The Big Don’t Argue

11 July 2012 | 7:08 am | Steve Bell

"It’s essentially American-based music at its core," no surprise then that The Hello Morning have sights set on the US.

The Hello Morning have long been one of those mythical outfits from the thriving Melbourne scene, earning themselves a fervent following in their hometown but only existing as a mist of whispers and rumours for those of us in northern climes. That all changed earlier this year with the release of their self-titled debut album, an assured collection of soul-specked Americana that showcased both solid songwriting and a knack for arrangements clearly shared among the band's six members. It's a strong first offering, and one that will finally allow them to spread the word far outside the borders of the Victorian capital.

“It took a long time, probably 18 months in total,” frontman and chief songwriter Steve Clifford recalls. “We started off in a Melbourne studio, but then went up to Daylesford in regional Victoria and just hired this property and set up a whole bunch of studio gear that we hired and borrowed from people – and stole from other people – and stayed up there for a couple of months to finish it all off, just to get away from everything. Then it just kept growing as we added things – we added strings and horns – and it became this behemoth, but we were happy for that to happen, that's kind of what we wanted.”

Now, mere months later, The Hello Morning are releasing a follow-up EP, Without You. The title track is one of the album's standouts, but what's remarkable about the EP is the strength of the b-sides.

“Some of them [are from the album session] and some of them aren't – some of them are actually new recordings,” Clifford tells. “We basically just wanted to do something new, and it had been a few months since we'd put something out, so we wanted to keep the ball rolling. Now we have a couple of things to take on the road with us.”

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And on the road they are, heading up as support for Busby Marou's massive tour. Last year they were here supporting Dan Sultan – have they been to Queensland under their own steam before?

“We'd been up to Caloundra maybe a year before [the Sultan tour] – that's our only other expedition up to Queensland,” Clifford laughs. “It was just like a daytrip – it seemed like the least sensible thing to do so we did it. After this tour we'd like to come up under our own steam – maybe over summer – but it depends what's going on, we have a couple of other things in the pipeline for the next few months. But we love going up there, it's warmer and it's nicer, so hopefully we'll be back before the end of the year.”

Obviously with their sound being so indebted to and southern soul they also have their eyes on the States as an eventual destination.

“Yeah, we're planning on taking the album over there in the next couple of months, not actually going over there but sending the album over and servicing it to (hopefully) the right people,” Clifford admits. “Then if everything works out we'd love to head over there next year – obviously that's where we draw a lot of our influences from, and that's what we listen to. It's essentially American-based music at its core – I think probably more in debt to than soul. Having said that, there's six of us in the band, so it's really a collection of all these different ideas and opinions and influences, it's not just one thing. Some of us are more into that southern soul thing, so that's where it comes from. It's like a big argument, but a big friendly argument.”