Bearing Their Souls

26 July 2012 | 6:45 am | Naomi Shimoda

So who would Pavlovic consider her favourite big old bear of choice from her childhood? “I was pretty into Winnie the Pooh. I think I’ve got an A. A. Milne poem book somewhere,” she laughs.

Equipped with a charming songbook of modern folklore and crafty lyrics, Perth six-piece Big Old Bears are more than ready to share their new self-titled EP. Characterised by the perfectly-matched voices of Div Craft and Nathalie Pavlovic and their incorporation of multiple weird and wonderful instruments, Big Old Bears promise diversified material with their latest cub. “We've still got the same influences, but we've sort of, maybe put our new twists on it a bit more. We're playing with a few different musicians as well,” reveals Pavlovic. “A lot of our friends helped out. There's a lot more input into it this time.”

Spending the last two years honing the EP to perfection, the band has been busy ensuring their distinct sound is stamped on each track. Melding traditional and contemporary sounds incorporating a range of instruments from banjos to ukuleles, their sound is heavily influenced by older music. So how exactly do you make old music modern? “I don't know if it's a conscious thing. I think it's more listening to really old musicians from the '30s and '40s and also contemporary musicians, so it's a subconscious thing of their style coming in as modern day music, and that's what happens really,” explains Pavlovic. Lead single Never Haunting Storm is a personal favourite of Pavlovic's, who proves to be indecisive when it comes to choosing a preferred track. “It changes every day,” she admits. “It's hard to say, because even though we just released the new EP, we've also been writing, so it's hard to keep up with favourites,” she laughs.

Band rehearsals are admittedly easy to organize as most of the band members live in close proximity to one another in Mount Lawley. “We rehearse at my house actually, even though we keep on getting noise complaints from our neighbours,” Pavlovic laughs. “But we do it anyway. They haven't called the police yet!” Besides recording, the band played a mini-tour with The Waifs down south in March. “It was quiet a while ago, but we played a show and I guess someone with the band — the manager or someone involved with the band — saw us and thought we fit the style and asked us to play for them,” Pavlovic reminisces. “They're really talented performers and entertainers. It was really good to see that in action.” Besides The Waifs, she reveals that Amber Fresh (otherwise known as indie-pop gem Rabbit Island) is a musician she admires, and would be honoured to support if the opportunity should arise.

With an upcoming gig at Mojo's this Friday to launch the EP, Pavlovic excitedly talks about her expectations for the show. “This one should be really good 'cause we've been putting a lot of work into it. Hopefully this will be the best!” she enthuses.  Fans on the East Coast may be treated to some Big Old Bears goodness as plans for a national tour may be in the works. “That's definitely in the future, hopefully,” she laughs. “Obviously we haven't really played anywhere but WA so [we're] really looking forward to going over east. Now that we've got a new release, we should have something to show everyone.”

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Tying in with their unique band name, Pavlovic reveals Craft has also tested the colourful waters of children's music, dabbling with songs catered to a much younger audience. So who would Pavlovic consider her favourite big old bear of choice from her childhood? “I was pretty into Winnie the Pooh. I think I've got an A. A. Milne poem book somewhere,” she laughs. “Honey is tasty as well. I'm quite partial to honey on toast!”