When Matt Sykes, drummer for The Other Colours, passed away at the end of January, Paul Greene had a quick decision to make - to cancel or go ahead with the band's upcoming tour. For Greene, it was an easy choice to soldier on.
"I had to deal with it fairly quickly, the same day, and instantly I knew that that's what he would want. He wouldn't want me to stop, he'd want me to do what I'm doing," he says. "He was relentless.
"When he decided he was going to do something, he just did it to all of his ability and I shared that with him. When I do something, I don't stop, I do it with all my love and don't try to worry too much about the outcome."
Though Sykes had only been a touring member of the band for about six months, Greene had known him for several years and the band, including bass player Neil Beaver, had grown incredibly close.
"You spend a lot of time with people other than at gigs, he just felt like family," Greene says.
He is prepared for the month-long tour for the third single from last year's album, Bad Luck Lately, to be a sad and reflective time, but says Sykes will be there in spirit. One of Sykes' drumming students will be filling in for the Wollongong show and hopefully several others.
"I thought it was really fitting to have his student play with us and I'm going to ask if I can borrow Matt's drum kit as well, to have him with us," Greene says. "It's going to be very sad. It will just remind me to play my heart out, play every gig like it's your last, because that's the reality."
After the tour wraps up in March, Greene is planning on writing for a new album. If he does include any songs that have resulted from reflecting on Sykes' life, they will have a positive feel, in line with his philosophy on music.
"I always make sure I put joy into it. I really enjoy what I do and don't see the point in writing miserable songs," he says."Life's a celebration. You can look at the hard side of it, but you have to look at the positive. Things go wrong, but they can't go wrong all the time. It's a statistical impossibility."
While there is no definite sound to a new album just yet, Greene says it will be different to the rock feel of the ARIA-nominated Behind the Stars and hopes to release something later this year.
"It's only when you start recording that you get a feel of the shape of the record."