Into The Red

21 November 2012 | 6:15 am | Tony McMahon

"If people started to say that they were all beginning to sound the same, then I might have to think about doing things differently."

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Local purveyors of hypnotic chilltronica, All India Radio are celebrating their 12th year with an 11th album, the impossibly gorgeous Red Shadow Landing. As if this wasn't prolific enough, frontman Martin Kennedy has also made three albums in collaboration with The Church's Steve Kilbey. But back to the current record; actually, Kennedy says, there might be one or two more that we've forgotten to count. “It might be more than that. I've lost track. There's been a few collections and compilations and things like that, so it might be more than 11. But I've always found it easy to write songs. I think I approached this album differently to the previous one in that there was a definite plan to involve the whole band and almost record a live album. We hadn't really done that before. Each album I have a different mindset for. If people started to say that they were all beginning to sound the same, then I might have to think about doing things differently.”

Where does Kennedy think this record fits in with the rest of his body of work? Interestingly, he says, while he sees it as quite a separate entity, there are also ties that bind. “I think it sits out pretty much on its own. Like I touched on before, it's a lot more of a band collaboration rather than just me half solo, half band, which is kind of how we've done it in the past. At the same time, there are certain elements in this record that have been in each album all the way back to the beginning. I quite like to include themes that I've used before, just for some kind of continuity, even if it's not immediately obvious.”

Kennedy has mentioned his band twice now. Does this mean he's interested in All India Radio becoming more of a live act? It seems he's still sitting on the fence slightly. “Yes and no,” he says. “When I say 'new band members', these guys have been playing with me for years, but I guess I still see them as the new guys. But this is the first time we've all recorded together by going into a proper studio and spending time just making the music.”

Although this might all be a bit new to him, Kennedy is supremely confident that the songs from Red Shadow Landing will make for a killer live show. “Although we've played a couple of live gigs here and there, it really hasn't been that often. The live thing has always kind of been secondary to the recording. This time around, though, because we wanted to record the band more-or-less live in the studio, we knew the songs would translate well live. These songs, I'm really comfortable playing them live. In the past I'd created songs and then tried to interpret them live. These songs began as live songs, so hopefully they'll sound good live. I think they will.”

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And the launch itself? It's a matinee show at the Workers Club, and, even when you're as prolific as Kennedy, events like this are still a special occasion. There's a super support, age-friendly timing, and the extraordinarily sexy notion of coming home with red vinyl tucked under one's arm. “The other band playing is Summon The Birds, and they're launching their album as well, so it's going to be great,” continues Kennedy. “Last album launch was a matinee show and we found that a really good time to play. It brought out a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't have come, so we thought we'd do that again. So hopefully it'll bring out some people who need to be home by a certain time. I'm one of those people, really. Doing the red vinyl was something like $50 more, so we thought we'd go for that. It's a beautiful thing to hold in your hand.”

All India Radio will be playing the following shows:

Sunday 25 November - Workers Club, Melbourne VIC