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Tim Powles talks about Beside Yourself to FasterLouder.com.au Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 October 2004

Originally published by http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/ at http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/features/1270/

 

The Church have been writing, recording and touring the world for the last twenty years. With an extensive body of work behind them, a diverse and wide-spread fanbase, Tim Powles, drummer for The Church talks to FasterLouder.com.au about the new album, Beside Yourself and cross dressing? as you do!

 

When you think about The Church, you instantly recall their singles, Under The Milky Way and Unguarded Moment from the 1980s, their many wonderful albums since; Seance, Remote Luxury, Heyday, Starfish, Gold Afternoon Fix, Priest=Aura, Sometime Anywhere, Hologram Baal and the list goes on and on! The Church have gone on to create an indelible mark on the art-rock scene, moreso on foreign shores than here in Australia. With over a dozen albums under their belt and enviable critical recognition as one of the world?s leading art-rock bands, The Church have been anything but quiet since their early chart glory, over 20 years ago. The Church features Steve Kilbey on vocals and bass, Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes on guitars and of course, Tim Powles on drums. 

 

When I caught up with Tim, he was on his mobile running between studios and grabbing a much-needed caffeine hit. ?There is so much going on, I do a lot of producing as well as the stuff I do for the band.?  The band?s current release, Beside Yourself is a limited edition Australian release with only 500 available in stores. 

 

?Because of our international fan base and the different labels we use in different countries to distribute our albums, we often have staggered release dates and it disadvantages some of countries as they don?t get as much as some others and it affects the imports and exports. We have done a whole lot of things for the American audience, we produced some exclusive tracks for [Apple] iTunes and did some other tracks during the year that the Australians didn?t get. So we pulled it all together and released it with our current album, Forget Yourself as a very limited release.?

 

The new songs, recorded as US iTunes exclusives are called Jazz, Tel Aviv and Illusion Mysteries and all three are as different from each other as day to night. Jazz is a languid, mellow tune with beautiful vocals from raspy whispers to subtle harmonies. Tel Aviv is ebullient, vivid melodic-rock with something that sounds like a harpsichord in the background and Illusion Mysteries is rhythm heavy with tambourines, maracas and a deep bass sound pulsing with the unique sound that is The Church with the band just now putting the finishing touches on a new album due for release next year. The new album is, according to Tim ?very much rock peppered with electronica.?

 

This album Beside Yourself, flows like a stream with it's orchestral, symphonic and grand tones, particularly Serpent Easy, the last song on the album which leaves the listener hungry for more. It is richly textured, with every note, every sound designed to blend and accentuate the message and mood desired by the songs creators. There are elements of jazz, experimental electronica and solid rock blended together to create an ethereal, magical album that even becomes completely instrumental in parts.

 

The band are also just about to embark on a national tour to support the release of Beside Yourself and to reinvigorate local interest in Forget Yourself, The Church?s latest commercial release. ?We are hoping to try out some of the new tracks and we are previewing some of the acoustic tracks in the middle of the set.?

 

Tim talks about The Church?s sound and influences and explains why there are so many styles reflected in their music:

 

?We are pretty eclectic. I guess that is what happens when different members of the band live overseas. We are all exposed to different cross-sections of music and when we get together as a band to do anything we bring that with us. We hear or work with other bands and that affects the way you see things or do things at any given time too.? 

?We are very much influenced by our environments and we dance off ourselves. When we tour we experience a lot of things and hear a lot of things and that have an effect on what music we make. We are touring in November and I?m sure that will affect the next songs we record. We just go out there and play the best bunch of songs at the time, which represents where we are and what fits with the night.? 

?We are the sound, the product of four unswappable people in the group. We went to the South By South West festival (SXSW in Austin, Texas, USA) and when I looked around I was immensely proud of who we were, how we were stabilised who we are and what we had accomplished. We have maintained out creativity and integrity and I just appreciated it so much when we were there.?

 

The Church, like many Australian bands, have found a greater level of success overseas and tour the world annually and therefore, they've seemed to attain a very strong sense of who they are and what their music sounds like.  ?We have been lucky with our record label; pretty much lets us run ourselves so we have a lot of control over our music. We?ve been doing this a long time now.?

 

?The band faded away in the early 90?s, we were doing other things and as we collected ourselves and refocused we had to hop from an Australian label to a UK label that distributed our releases to the Australian audience through its international arm. Its funny, everywhere else in the world we are photographed next to our new stuff and that is what we are talking about and the back catalogue is pretty much ignored. In Australia, it is all about the back catalogue from our original label and not much about the new releases.?

 

Tim also explains why they didn?t take advantage of the 80?s revival: ?We have shied away from the compilation CDs of the 80?s, we just didn?t want to do it. We were still going in our career as a band and making new music so it didn?t seem right. We just didn?t want to do the reunion tours and things like that. I don?t know if that has hurt us or helped us but that was what we chose.?

 

The audience in Australia ranges in age from people who grew up with the band from the start to people with parents who listened to the band and have grown up along with the band over the years. Overseas fans tend to be very diverse coming from MTV coverage and heavy radio rotation of their new material. ?We?ve got a lot of cool!?  Tim says with a laugh. ?If only cool could always cover the rent!?

 

Tim's other life is as a prolific producer (and perhaps this is what pays the rent). ?I?m currently working on an EP with George Byrnes, Rose Byrne?s brother which is turning out well, getting some play on Triple J. I?m working on Switchkicker with Daniel (Sutherland) and recorded a single with iOTA which will be launched on radio this week. Steve is also working on a remix album with Not Drowning Waving. It?s been busy!?

 

Now I mentioned cross-dressing didn?t I? I have the proud honour of being the first person to step forward as a witness to a certain drummer performing with Sydney band The Camel?s Christmas Pageant in a very fetching dress. ?Oh My God, that was me, not Steve! He is going to die when he hears that you thought it was him! I was producing The Camels album and I sang a duet with our sound engineer. We?re doing it again this year and this time the challenge is to be even more out there with the dress. You are the first person to ever mention that to me or bring it up. Classic!?

 

If you want to see The Church playing in pants, like all good rock'n'roll boys should, catch them at the stages below in November:

 

12th - The Gov, Hindmarsh, SA

13th - Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC

19th - The Metro, Sydney, NSW

20th - The Zoo, Fortitude Valley, QLD

 

And if you want to see Tim in a dress, I suggest you keep an eye out for The Camel?s Annual Christmas party usually held at The Hopetoun in Sydney!

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 December 2004 )
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