The Firetree's road to stardom


Friday,  Shellharbour Club

Sunday, Jamberoo Pub

Dale Buchan, who with Josie Cubis makes up the folk duo The Firetree, loves the life of a travelling musician. Which is just as well as they have been on the road constantly for the past two years, spending only two of the past 24 months at their Byron Bay home.

"Just being on the road is pretty damn cool, hey," Buchan says.

"You're constantly making new friends. You're a musician so everybody wants to have a chat and a drink and a bit of a party.

"You're eating nice meals at the places you're playing at; you're staying in hotels half the time and in caravan sites the other half and living like you're on holidays.

"Sometimes you'd like to wake up and know where the light switch is, but most of the time you're out there living the dream.

"Although my partner, Josie, she may like a shower more often than I so I don't know if she thinks it's the dream. I should confer with her a bit more about it."

There are downsides to the constant travelling, but fewer since they traded their old car for a slightly younger one.

"It's gotten a lot comfier in the last few months because we got a new van - well, it's new for us," Buchan says.

"We were travelling around in a VP Commodore for a long time there. She was getting some legs on her.

"It was a constant battle. I learnt pretty quickly how to fix it on the sly with dodgy tape and superglue.

"After 500,000 kilometres we finally gave her up and saved enough pennies for a 1998 instead of a 1993, so we've moved up a few years."

The duo's laid back music and ear-pleasing harmonies have won them fans whereever they go.

"We kind of lean towards this newer genre called 'surf folk'," Buchan says.

"Josie's got a very electric, dreamy, reverbed-out guitar and our songwriting is almost poppy but not quite.

"We say that we're somewhere between Ben Howard, a surf-folk artist from the UK, Xavier Rudd and Angus and Julia Stone."

While The Firetree is predominantly a guitar-based duo, they have been adding more sounds to their live performances.

"We've been trying to get more of a band sound. I'm playing lots of percussion with my feet on a modified drum kit that I've built and Josie has got loops on her electric guitar, and with the harmonies and the acoustic guitar and I've got a harmonica around my neck, we're getting some really cool sounds.

"It's been a hell of a ride just getting the mind to relax - if you think about any one thing it all goes to shit, but if you pull it off the response is awesome.

"To have a whole room up and dancing as a duo, I think we're really pushing the limits of what folk music can do."


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