Interview with Pete Kilroy of Hey Geronimo

Aussie rockers Hey Geronimo are set to release their sophomore album and head back on the road to share their new music with fans. In light of that, I’m taking a trip down memory lane by posting this interview with the band’s lead singer, Pete Kilroy leading up to the release of their debut record, Crashing Into The Sun.

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Congratulations on finishing your debut album, Crashing Into The Sun. Are you feeling nervous in the lead up to its official release on July 1st?

Not really. We’ve crossed the t’s and we’ve dotted the i’s. We’re happy with the record, and that’s all you can really do, you know. We spent enough time making it; we didn’t rush anything. We’re happy with the way it turned out so it’s kind of like, it is what it is and the way it’s received is not up to us anymore.

 

How long have you been working on the record for?

It’s been a couple of years. We had some line-up changes which stalled our progress a little bit but once the line-up got settled, it came together quite quickly. We’ve got a couple of tunes off our last couple of EPs … We did two EPs and now we’ve got the full-length album.

 

What inspired you to write new music?

It was an interesting one, because the line-up changes made writing a little difficult. Once it got settled, Bingers [Bill Bingley, bassist] was really motivated. That sort of motivated everyone else. I think it was a case of getting new blood into the band and getting the right line-up, and everybody was motivated and everybody was keen, spurring each other on. That’s what motivated us [in] finishing the record.

We’d started it and we were well on the way to doing it. We just needed to make sure we had all our ducks in a row and once we had everything settled, it came pretty easy.

 

What has been your favourite part of the album-making process overall?

We really enjoy being in the studio, creating the songs, turning a demo into something more polished, I guess, for want of a better word. Just in the studio and being creative. Lots of musicians feel that way; it’s kind of the ultimate. ‘Cos you can’t do it all the time … That’s the most enjoyable part of the process for us.

 

What was the recording process like for this album?

We recorded in lots of different studios, lots of different producers. We recorded with Matt Redlich – who did all the Ball Park Music stuff, … Magoo – one of Australia’s most famous producers, really. We did some recording with Steven Schram (he mixed the record) – he does all of San Sisco’s stuff. We recorded some stuff ourselves.

It was a bit of everything; almost like a hodge-podge of piecing it together, making sure it was right, that we had the right songs on there and the sound was right.

 

You’ve done track-by-track album preview [nicknamed Twelve Days of the Apocalypse] recently on social media. How are fans responding to the new music so far?

I think it’s been good. This sort of thing’s been done before … but the fact that we’ve got little commentaries on there is really great. The fact that people can tune in everyday and hear a new song is kind of cool … We’ve got a different piece of art for every tune [featured in the videos] that tells a bit of a story about the song. It’s kind of cool to be able to show everybody that as well.

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Visit the band’s web-store to get your copy of Hey Geronimo’s debut album.

What’s your favourite track on the album?

Bermuda, song number six [on the album]. It’s a song Ross [Pearson, guitarist] wrote about his car going on an undersea adventure, which is a pretty original idea for a song, I think. It’s really cool … Usually with a tune, someone brings it in and everyone has a bit of their own input but [he] brought this song in that was a hundred percent finished, literally every last lick, every last note was pre-planned. You can hear it in the song; it’s such a well put together tune.

You guys originally came from all different bands in Brisbane. How did you end up playing together?

Well, it’s become a long-winded story; we had those line-up changes. Pluto Jonze is now our keyboard player, which we feel very lucky to have him, because he’s a gun … I reckon he’s one of the country’s most underrated pop writers and he’s a great performer too. And also Bingers, who used to be in a band called The Worriers – he was just developing as a songwriter when he came into our band. I guess with that in mind, it’s great to have those dudes … on the team.

Myself, Ross and Tony [Garrett, percussionist] used to be in a band called Blame Ringo a couple of years ago … I think now it’s pretty settled and sounding pretty good.

 

You took inspiration from a TISM [This Is Serious Mum] film clip for your Boredom video. Why did you decide to do that?

We just think [TISM] are an underrated band, a little bit forgotten. I always loved their video clips and I thought we [could] pay an homage to their clip and it’ll do two things: it’ll be a great idea for a clip and we can put our own spin on it but it’ll also mean TISM can get some of their due again, because they were that good …

You can’t find them on streaming services and stuff, so they’ve sort of dropped off a little bit. They’re sort of this underrated, underground Aussie act that we really like.

 

You’ve got your album release tour coming up in July/August. What are you most looking forward to when going on tour?

To be perfectly honest, we’re just keen to be able to get out there and play. We’ve never toured an album before so people will know the songs. In the last year or so, when we’ve been playing shows … even if they [people] wanted to listen to the songs that we were playing, they haven’t been available.

I think what we’re looking forward to the most is being able to play songs that people might have been listening to the day before or whatever, ‘cos they’ve actually had access to the record.

Whereas in the past, we’re like, “Here’s a new song, here’s a new song, here’s a new song. Here’s a set full of new songs.” and they’re sort of looking at us. While they’re vibing on that, it’s a lot harder to get into if you’re just hearing songs for the first time.

 

What’s a live show look like for you guys?

It’s changed a little bit. It used to be a full party set, but now there’s more ebbs and flow[s]. We’ve consciously dialled down a couple of the tunes – we’ve got some ballads, we’ve got some slower numbers – I guess, you get build. The motive for the band is: we wanted to play songs that were enjoyable to play, and that people would like to hear live.

We just like to think it’s a bit of fun. It’s not a total party but anyone that comes along will have a good time. It gets pretty raucous by the end but I think if you’re a fan of traditional, melodic rock n roll, you’d enjoy our show.

 

Is there a particular place that you’re looking forward to playing at?

To be honest, everywhere. But we haven’t been to Adelaide for a long time, so it’d be really great to get back there. We haven’t played a proper headlining show in Sydney in ages – a couple of years – and it’s always great to play in Brisbane, and the same in Melbourne – we haven’t played a live show there in a long time.

I think we’re just really looking forward to the whole tour. We’re just pumped to be back out on the road. Again, it’ll be really great to be touring an album that actually has songs that people have heard of.

 

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Don’t miss out on seeing Hey Geronimo live!

You did your Longest Shortest Tour a while ago, which saw you play at ten different venues in Sydney all in one day. How did that come about?

Jack Daniels sponsor events in music. They said, “Have you guys got an idea? If you’ve got a crazy idea, we’ll help you do it.” So literally that afternoon, [I] went, “Oh, I have a crazy idea. Is this anything?” and they said, “Yes, yes, it is something.” (Laughs) “We’ll help you do that.”

The idea itself was like, “What’s something bizarre we can do that isn’t just ‘Local Band Plays Gig’, ‘cos who really cares about that?” The aim was just to do something a little different.

Even though our sound has changed a little bit, I still think we do stuff that’s a little different, a little cool. That was the idea behind that little episode.

 

So how did you first get into music? Did you always want to be a musician?

Ah, to be honest, I don’t really see myself as a musician – I’m a dude who’s in a band – Bingers, he’s an academic but he’s kind of a musician. Pluto’s definitely a musician, but personally, I just fell into it. Just started to record some tunes, realised that I had a couple of good ones – not a lot of good ones, like literally just a couple – so I thought, “Oh yeah, I’ll record these.” and wrote some more songs – I had one or two more good songs.

I guess it’s this thing that rolls on. I personally think that if you’ve written a decent tune or whatever, you should do that tune the best service you can do it – by recording it. I guess that’s just snowballed and kept going. It just never stopped! From writing tunes or from writing songs. There was no real conscious decision, it just happened and [it’s] where we find ourselves.

 

If you weren’t a musician – or a guy in a band – what would you be doing?

I’d probably be doing what I’m doing. I work at my job at Chugg Entertainment. I do music marketing [and] help with presenting tours like Elton John and Robbie Williams. I’m probably the wrong person to ask that just because, I just feel like I’m a dude in a band. Don’t ask me to play guitar solo, I wouldn’t be able to do it, put it that way!

 

What are the top three songs on your ipod/MP3 player at the moment?

I’ve just started listening to Paul McCartney’s compilation that he’s just put out – I’m a bit of a sucker for the older stuff – there’s a song on that called Silly Love Songs, which is a ridiculous song but the bass line is probably one of the best, ever in the history of pop or rock n roll.

There’s a song on the new Paul Simon record called Wristband. It’s hilarious. It’s basically about Paul Simon getting locked out of his own gig and not being able to back in.

I’m also listening to some new music too, like the new Dappled Cities song is great. I’m a huge fan of that band and it’s really cool that they’re coming back and kicking goals.

 

 [Editor/Author Note: This interview was conducted for AMNplify in June 2016. View it in its original capacity here.]

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