Image Courtesy of The Bottlers
The Illawarra Folk Festival is one of the highlights of the summer folk festival calendar and this year they’re celebrating their 30th anniversary. We thought we’d chat to a number of the Illawarra Folk Festival artists in the lead up to the event and next up is Sydney folk-punks The Bottlers.
Timber and Steel: What can audiences expect from your shows at the Illawarra Folk Festival?
The Bottlers: From the way I see it The Bottlers are like a good whiskey in a softly lit room on the teetering moment just before a bar brawl breaks out. We like to pay homage to deeply hewn, mind to heart type torch songs of old where emotional connection and introspection reigned supreme. I guess there was less telly on back when the golden age of folk balladry was leading the way. People knew people and places intimately beyond glass screens and hashtags. On the other hand we like to kick the side of the shed in when we play persay. Get people off their backsides and get them stomping and dancing about with punk fuelled street folk songs. A solid, simple duality of sorts with a definite fire under it’s arse.
Timber and Steel: Do you approach a festival show differently from a regular gig?
The Bottlers: Well for one there’s bigger stages than we’re used to in pubs. Hoisting nine people onto some pub stages sometimes requires a worksite ticket and a cattleprod just to get the show underway. It’s all part of the burn to shine enjoyment of it all though. Festivals stages really allow us to move about and not plant feet on each other’s foreheads just to stay in the door of the joint.
Festivals also bring more floorspace therefore more people providing more energy for that ‘oh so amazing’ symbiotic exchange that can go on between crowd and artist. That really comes prominently into being. I’ve been to the Illawarra Folk Festival before as a punter with The Bush Music Club and there’s definitely some awesome crowds and characters to look forward to. Will be great to just rattle amongst the rabble from venue to venue again as well.
Timber and Steel: Are there any artists you’re excited to see at Illawarra?
The Bottlers: Definitely. Eric Bogle’s songs were a mainstay through their many mediums in my house growing up and I even got to take a songwriting workshop he put on a few years back at the Illawarra. Will be bloody fantastic to see his personal interpretations of the songs he wrote and that were made so famous.
Ted Egan is definitely on my list as well. A bloke from The Northern Terriotry who spins a yarn, sings a song, tells a joke and holds a crowd all the while tapping out his rhythms on an empty beer carton. I’m sure there’ll be a few drinkers there this year to oblige him with the cardboard box too.
Timber and Steel: This is the Illawarra Folk Festival’s 30th Anniversary. How do you think The Bottlers would celebrate their 30th Anniversary?
The Bottlers: I’d first of all hammer a few beer bottle tops to my walking frame for that makeshift lagerphone effect but beyond that I’d be vying for John Williamson to join us in hologram form on stage.
In a less facetious world though I’d probably just revel in the good old smiles all round pub gig with all our friends and families. Raise a glass to times gone past sort of thing. Simple and effective.
Timber and Steel: What’s next for The Bottlers after the Illawarra Folk Festival?
The Bottlers: Towards the end of last year we began recording an EP so we’ll continue gathering that clatter bag of sound together for a mid-2015 release I’d say. More songwriting notebook and instrumental emblazonments as always. Just looking forward to feeling the wheels turning under our feet in the proverbial and literal senses with a few tours organised around Australia this year. Should be a goodun I reckon.
The Bottlers have three appearances at the Illawarra Folk Festival:
9:45pm Friday 16th January – Nag’s Lounge (Horse Stables)
8:00pm Saturday 17th January – Slacky Flat Bar
2:00pm Sunday 18th January – Showground Pavilion