SHINING BIRD ALBUM LAUNCH
IPAC, Friday, October 4
Tickets from merrigong.com.au
It isn't often that a musician can pinpoint the exact moment their hobby turned into something more. Creative pursuits often enjoy a slow burn, small success building upon small success, as the band gradually realise they have potential to kickstart a career with the songs they crafted in bedrooms and living rooms and dingy pubs.
It is easy for Dane Taylor to pick out the moment his band, Austinmer experimental pop group Shining Bird, decided to take the next step.
"It was New Year's Day this year," he said, "and we got asked to play a show with [acclaimed New Zealand group] Unknown Mortal Orchestra."
Prior to this, Shining Bird - formed by Dane and friend Russell Webster "about four years ago" - had been a purely studio project. Having self-released an EP, the group had garnered big online praise for their dreamy, shimmering pop but had only played one live show before the beginning of this year.
"Just being asked to play live got it into gear for us. We released the EP as a bit of fun, but then we started playing live shows and got a kick out of it," Taylor said.
It is symbolic and fitting that this revelation came on January 1, as the beginning of a new year brought on the beginning of a new Shining Bird. The band fleshed out, drawing on Russell's brother Alastair, and three more friends in Nathan Stratton, Riccardo Quirke and James Kates, to recreate the delicate, lush soundscapes of their recorded material. Since then, they've been signed to influential indie label Spunk, inked a booking deal with The Music Agency - a part of the uber-cool Modular Records family - and released their debut album, Leisure Coast, to critical acclaim.
The title is an homage to their Wollongong home, the album an ode to Australia as a whole. With song titles like Terra Nullius, Stare Into The Sun and The Last Wave - and an album cover designed by Aussie artist Paul Ryan - Leisure Coast is awash in rich melody and blissed-out, hazy vibes. Inspired by Dreamtime stories, the Australian bush, and writing sessions from Berry farmland to fishing trips on the Murrumbidgee, Dane said the album was heavy with nostalgia about their home.
"Wollongong is a huge influence on the band. We all grew up here, all in the northern suburbs," he said.
Shining Bird will officially launch the album at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre tomorrow.
The band have a solid few months of touring ahead, including performances at Melbourne Music Week and the Newtown Festival, as well as the inaugural Farmer And The Owl festival in November.
The band have also been working on a powerful video projection to accompany their live music.