The John Butler Trio has just released Flesh & Blood, their first new album in four years.
Butler took a time out to chat with Australian Times after a gig in Auckland just before heading north for this week’s highly anticipated UK tour, including a big show on Wednesday at London’s Brixton Academy.
Like their last album April Uprising, Flesh & Blood mixes jam grooves with acoustic ballads. Butler agreed that his music has evolved in tone since the latest incarnation of the trio.
With fewer political lyrics, Flesh & Blood he describes as “less angry”. Moving on from “the struggle” his latest tracks, he says, are more about “balance, the fight for love and a celebration”.
“It was the easiest album yet and was made in 20 days,” John says.
He mentions how naturally the trio collaborated, especially on more percussive songs like ‘Devil Woman’ and ‘Blame It On Me’.
The track ‘How you Sleep at Night’, “came from a dream” and has a more melancholic quality. He wanted the song itself to be recorded in “a dream way”, as he put it.
The ability to move between very dynamic and more tranquil songs is a quality the John Butler Trio is renowned for, both on record and on stage. Butler says: “The audience wants the hits, and we’re happy to play them, but performances, like albums, need variety. You don’t want to drive through the same scenery every night. Music performances need momentum.”
When asked if audiences change according to country he says: “Not really, it depends how good the music sounds and the vibe of the audience. The collaboration between audience and band.”
Also see: 5 awesome John Butler Trio live videos
For over a decade now, John Butler Trio’s UK concerts have been a mecca for expat Aussies. ‘JBT’ have become synonymous with the Aussie music scene and the band’s distinctive sound is cherished by Aussies worldwide.
Butler’s family travels with him on tour and he says he’s looking forward to the “beautiful places in the UK – old parts of town and parks – between gigs”.
Where to from here? Butler says the song-writing process is organic and his trio are “employees of the song. What the song wants is what the song gets. It’s experiential”. Next he’d like to do an album “with massive beats and fat guitar”. We look forward to that… and to Wednesday’s blast in Brixton — see you there!
John Butler Trio UK Tour 2014
> Rock City, Nottingham: 29 April
> O2 Academy, Brixton (London): 30 April
> O2 Academy, Bristol: 02 May
> Plymouth Pavilions: 03 May
Get John Butler Trio tickets, here
Get the John Butler Trio Flesh & Blood album, here
IMAGES: By Kester Sappho