Off the back of the release of their new EP ‘Shaking Hands’ featuring the super-catchy single ‘Take A Card’, we caught up with Gideon Bensen of the The Preatures fame to learn more about the band, and what their EP has in store for us.
Who makes up ‘The Preatures’? How did you meet and come to produce music together?
There are five of us. Luke Davison- Drums, Thomas Champion-Bass, Jack Moffitt- Guitar, Isabella Manfredi-Vocals and Keys and Gideon Bensen- Vocals and Guitar.
The band came to be before we were even compatible as an ensemble. Isabella, Jack and Tom were playing together in another band, and I (Gideon) was doing a solo thing with some good friends backing me. We met when both bands played on the same bill at The Lansdowne one night back in 2009. After a quick exchange of numbers we were working on our first song/s a week or two later.
Luke our drummer joined the band months later. We used our first EP to lure him in. Since 2010 he’s been faultless.
What it is the story behind choosing The Preatures as your band name?
I used ‘The Preachers’ when playing with a band way back when, it was billed as ‘Gideon Bensen and The Preachers’. It just came to be (after throwing some other suggestions around) that life would be easier if we carried over the name, once The (now) Preatures started playing shows.
It is only recently that we have had to change the spelling from ‘The Preachers’ to ‘The Preatures’… Don’t want to get sued now!
Imagine somebody who isn’t familiar with your music hears your set. How will they describe your sound? What additional comments would they make?
So many people have described us differently, a lot of publications have pegged us as Gothic-Soul. This description seems to be sticking and one we like.
I could only imagine they would comment on there being two fronting vocalists, one a bombshell with jet black hair the other a sweaty grunt of a man who yells a lot. As well, in general how much hair there is on stage!
Did any of you guys have experience playing in other bands before?
Yeh, we have all had a bash with other players. Luke’s been in other bands since his early beginnings in his mother’s womb. That long.
What has been your favourite gig you have played so far? Why?
Probably, the show we played at the Lansdowne in Sydney earlier this year. I don’t think I had ever seen the hotel that full, we had a lot riding on the show, plenty of industry folk had come to see us.
It was a significant show for me, I had constant flash backs on stage, thinking back to the night we all met at the hotel, standing in the same spot years earlier. Only this time our now Label (Mercury) were there watching.
What bands do you guys listen to? Which acts have had the biggest impact on your style of music?
We all have our different tastes, but I would say The Pretenders, David Byrne/St. Vincent, The Cars, Beck, Tame Impala have all been on rotation.
When you’re creating new songs, how do you go about it? Do you rely on one member to do most of it, or do you sit around a table with a couple of drinks and work out a new track?
It depends, sometimes there will be a sole writer and vision, other times its a collaboration. You can’t always think that your idea is gold. I’m proud to say that we are a band that looks at our songs in many different ways, we break them down to build them up again. if that means a certain part someone loves has to go for the greater good of the song, so be it.
When you are working on new songs, do you have a particular method to the way you compose your tracks? What comes first, the lyrics, the guitars, etc?
It seems to be changing all the time, but generally the songs are built from chords, lyric and melody, followed by what will be done tonally and sonically. Though, once the song hits the forum of the band, it is often subject to change.
Your track ‘Take a Card’ was received pretty well with a heap of radio play. What inspired this song and have you been surprised at how popular it has been?
The song was an experiment for us, testing us to see if we could write that type of song. I brought in the verse and chorus chord turn around, it came to me after listening to this band ‘Hacienda’ ( Dan Auerbach’s backing band on his solo record), from there Jack and Tom wrote the middle eight and bridge, Luke gave the idea of the chorus lyric ‘With a call on the beat” and Isabella gave the song the most direction with her lyrics. They depict how frustrating it is to get your music heard on radio, and how in many ways sometimes you have to play the game and wait your turn. Have a read, they are clever words.
As far as being shocked, we were very shocked when people began taking notice, when Triple J and radio stations all over were playing it. That being said, we knew we had something solid so its great to see it travel up until the current single ‘Pale Rider’.
You have just released a new EP ‘Shaking Hands’, what is your favourite track of the EP and why?
My personal favourite would probably be ‘The Sleeping Serial’ , it may not be a crowd favourite but its one I spent the most time thinking about while writing and we spent a lot of time piecing it together. Also in full flight it gives me the biggest rush live.
What do The Preatures have in store for us in what remains of 2012, any big plans for 2013?
We are hitting the road for the rest of the year, doing laps around the country. We are itching to begin recording some more next year, we are hoping we can get some more tunes out early 2013.