Birds Of Prey

14 November 2012 | 6:00 am | Benny Doyle

“With Paulie, it was a bit more of a professional relationship, even though there was that underlying friendship, but we were going to him as a producer so we valued his opinion. We wouldn’t have gone there for starters if we didn’t, but he also valued our opinions.”

More Kingfisha More Kingfisha

Drew Stephens sounds like a man content yet hungry. Throughout the interview, it seems as if there is a sense of relief and pride that Kingfisha's self-titled release is at last ready to be heard. However, it's obvious that the Brisbane musician, along with his cohorts, is ready to take these powerful songs out into the wild. Your first impression of Kingfisha is one of depth and quality. It's a debut that doesn't just stand up within the Brisbane locale or domestically across the country; the sextet have created a world-class record that feels as pure as raindrops hitting your face. It manages to balance the ideals and earthy nature of roots and reggae, but it's delivered with effortless style and polish. Don't be fooled by the ease with which the music plays out though; this album has been a hard slog, Stephens admitting that it took many false starts before the band really got racing.

“We had a few attempts at recording the album, going to a studio with a bunch of songs to record, and we just weren't really happy with the outcome of each of those attempts. So we left it for a little bit; we'd keep gigging and keep writing, then we'd try again a few months later and see what was happening. We tried a bunch of different approaches, different processes and things like that, and I think the final process, which was working with Paulie B at the Tanuki Lounge (West End), was a winner. Maybe because we had someone with an overall perspective of the album without being too close to it. I think we were a bit too precious there for a while as well.”

Stephens explains that while this overly-protective nature was problematic, it wasn't the only weight holding them down. “Partly I think it was that, but also, we were still defining ourselves and our sound; I think that's taken a little bit longer than we expected. We went in with certain songs and they weren't sounding that fresh; they were just sounding – I know this is going to sound weird – but they were sounding like a band. I think that we always pictured ourselves, on record, sounding larger than life and a bit more produced, and it just wasn't heading in that direction. So we put it off and put it off, and then some of the songs that we started writing in the last year were in that vein – a bit more produced and a bit more sonic soundscapey-type stuff going on. Once we started recording those ideas and then working with Paulie, it came together pretty quick.”

The Paulie B that Stephens speaks of is one Paulie Bromley, he of Pangaea, george and The Beautiful Girls fame. “He's a bit of a figure in Brisbane; everyone has encountered him at some point on some level, and he's just such a lovely guy and everyone gets along with him. So he was an old friend by the time we did this recording.” As well as stumbling upon him, as most established Brisbane musicians have in the past 15 years or so, many of the Kingfisha boys, Stephens included, have also played with the dreadlocked local mainstay. It was within this established kinship that the band found someone who also saw their vision.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“With Paulie, it was a bit more of a professional relationship, even though there was that underlying friendship, but we were going to him as a producer so we valued his opinion. We wouldn't have gone there for starters if we didn't, but he also valued our opinions.”

Kingfisha will be playing the following shows:

Saturday 17 November - Australasian World Music Expo, The Hi-Fi VIC