Melbourne 9-piece soul outfit Saskwatch earned their reputation as one of the city’s most electrifying live acts with ecstatic horns, one of the tightest rhythm sections in town and soaring vocals. Their debut album Leave It All Behind and the lead single Your Love gained national airplay and saw them appear on international stages, as well as at premier festivals back home. Now, in conjunction with their latest single Hands, Saskwatch have hit the road again after time off busily recording their sophomore record. PEARL spoke to songwriter/trumpet/guitar aficionado Liam McGorry between gigs, about life in Saskwatch and things to come.
PEARL: As a 9-piece band, you must have a bunch of different influences and backgrounds in the melting pot. What were some of those initially, and how have they changed in the years since forming?
McGORRY: Since most of us met at the College Of The Arts whilst doing a jazz course, we started off playing that jazz and boogaloo stuff, but when we started doing the soul nights at Cherry Bar, we gravitated towards the classics; Aretha Franklin, James Brown, etc. More recently, bands like The Bamboos and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings have been great at bringing the soul wave back into fashion over the last 10yrs, so it’s been a mesh of them and others like Doctor Dog, Alabama Shakes and Black Keys.

 PEARL: The debut album, Leave It All Behind, became hugely successful, both on high Triple J rotation and enjoying rave reviews around the country. Did the record’s success surprise you or did you know you had something special?
McGORRY: Not really, but I suppose everyone saw it as a first offering, I think. It’s amazing that people liked it – it’s a great feeling – but I think we’ve been gearing up and looking forward to the next album as more of a statement.

 PEARL: Your next single, Born To Break Your Heart, is due late February, with a new album to be out in April. How has the recording process and touring been, coordinating everyone logistically and financially?
McGORRY: It can be tough with a lot of people to organise, but everyone’s so keen and willing to prioritise the band and what we’re doing when scheduling other things. The last couple of years have been really challenging financially though, with touring overseas and nationally. It really adds up with 9 people, but everyone loves the band so it’s not really an issue in the grand scheme of things.

PEARL: You released the very fun and upbeat single Hands late last year to great acclaim, missing out on the recent Triple J Hottest 100, but coming in at #151 in the Hottest 101-200 countdown. Tell us about the forthcoming album and what to expect?
McGORRY: We wrote the record just after recording the last one and during touring, so when we came to recording late last year everything was quite well rehearsed. Having done the tracking in a country down in Queensland, we had the time to break things down a bit more and work on sounds and arrangements. The first album was done quite quickly, so we’ve enjoyed having a bit more freedom on the next one. The record will have a little more production, but plenty of energy and groove. Hands has been a great snapshot of things to come.

 PEARL: You’ve always been renowned as an awesome live act, but just getting behind the scenes a bit; tell me who’s the funniest in the band, who’s got the weirdest touring habits and which member of the band secretly loves the limelight?
McGORRY: (laughs). Great questions.  Umm, everyone’s pretty funny but I’d say Nic Glenie (the other trumpet player) is a bit of a class clown. Touring habits, ummm. I dunno, none of us are really that ‘out there’. As for the limelight, we all love it to be honest. But if I had to pick, and he’ll probably shoot me, but Rob Muinos, hands down. (laughs).

 Saskwatch’s new single, Born To Break Your Heart, is set for release late February via Northside Records/Remote Control, with the new album to follow in April. The band will appear at the Mordialloc Food, Wine & Music Festival on the weekend of March 1 & 2 at Peter Scullin Reserve in Mordialloc. The event will also feature swing and salsa dance workshops, cooking demonstrations, an array of wine and beer and more. For details, visit www.kingston.vic.gov.au

WALTER BENELLS

 

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