Member Spotlight: Interview with Bobby Burgess
Bobby Burgess has been at the forefront of the Perth music scene for over a decade, and is now excited to debut his own solo album, Back From The Brink, written in the aftermath of a New York hit-and-run that left him fighting for his life. We had a chat with Bobby all about the album ahead of its launch on January 18th.
What sparked your decision to start this project? Was it a goal throughout your recovery, or did it emerge organically as you returned to songwriting?
It was a need to stay involved in music. Being literally off my feet meant I couldn’t play shows or perform in any way. The only thing left for me to do was play guitar in my bedroom like I was fourteen again. Eventually a friend of mine suggested writing a book about everything I’d been through. A great idea but I’m not a writer I’m a musician, and with a need to play music, doing an album became a no brainer and a chance to get my story out.
Tell us a bit about how the sound on this album differs to your other work, and what the inspiration to move in this direction was.
Its a bit more stripped back than any records I’ve ever done. There’s not a lot of drums, in fact no real drums, just electronic kick and snare, because I can’t play drums and I didn’t have anyone else around to play on it. It opens with a big epic slow burner, then goes into some punchy rock songs, some groovy numbers and some aggressive rage. The sounds are all a reflection of the emotions I was going through during recovery. The lyrics on this record are the most literal I’ve ever done. Pretty much everything I’m singing about is exactly what happened.
As your first solo album and having written, performed and produced the album yourself, was there a noticeable difference in the process you had to adjust to? Did you feel you had more creative freedom?
I got to do a lot of the writing as I recorded rather than having all the songs worked out with a band before going into a studio. This means I could put down some guitar tracks for one song, start working on a different song, and come back a month or so later and do the vocals on the first song. Also there was not this – rush to get it done because the money for the studio time is about to run out – nonsense, which was nice. I could take as long as I wanted but I decided to get ten songs finished before going back into hospital and that would be that.
Are there any big takeaways from this album you’d love listeners to have?
Life is so damn short and it can be taken away from you in an instant, cherish it, own it, make it real.
You can check out Bobby’s album launch at Grumpy’s Music Bar on Saturday 18th January, supported by The Shakeys, Tanami, Timmy Hamzah and DJ Holly Doll! More info here.