At least someone got to play shows this year, albeit seated.
With their sixth record having come out last month, Ball Park Music also undertook a whopping 13-gig residency at Brissy’s Triffid that they expected to be different – and not just because it was seated; à-la COVIDSafe.
Crammed into just six days and including an all-ages show, the Brissy five-piece are embracing the weirdness that’s come with playing gigs in the time of corona to deliver a set of shows to remember.
“To be able to play gigs this year is pretty exciting,” says guitarist and backing-vocalist Dean. “Just to be able to get in front of fans. It’s going to be a little different, sure – it’s going to be a sit-down, table service thing – but we’re treating it differently as well.”
Along with keeping fans on our toes by changing up the set list every night, the band were intending to deck out The Triffid with old posters and merch to celebrate their self-titled album by looking at the career that brought them to it.
“The best thing is not having to load in and out every night, which inspired the idea of bringing in all the relics from our past,” says Dean. “It feels like inviting people into our ‘natural habitat’,” he laughs.
“With all the junk we’ve got lying around, you don’t realise you’ve been collecting all these ‘bookmarks’ of your career. It’s nice to be able to celebrate that going into a self-titled record.”
“Even if we did have some sort of inspiration flying around the room, we couldn’t always record it or muster the energy to stay in that room…”
The decision to call their sixth album Ball Park Music came quite late in the piece. Dean explained: “I think we’ve considered calling pretty much every one of our records self-titled, but it never felt like they were suited to it. It felt lazy, and didn’t feel right.”
“This one feels like the right one because of our confidence going into it. If anything, it signals the start of a new chapter for the band.”
“All our albums are quite eclectic, which made us a bit worried. But with this one we figured we’ve made enough of these things, and we’ve always been the same band; we don’t have to worry about it all falling into one particular category…whatever we put down is going to sound like Ball Park.”
The confidence that came with backing themselves as musicians has allowed the band to explore a greater range of dynamics on this record, which Dean described as “leaning into each song” and each of the member’s strengths.
The result is an album that’s both catchy enough to turn new heads (demonstrated by the quick pickup across diverse platforms from triple j to international Spotify playlists, and even the Triple M and Hit networks), while also treating long-time fans with new tunes that embrace the band’s history in a fresh way.
Ball Park Music was also self-produced and is the first to be released under Prawn Records, a label founded by the band.
The album’s production wasn’t easy though, having been written in their studio with bung air-con over the crazy summer of 2019–2020 when Australia was literally on fire.
“The highs were really high and the lows were really low,” described Dean. “Some days, we’re in there, hoping to make a masterpiece, but it sort of gets taken away from you… Even if we did have some sort of inspiration flying around the room, we couldn’t always record it or muster the energy to stay in that room that was 45º”.
“In saying that, at the opposite end of the spectrum, when there weren’t other issues to compete with, it felt better than usual – really inspired, and up and about.”
“It had its challenges, but I think the parts that made the record were probably the parts when we were feeling our most confident about what we were making and having the most fun.”