a couple of years ago and now have difficulty getting through the day without my dose at 4.30p.m. I couldn't come up with a name for the group and a friend of mine, and also a dedicated fan suggested the Forresters. I have grown to love it! PB : The Forresters have been described as a collective. Are you the only full-time member of the group, or are there others ? AB : Things appear to be a little like a solo artist and a group of session players at the moment. In a way that's how the album was recorded. That said I've always wanted the project to develop into a 'real' band. PB : 'Skindeep' employs the talents of nearly a dozen other people. From which other bands did some of these people come, and how did you first become involved with them ? The majority of these musicians are Sydney-based. Did you make a deliberate decision to before beginning recording to rely on local talent, or was this something that happened by chance ? AB : When putting an album together there's really only a handful of people who can play in a particular way needed to create what you're after. Getting the musicians that played on the 'Skindeep' album was essential to the sound of the record. Apart from Charlie Owen, (who is Melbourne based, the players are all from Sydney. Having everyone close by will make the live thing a little easier to pull together. Some of the players, Matt Galvin(The Scruffs, the Wake Ups, the Barbarellas) on guitar, Peter Cross on trumpet and Jess Ciampa(Bernie Hayes Quartet, Warmer) on percussion were involved on the first Orange Humble album 'Assorted Creams'. It was great to get a chance to work with them again. I've known both Nick Kennedy(Big Heavy Stuff, Knievel) on drums and Steve Balbi (Universe, Noiseworks) on bass for a while and have always loved their playing. I met Charlie Owen(New Christs, Tendrils, Dark Horses) through a mutual friend. The keyboard player Cameron Bruce(The Polaroids, Karma County) and violin player Sean Windsor both play in Steve Balbi's band Universe. PB : All the songs on the album are entirely your own compositions, except for 'A Fool In Love' and 'Rescue Me'.Why did you decide to add versions of these to the album ? AB : I co-wrote 'Rescue Me' for another project that didn't get off the ground. I thought a 'rocker' might be a good thing for this record so we did it. I wrote 'Fool in Love' quite a few years ago with a friend in our band the Lonelyhearts. It's been recorded before but I decided to do a fresh version on 'Skin Deep'. PB : The album has been described by one source as "a lost 70's country pop gem". Despite these politically correct times, you have decided in true 70's fashion to put a photo of a girl's tattooed stomach on the front cover, and in the inside booklet there are various snapshots inside of a model seemingly propositioning someone. Why did you decide to add these to the packaging ? AB : The photographs of the female model ,Jody Foerster, in the CD booklet are part of a story board of shots which I'm hoping to use in a video for the track 'Missing You', one of the songs from the album. The photos depict the girlfriend of a musician who is contemplating her relationship, decides to leave and get on with her life. When we had the photo session I noticed that Jody had an unusual tattoo on the lower part of her abdomen. I didn't have a title for the record at that stage and came up with the idea of 'Skindeep' as the title track using a shot of the tattoo on the cover. PB : The majority of the songs are nearly all in one form or another love songs, and have received much praise for their "emotional honesty", Your friend, Darryl Mather, from the Orange Humble Band has described them as being so "intimate and private" that he " can only conclude that they reflect this wonderful musician's life experiences". Is he correct in thinking that, and is that true ? AB : The songs are mostly love songs. There are some 'boy meets girl' pop songs but there are songs that are quite dark as well. 'Tremblin' is about a couple's battle with addiction, the track 'Don't Leave Me Down' is a desparate plea to higher force for help. Writing lyrics about these kind of situations would be tough without some kind of connection to them. While spending so much time writing, recording and mixing a bunch of songs there's a real sense of getting over them and moving on when the record is finished. PB : -In what ways did recording 'Skin Deep' differ from the two Orange Humble Band albums ? The recording of 'Skindeep' and the second Orange Humble album Humblin' were quite similar in a number of ways. Both were recorded on 24 track 2'' analogue tape although we did use some additional digital tracking on the Forresters record. Both records had quite a bit of tracking involved but were relatively 'straight forward' to record. The first Humble album 'Assorted Creams' was recorded on 1/2'' digital tape and had up to 60 tracks per song. It was a much harder record to 'get over the line'. PB : Despite the country rock references, one of the really impressive things about the album is that it in fact flits through a whole variety of genres including power pop, blues and rock 'n' roll. How much of that was prior planned, and how much of that by chance and because of whatever musicians you had in the studio on the day you were recording the songs ? AB : After I finished writing the songs for 'Skindeep' I recorded a demo which became the blue-print for the album. I think having a diverse group of tunes is a good thing especially with a debut. By adding their pieces to the songs, the musicians have helped take the tunes to another level. PB : 'Skindeep' is the first release of your new label, Tom Thumb Records. Why did you decide to do that, rather than to build on the success of the Orange Humble Band and perhaps release it on a larger independent label or a major ? AB : Getting a release with a major or larger independent isn't the easiest thing to do. Setting up my own label is something I've wanted to do for a while anyway. Releasing the Forresters album on Tom Thumb was the perfect opportunity to kick it off. I guess the biggest advantage in doing things independently is the control you have. PB : Will there be other Tom Thumb releases ? If so, will you just be putting out records by the Forrresters or do you plan to release records by other bands as well ? AB : I hope so. Finding the time one needs to work with and promote a band is the hardest thing....but yeah, hopefully when I'm a little more organized and the right act comes along, it'll happen. PB : The Forresters will be going on tour soon. Which musicians will be going out on the tour with you ? AB : Due to the fact that the players on 'Skindeep' are all in other bands, and involved in other musical projects, the Forresters line-up live will probably change depending on what everyone's up to. I guess having a stable band is the ideal situation, but playing with a group that's a little 'fluid' should keep the live shows interesting. PB : What other plans have you got for both the Forresters and The Orange Humble Band's future? AB : The Forresters will be recording the follow up album sometime in 2004. I'm hoping to do a bunch of shows in Australia before those sessions get going. We'll also be doing some acoustic shows. Darryl and I have written a couple of the tunes for the third Orange Humble record. It's just a matter of finding a time when everyone involved will be available. PB : Thank you.

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Miscellaneous - Interview with Anthony Bautovich

Miscellaneous - Interview with Anthony Bautovich

Miscellaneous - Interview with Anthony Bautovich

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