The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect have been reborn, with a new vocalist, Paul Galagher, added to the fold. chats with drummer Ben Hall…and it’s not always a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle with the musician talking in between preparing lunch for his kids after arriving home from an airport drop-off. We talk to Hall about all things the Butterfly Effect circa 2013.

I remember being much younger when ‘Final Conversation of Kings’ came out. What has been going on between then and now, more so over the last few years?

Obviously, Clint’s left the band. That was in 2012. We did a farewell tour with him and then embarked upon the journey of trying to find a suitable replacement for him. There were lots of highs and lows between there and finding a guy, sometimes it felt like we were never really going to find anyone, but in the last hour we found Pauly. We hit the jam room with him a few times and decided that he was the guy. It was fitting quite well for both parties and so we recorded some tracks and produced a single a few months ago. We released that single just to say ‘hey, we’ve got a new singer, we’re back on the scene, and here we are.’

Has a lot changed since Clint Boge’s departure from the band?

It’s hard to say. I don’t think a lot has changed. We were quite used to the way our relationship worked in the rehearsal room, so we’re still getting used to that situation with Pauly, but then it’s exciting and fresh again. We haven’t actually been in a rehearsal room since that tour ended because Kurt’s gone on a holiday to Southern America for six weeks, so we’ll get back in there in about a week and a half and rehearse for these shows. Then early next year we’ll get stuck into writing and finishing the album. It’s fairly exciting for us.

I assume it’s going good with Paul then?

Yeah, it’s going great.

You’ve also extended the Eyes Down Tour so I trust the shows with him are going well. How would you say they have been?

Yeah, that’s right. The shows were an amazing success if you ask me. There were points in time where I didn’t know if we would ever play again. Once Clint decided he was going to leave we were going "shit, where do we go from here? What’s going to happen?" Then obviously we found Paul and recorded a track and triple j started spinning it, and then finally but surely we fell back into the process of being a writing, recording, and touring band. It’s exciting. The attendances were great. I’m really stoked people came out and gave it a chance with Paul as well.

How has the response to the first single with Paul, ‘Eyes Down’, been?

It’s been good on some parts, and then there was always going to be some people that would go ‘if it’s not Clint, I’m not interested’ which we were completely aware of.

That always the trouble with changing vocalists, it’s never quite the same sound.

Yeah, that’s exactly right. I forgive it though, we’ve just got to keep doing things the way we always have, and that is writing music we like and enjoy. Obviously Paul’s going to put a different spin on it, it’s not going to sound like Clint, and that’s what we went for in a replacement. We didn’t want someone that was basically Clint emulated, but someone who can stand alone and do their own thing. It’ll take time, but it’s time we’ve got, I guess. I’m really looking forward to it.

You have said that the song is a return to the band’s older sound. Can we expect any upcoming music to also be similar to that?

Look, you know, I’ve got a theory about that kind of thing. I think when bands start trying to replicate themselves is when things are not going very well. It’s my theory though, it could be a little close-minded. I’ve always enjoyed the philosophy, and the process, of writing a record and then going "cool, we’ve done that, now what’s next for us?" Rather than looking back and thinking, "well I had a really good time around the release of that record, everyone seemed to love it." I believe you should try and keep on your toes and keep things fresh and exciting rather than just looking at the past for the answers. It’s not an easy job trying to write music that people like, and I think we haven’t had to write music thinking about what people will like, we’ve been very fortunate.

The music we write people have just liked, which might sound arrogant but that’s the way it always was from when we first wrote the EP. We weren’t writing it with other people’s ears in mind, we were just writing it thinking "fuck that was awesome man, do that again, and do this again", and then we played it in front of people and they went ‘that’s cool’ and we went ‘well that’s two positives then, because we like it and you like it too.’ That’s still the philosophy I’d like to employ when writing.

We don’t want to write music because we think that is what people will like, for instance looking back upon an album like ‘Begins Here’ and going "let’s just try and replicate that again." It seems like something bands do when they’re tired and not quite sure of where they’re moving. Again though, it’s just my philosophy and I haven’t given up yet. I’m still trying to write interesting and fresh music, and there’s plenty of it around, Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus are doing it and The Occupants are having a crack at something that’s fresh and exciting, so I want to be a part of fresh and exciting and not dredging up the past.

So what can you tell us about the new album? How far along in the process is the band?

I think we’re probably seven tracks in, seven to eight tracks in, and there’s still a lot because we didn’t stop writing once Clint left. So, like I said, once Kurt gets back from his holiday we’re going to get stuck and start pulling the best out of all of it and start looking at producers and locking in recording for it. It really is quite exciting because there definitely have been periods of time where we were all just looking at each other going "fuck, is this going to happen, or?"

It must be relieving now that it’s all on track.

Yeah, and like I said, even if it doesn’t end up being as big as it once was, it’s really not about that. It’s about getting back to creating and having a fun time.

Can you tell us anything about what The Butterfly Effect plan to deliver in 2014?

Well there’ll obviously be a record and subsequent tours. Music-wise, it’s really hard to say what the album would be like. It’ll be dark and heavy like we’ve always done, which some people might find boring but we’re stuck on it (laughs). We’re still fleshing out Paul and what Paul can do, so I think there’s going to be a fair few twists and turns and that sort of stuff. We’ll definitely write something that’s fresh, as I said, and try to write something that is a step in a different direction so that people can go ‘cool, they’re still thinking about their music and about what they’re doing.

So has Paul brought anything different to the band which you didn’t think you’d be doing or anything like that?

Not so much as of yet. It’s only a fairly young relationship. It’s about six months old, but what he has brought is positivity. That’s something we definitely needed and he’s really great to work with. He’s very professional and it’s a pleasure working with him. We’ll really be bunkered down in the studio in the next few months, trying to get through the nuts and bolts of things and probably start having our first moments of angriness with each other and those kinds of things. When things get tough it’s great, it’s what we look forward to, because we know that’s when the best stuff comes out. Paul’s very versatile and that’s really what I’m looking forward to pushing in him, as bands push each other, they do it to get the best out of themselves. I’m really looking forward to that.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Well, we’re excited about the New Year’s shows and a couple of festivals we’ll be playing next year that haven’t been announced yet but will be soon. We’re just enjoying getting back on the horse, I guess you could say. We’re also playing with The Nerve over New Year’s which is great, they’re a couple of old friends of ours, Louie from Cog and Zeke from Mammal. It’s going to be like a little family New Year’s Eve for us which is great. That’s about it, looking forward to getting the record under way.

All right, well thanks for your time. I’ll let you get back to it.

No worries.

Enjoy the tour.

Cheers, mate.

The Butterfly Effect tour NSW and QLD this December/January. Details here.

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