The day after the Church finished recording their forthcoming album in Sydney, vocalist and songwriter Steve Kilbey left Australia for good. Moving to Sweden to be close to his seven-year old twin daughters, Kilbey has spent the last five months being a father and compiling a book of poetry called Ninevah after the Biblical city. Now ready to hit the stage again, he plays London's Borderline on April 25.
"It's basically a request set," says Kilbey. "I just try to play the songs people want to hear and interact with the audience. Whatever they want me to do, I try and do it. It's very loose and a big gamble. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't"
The Borderline will be Kilbey's first gig in England for two years, although he played in Ireland a few months ago with The Church's guitarist Marty Willson-Piper.
"The last tour in Britain with a full electric band was in 1990, so it's been a long time," he says.
And he hopes there will be plenty of Church fans at the gig.
"We're pretty well known in Europe. When we used to tour, we'd pull anywhere between one and two thousand people. We haven't ever sold a lot of records anywhere, but we've always filled reasonably big places."
Although the band played in Australia last year, none of their set came from the new album, which hadn't been recorded at the time. Now it is finished, the band are prepared to wait for the right record deal before releasing it.
"People who have heard it think it's the best album that we've ever made," says Kilbey.
"It's much more of a group effort, lots of guitars, no other instruments, very live and melodic. We produced it ourselves and at the moment we're sifting through deals to see which company is going to offer us the best one. I'm not sure when it'll be out. Sometime later on this year, hopefully in the summer."
Kilbey would be happy for the whole band to go on tour again, although he's quick to explain that this depends on the type of deal they secure. "It all depends on what happens with the record -who signs us, where they want us to go and what sort of money we're talking about. I'd like to tour with the whole band. We played in Australia and it was the best we've ever been."
Over the last 18 years, The Church have released ten albums, three EP's and more than 20 singles. When Kilbey's not been writing new songs or poetry, he's produced and worked with Australian musicians including Margot Smith, Kev Carmody and Stephen Cummings at his Karmic Studio in Balmain. And while he admits to listening to a lot of ambient music recently, he attributes The Church's longevity to the fact that they're a good guitar band.
"We've always stuck to our guns and made music for the love of it and over the years we've all become quite good musicians. I think our albums are a little bit different- you can listen to them a lot and not get sick of them."
If you want further proof, check Steve Kilbey out at the Borderline. Otherwise you'll have to wait until the album's ready for release, which may be way off yet.
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