Achieving Long Desired Goals

1 October 2015 | 4:13 pm | Simone Ubaldi

"A lot of the things we've been trying to achieve for six years have really come together this year."

More Boy & Bear More Boy & Bear

"We didn't have a great experience recording Moonfire in Nashville, and maybe I was a bit of a spoiled brat thinking, 'This sucks'. It was tough. It was a tough record. I think a few years down the track I think I'm just a bit more grateful and a bit more humbled that I am able to do this as a career."

Tim Hart of Boy & Bear is jazzed about their new record. Produced by Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon, Laura Marling, Rufus Wainwright), Limit Of Love is described in the press notes as an "honest and organic album" from the folk rock quintet. It captures the band in their best light, in a way that Moonfire (2011) and Harlequin Dream (2013) might have failed to do. "A lot of the things we've been trying to achieve for six years have really come together this year," Hart explains. "We're a live band, at the heart of it… People have commented over the years that we sound great live but we don't sound the same on record. You take stock of that. How can we get the same energy going on the record?"

Part of the solution was a more collaborative process. "I think we've felt ownership in all three records but for this one, it really feels like good teamwork from the boys," Hart says. During songwriting sessions on the New South Wales coast, Hart and his bandmates took a fluid approach to their roles, downing red wine and swapping instruments just to test the new sounds. They wrote Showdown, A Thousand Faces and Walk The Wire this way.

As Boy & Bear's drummer, Hart has left the lyric-writing to Dave Hosking in the past, but he was glad to help out on Limit Of Love when his lead singer asked for support. "I started out as a solo guitarist and singer-songwriter so I've always been interested in the way songs are put together and storytelling, trying to come up with a whole plot line in three minutes, 30 seconds," Hart explains. He and Hosking have a natural bond as writers, having both grown up on folk music, and Hart found the collaboration intensely rewarding. "It's something that is really life-giving for me, I absolutely love it, but I still want Dave to tell his story. Anyway I can help him, I will, but he's the one who is going to be singing the melody and communicating that story. I feel like I'm there to back him up, which is a cool place to be."

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

At Johns's suggestion, the band recorded the new album to tape, with live vocals and virtually no overdubs. The other part of the solution of how to capture the band's live energy was simply to record them playing live. The very simple concept made perfect sense to Hart, not just in terms of capturing their sound but as a way to fill out their songwriting. "The only way I can figure out what kind of drum sound we need for a song is for Dave to be singing, Killian [Gavin] to be playing guitar, Jon [Hart] to be playing keys and Dave [Symes] to be playing bass. I need to be able to see the whole picture to know the colour we need from the drums. That's how we did it. That suits Boy & Bear."