After the massive year Ball Park Music clocked up in 2018, it’s hardly a surprise they’ve been quiet for a few months. As band member Dean Hanson was happy to tell us, the band have been on a well-earned break.
Yet time off is hard fought for the touring musician, and in just the last week Ball Park Music have announced a headline slot at Brisbane Festival’s opening night as well as a massive joint tour with fellow indie dignitaries San Cisco.
More than enough reason to catch up for a chat, we thought.
After fully recovering from their last album tour and announcing a million shows for 2018, it’s like Ball Park Music never left at all.
HAPPY: Hey guys, cheers for the chat! What have you been up to lately?
DEAN: The five of us have been on holidays! We took some time off before our hectic end of year tour schedule. We went our separate ways and spread ourselves across the world through North America, Europe and New Zealand. Feeling extremely refreshed now.
HAPPY: Been digging the new album – definitely one of the best of the year so far – how’s the reception been to it, now that we’re six months removed from its release?
DEAN: Glad you’re digging it, thanks very much. We’re rapt, going into this album we felt it was a really important one for us. I think it’s gone well. It’s always hard to tell from inside the inner Ball Park bubble as to how much of an impact a record is having but we’ve been selling out the biggest shows of our career and playing some of our most memorable festival sets to date off the back of it which is a good sign. We’ve been playing around five new album tracks in our live set (in place of some old favourites) since its release and no one has slammed us in a review yet with the old ‘old shit better than your new shit’ scenario. Most of all I feel like this album has landed us on a really nice platform to launch whatever we decide to do next with no fear and no pressure which feels fucking fantastic.
HAPPY: You’re pretty prolific… there’s never really more than two years between your releases. Do you consider yourselves fast songwriters? Or are you working hard to get things out that quickly?
DEAN: I think the best answer to this question is simply, we absolutely love making music. It’ll often only take one little coffee date where we start speaking about creative inspirations or our desire to make the greatest record of our career and next minute you’ll find us in the studio or bouncing demos between inboxes. It’s never really been a conscious decision to smash out songs quickly or anything like that, I think it’s simply driven by our love for music and working together to create music that we adore. We love working hard on songs and try to juice the potential out of every idea. For most of our records we may only end up with an average of three or four songs/ideas that we couldn’t adapt to fit the record as opposed to some artists that I hear choose their best 10 out of 50 tracks or so.
HAPPY: It’s been seven years since you put out Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs (woah)… what’s it like looking back on that particular record all these years later?
DEAN: It’s certainly interesting. I think the part I find most fascinating is, when we made that record, we had no idea what the future had in store. We were just kids that wanted to make a fun, nice sounding record out of this little batch of songs we had kicking around. Of course we had ambition for it to hopefully kickstart a career in music and probably thought we knew exactly how we were going to do that, but in hindsight, the best way to describe it is, we were flying blind. I’m proud when I think of how much of an impression that album made on so many people and that it continues to do so today. A year after releasing it I remember having friends ask, “Are you sick of playing those songs yet” to which I always replied “No” and if you asked me that question today, my answer would remain the same.
HAPPY: You’re about to embark on a huge co-headline tour with San Cisco… do you have any favourite San Cisco tracks?
DEAN: I love heaps of San Cisco’s songs. My current favourite would be Hey Did I Do You Wrong off their recent album. It’s an absolute earworm and since releasing the tour it’s been in my head so much I’m going to start charging it rent.
HAPPY: As part of that tour, you’ll be playing as part of the Brisbane Festival. Are there any other acts playing the festival you want to catch while you’re in Brisbane?
DEAN: I just saw the full music lineup today and it’s huge. Full of great Aussie acts and a bunch I’ve never seen before. I’m just going to say all of them because I’d honestly be stoked if I could catch every set. That closing night though… say no more.
HAPPY: For that particular set, you’ll be playing at The Riverstage… which is pretty bloody big. Did you ever imagine you’d be playing such a big space when you released that first album?
DEAN: We dared to dream for sure. In terms of whether or it would ever become a reality or not, we probably sat in the glass half empty category. I said in an interview the other day, playing Riverstage for us is akin to a band from NYC playing Madison Square Garden or a band from London playing Wembley Stadium. We love Brisbane and have spent the last decade watching some of the best bands of our generation playing on that stage and to have the opportunity to be the showpiece at an event at the venue is a bit hard to take in to be honest.
HAPPY: Will we have to wait much longer for the next BPM album? Or are you going to sit on it a little longer this time round?
DEAN: Great question. I honestly couldn’t tell you, but what I can say is there’s quite a few demos already floating around inboxes.
HAPPY: Any other exciting things in the works?
DEAN: We’ve got some plans to hit up regional Australia for some shows next year, which is always a pleasure, and we’ll be playing some Aussie festivals too which will be excellent.
Fri 7 Sep – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Sat 8 Sep – Brisbane Festival Opening Night – Riverstage, Brisbane
Fri 14 Sep – UOW UniHall, Wollongong
Sat 15 Sep – NEX, Newcastle
Fri 21 Sep – UC Refectory, Canberra
Sat 22 Sep – Big Top, Luna Park
Sat 6 Oct – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
Sun 7 Oct – Astor Theatre, Perth
Fri 19 Oct – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Sat 20 Oct – City Oval, Ballarat
Wed 24 Oct – The Goods Shed, Hobart
Grab your tickets and the finer details here.