WEST THEBARTON West is the Best

Adelaide seven-piece West Thebarton have been making noise around Australia for a little while now, and that noise is only getting louder. Alongside their latest single Tops, the band have announced an Australian tour with Tasmania’s awesome A. Swayze & The Ghosts, including a stop by the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, June 15. KIERRA POLLOCK chatted to lead singer Reverend Ray a few weeks ago about the one year anniversary of their debut album, cramming onto stages, tambourines, Instagram and why the west is the best.

West Thebarton are a very big band, what’s the smallest stage you’ve ever had to cram on to?

There are seven people, so it does get a little tough. We started in Adelaide, there are some pretty small stages here. There’s a pub, which is a great pub, called the Grace Emily Hotel, a lot of bands come and play there, but the stage is really small and narrow, fitting all seven of us was a real chore. Usually, on a small stage we get three people off the stage and do half on and half off the stage, but because the stage is so high up we all needed to cram on stage, so yeah, that was a pretty hectic show.

In your Instagram stories, you ask each member questions and each replies with their take, what inspired you guys to do this?

I think when we were in the middle of tour last year, we’d gone about three months where every weekend we were on tour with each other, and we had this joke like we missed each other so much that we go through withdrawal. I think Caitlin started the joke but now it’s something we do when we all miss each other or get bored or something like that. Heaps of people say to us that it makes them feel more connected, and we just generally like to have a lot of fun, so the fact that it gets a laugh, doing a really crass joke, we’re like, we’ll just keep doing it until it’s not funny anymore.

Last time you played at the Rosemount you were supporting Polish Club, how does it feel coming back to headline the venue yourselves?

Awesome! I can’t wait, I love The Rosemount! It’s such a nice place when we played there before. When we were in Perth and Fremantle last time, we didn’t play there, so it’ll be awesome playing that stage. The Rosie seemed like such a cool and honest venue as well, like, we had a meal there and a couple of beers up in the beer garden, it seemed like a really cool place so I can’t wait to go back and play there properly.

How did your latest single, Tops, come together?

Tops is one of those songs that’s about moments in life when you should feel so fucking good about yourself, like you know that you’ve killed something, you know you’ve done something so well, and even though everyone’s congratulating you and saying all these nice things, there’s always one person that’s always a bit negative on it all, and that’s all you can really focus on. I feel it’s something everyone goes through. It’s about knowing that you should be feeling good about yourself, but you can’t trick your brain into thinking that, you are just focused on this one negative thing. It’s got a little bit of resolution in the fact that it just takes someone to say, “Stop being a dickhead, stop being stupid, you know that you’re doing well,” and that’s kind of all you need.

I wrote it when we were touring around, and feeling really burnt out and I knew we were doing so well and we’d just released the album last year and touring and we went around Europe and stuff, and I can’t remember what it was exactly, but someone just dragged it down a little bit and all I could focus on was, “How dare they talk about that?” “How dare they focus on the negativity of touring?” And it kind of just dragged me down and then that didn’t last for too long once I realised we’re kind of doing some pretty cool things.

Speaking of the album, it’s been a year tomorrow since Different Beings Being Different came out, how does that feel and how has that year been for the band?

It’s crazy! I actually only just realised this morning when my Facebook memories thing popped up! It’s crazy to think a year tomorrow we launched our debut record in our favourite record store in Adelaide with pizzas and beers, with a bunch of fans coming to listen to the record. That feels like yesterday for me, and to think that was a year ago, and we’ve done so much stuff since then. It’s just incredible. It really makes me think about how quick life goes, but also how much we’ve grown, like a lot of the songs on that album, I look back at and think that’s such a good song, but a lot of the songs we are writing now are very different, so it’s like, wow I’ve really grown up in a quick amount of time. When you go around the world and experience different things it definitely changes everything for you.

What kind of creative process do you guys go through when writing songs?

We’ve kind of got two different processes. Because there’s so many of us, it can be hard sometimes, but usually, someone comes in with an idea and they have it completely fleshed out and they’ll come to the band and six other people will tear bits off it and rebuild it as a band. Other times someone will come in with the most piss weak idea and all of us will kind of mould it into how we want it. It’s weird, usually everything stems from one person, but the band grow the song so it’s our own, so everyone has an equal buy-in and everyone is feeling it, because the worse thing as a seven-piece we’ve found, is when you’re playing a song or trying to write a song that not everyone’s into.

When will the tambourine be making another appearance, will it be coming out on this tour?

The tambourine will definitely be coming out on this tour! I think Brian’s broken a whole bunch of tambourines, but he just brought a new one a couple of weeks ago because we definitely were practicing with it the other night. We’ve got a new song with a tambourine solo in it.

Do you get a different vibe from singing the “West is the best” from your track Moving Out over here compared to on the east coast?

I get a lot of people on the east coast asking us “Why do you give us such a hard time?” and I just say it’s about the suburbs of Adelaide, it’s not about Australia, but I must admit, when we played Fremantle Falls (Downtown) earlier this year, “West is the Best” was the biggest chant I’ve ever heard, it was just huge. I keep forgetting that WA has this “fuck the east coast” thing. I always thought that was an Adelaide versus East Coast thing, I forget that the West Coast would obviously hate the East Coast. It’s awesome being able to say that when we play over in WA.

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