Billy Talent may not see many of the ‘fallen leaves’ in the next Canadian autumn with an Australian tour scheduled for August through Soundwave Touring. Nearing a decade since their formation, vocalist Ben Kowalewicz shared some of the band’s experiences, including the last time they made it to Australia, as part of 2009’s Soundwave Festival.
“We made a lot of friends over there,” says Kowalewicz, “unfortunately with the last record we didn’t really get the chance to come over as much. This time we’re definitely making it a priority to come to Australia again.” From the tour announcement response, it seems that the fans are making it a priority to attend the shows.
The band will not be naming their upcoming studio album Billy Talent IV in continuation to their last three – marking the start of a new chapter. “I think it just represents a fresh start, a new beginning I guess,” explains the singer.
I think in a subconscious kind of way we knew a change would be coming and this record is kind of worthy for a whole new beginning,” laughs Kowalewicz, “a new trilogy to start.” Some peace of mind for Billy Talent fans who are now expecting at least three more albums before the boys from Ontario retire.
Kowalewicz writes lyrics about his personal life which he perceives is the ability for fans to relate to the themes. “I think first and foremost you want to write good songs you know? Good songs then transcend to all the fans, whether you’re an old fan or a new fan, there’s this cosmic kind of feeling.”
How so? “Every single musician that picks up a guitar or sits behind a drum kit or writes a song always hopes that song will connect with people,” explains Kowalewicz. “So far on this record I just have to finish some tracks and I already think there’s something really special and kind of magic surrounding it which makes it feel really right. It’s like a cohesive unit between the four of us and people are going to hopefully resonate with that.”
There was a particularly structured writing process for the production of the new Billy Talent album. “When Ian [D’Sa, lead guitarist] and I sit down, we kind of theme out songs. I don’t know how other bands work but the way we work is we wait until all the music is done, all the melodies are completed and then we fit everything in. So we do the music and then we work on the lyrics. You need the song to speak to you in a way. There’s a vibe with the melody that you feel and that triggers something in your head and from that we get inspired and put pen to paper.”
There is a protocol of sharing in the Billy Talent camp with the goal of agreeing on all the elements of the music. “It’s good to have other people’s perspectives. We always talk to the other guys in the band especially when we are taking chances like discussing tracks that may be perceived as ‘taboo’ like ‘Devil in a Midnight Mass’. It’s important to discuss those things… because when you’re putting your stuff out there, the whole band is on the line and you have to take those chances together.”
To many, Billy Talent’s track ‘Red Flagy’, would have been first heard on the racing videogame series, Burnout. It appears that in today’s day and age, it was a productive method of getting their music out. “Well when that was first coming out (in 2005)… it was kind of the first time we had even heard of the idea of that and I think you have to stay current with how the world is progressing. You have to use the mediums that are provided or that are available to you to your advantage. I had kids come up to me for years saying ‘the first time I heard you was on Burnout’ and it’s powerful so why not?”
With many labels and stylised genre names these days, Kowalewicz confirms that Billy Talent is simply a ‘rock n roll’ band. “We have a singer and a guitar player, a bassist and a drummer and we get up and we play our songs.”
Asking himself the rhetorical question of what genres he likes, Kowalewicz’ common answer is yes, “I listen to everything. We grew up in a town of a punk rock scene and we have a lot of stuff in the first ten years of our career with different styles. We know it takes blood, sweat and tears but we’re definitely influenced by the punk rock world if anything. At the same time though, we’re also influenced by the classic rock world. We love The Police and Led Zeppelin just as much we love The Clash and The Pistols.”
Veering away from the deep expression of musical passion, Kowalewicz divulges on his drinking preferences. “I’m actually pretty liquor friendly,” he jokes, “I like a good whiskey and I like a good beer as well, I like a good glass of wine too. We have an unspoken rule in the band though, we save our drinking until after the show.”
Kowalewicz concludes “you can expect an excited band to be comin’ over there and we will hopefully be playing some new songs off the record. We’re just stoked to be back over there and see everybody in Australia.”
You can catch Billy Talent on tour with Soundwave 2013 around the country from Saturday 23rd February, playing times for Sydney & Brisbane here, Melbourne & Adelaide here, with Perth to be announced. They also play Sidewaves shows in Sydney and Melbourne, dates and details below.
Billy Talent & Sum 41 Australian Tour Dates 2013
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 30 NOVEMBER, 9AM
TUESDAY 26 FEBRUARY
SYDNEY, UNSW ROUNDHOUSE – Licensed All Ages