Interview: Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel

Sal Kimber & The Rollin' Wheel
Image Courtesy of Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel kick off their massive national tour tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited here at Timber and Steel. That’s probably partly down to the fact that our very own Evan Hughes was lucky enough to fire off a bunch of questions to front-woman and all round alt-country goddess Sal Kimber on the tour, their self titled album and the upcoming summer festival season.

Evan Hughes: Your brand new album is released on the 14th October (tomorrow) and it’s already getting some glowing reviews (including from us). How are you feeling about the impending release and the reaction so far?
Sal Kimber: all five of us have been really excited about this release, we’ve been a bit excited for a number of months, it’s always a lil’ nerve racking reading the first couple of reviews – but so far they have been really warm, cheers Timber and Steel
EH: The album seems to explore a lot of different conventions of country/folk music – the road song, the ballad, rockabilly, blues. How much thought went into the crafting of the songs on this album? Did you think “OK, now we need a song about heartbreak and then we need a song people can dance to” or was the writing process a lot more fluid?
SK: The writing process was definitely fluid. We took a cut back selection of 22 songs to [producer/engineer] Shane O’Mara, recorded 18 and 13 made the final cut, two of which were written in the last week of tracking. We chose the final 13 the night before we sent them off to be mastered, and between the five of us we were pretty torn selecting those final 13. And even though we were aware that the album was gallivanting around with different genres, we chose the final songs according to their own strength, as opposed to selecting a collection of songs that sat well together.
EH: “Rushing Through My Veins” is one of my favourite tracks on the album and its probably the song that features the rest of the band the least. When you were recording it sounds as though you chose the instrumentation based on the needs of the individual songs rather than on the making sure the whole band was included. When it comes to playing these stripped back songs live does the band take a step back or do you have different arrangements to get everyone involved?
SK: Shane O’Mara, or O’Marsupial as we like to call him, is all about the integrity of the song and letting it have its way in the recording studio. So at times the band and I were tempted to add more instruments, but at the end of the day the song would have the final say. Some of them (like “Rushing Through My Veins”) called out to be left fairly intimate and tender, others like “Do Right” asked to be big and outgoing. The live set that we will play on the tour will hopefully reflect the album, all the shades of The Rollin’ Wheel, from raucous full band arrangements to cut back intimate songs. We are looking forward to playing “Rushing Through My Veins” – we are yet to play it live
EH: Speaking of playing live you’re about to head out on a tour that is simply massive. Are you getting to places you’ve never been able to play before? When are you going find time to sleep!?
SK: Yeah the tour is rather massive, in fact we have around 7 more shows that have just been added to the tour. I once heard a musician say “winter is for sleeping and writing” – I guess that leaves the other seasons for touring. We are visiting a few nooks that we haven’t been to before – Dunsborough in WA, Warnambool – but pretty much every other town we are fairly familiar with. Over the past 3 years The Rollin’ Wheel has covered a fair bit of distance.
EH: What’s your favourite track to play live at the moment?
SK: “Fast Train” is pretty fun. Macca’s bullfiddle chops have gone through the roof recently so my banjo and I are struggling to keep up with him, which is pretty fun
EH: You’re playing the Mullum Music Festival in November. Any other summer festivals on the horizon (that you can tell us about)?
SK: Shine On Festival in November. Hmmm I am not sure what else I can share 😉
EH: I love the video for “Beat Gets Louder” and I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the clip for “Do Right” which is great as well. How much fun do you have making these videos?
SK: We have a bit too much fun making these clips, as you have picked up. Rohan Spong was the director of both clips and he is a super talented soul. His imagination for what can happen in 3 or so minutes is pretty untamed, I still can’t believe he got Buffy in a beehive and me in rollers and a romper suit.
EH: Thanks so much for chatting to us today!
SK: Thanks heaps for you warm support Timber and Steel!!!

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel hits stores tomorrow. The full tour dates are below plus the clip for “Do Right”:

Friday 14th October – Basement Disks in-store appearance, Melbourne VIC
Friday 14th October – New Market Hotel, Bendigo VIC
Sunday 16th October – The Vine Hotel, Wangaratta VIC
Sunday 22nd October – The East Brunswick Club, East Brunswick VIC
Thursday 27th October – The Phoenix Pub, Canberra ACT
Friday 28th October – Thank God It’s Friday, ABC Studios Ultimo, Sydney NSW
Saturday 29th October – Camelot Lounge, Marrickville, Sydney NSW
Sunday 30th October – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba NSW
Thursday 3rd November – Malt Market, Dunsborough WA
Friday 4th November – Railway Hotel, North Fremantle WA
Friday 11th November – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide SA
Saturday 12th November – The Loft, Warnambool VIC
Sunday 13th November – Babushka Lounge, Ballarat VIC
Friday 18th November – Pipinghot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove VIC
Saturday 19th November – Shine On Festival, Pyrenees Ranges VIC
Thursday 24th November – Beetle Bar, Brisbane QLD
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby NSW
Saturday 3rd December – Grand Poobah, Hobart TAS

1 Comment

  1. October 17, 2011 at 11:59

    […] week, Evan Hughes interviewed Sal for the Timber and Steel blog (here) including a review of the album. You can get a signed copy of it from JB HI-FI or meet the […]

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