In honour of their classic rock joyride Sunrise Highway, Perry Street Park run through their ultimate road trip playlist, and recall the one journey that was particularly trippy. Catch all that and more with Happy Mag’s exclusive interview with the Queensland band below.
Earlier this month, we hit the road with Perry Street Park’s latest single Sunrise Highway. A classic rock ode to road trips and far-flung horizons, the single marked Perry Street Park’s first release since the 2022 EP Bad Habits, Broken Hearts, and more than declared the Queensland band’s return for what looks to be their breakout year. With a 2023 debut Bluesfest set under their belt and a performance slated for Airlie Beach Festival of Music, Perry Street Park are just getting revved up.
What’s more, the band — comprised of Benny Nelson, Sebastian Jennings-Hingston, Ryan Brook and Harry Shakespeare-Davies — are in the midst of creating a sophomore EP, with plans for headline shows also on the cards throughout the year. But in amongst all the excitement of being one of Queensland’s most promising acts, Perry Street Park remain committed to leaving “our egos at the door,” the band shared in an exclusive interview with Happy Mag.
Below, we caught up with Perry Street Park for a chat on all things Sunrise Highway, potential collaborations, and their go-to road trip playlist. Read the complete interview with the band below, and head here to listen to their new single Sunrise Highway.
HAPPY: What did a typical day look like when recording Sunrise Highway?
PERRY STREET PARK: We absolutely loved the process of recording Sunrise Highway! We consider ourselves very lucky to work with who we consider our unofficial fifth member and right hand man, Jared Adlam at his studio Machine Lab Recording. The property is beautiful, at the foot of Mount Tamborine and his approach to engineering and producing is warm, welcoming and laser precise, creating a stress free environment to create music.
Off the back of our debut EP, we discussed & decided that this time around we’d approach the recording process a bit differently and employ some old school techniques. Rather than lay down all the parts separately, we live tracked the skeleton of the song in the room as we would play it live, and overdubbed the rest after the fact. This gives the song a subtle oneness that we feel can’t be achieved by layering step by step.
HAPPY: Your new single Sunrise Highway is a perfect road trip song. What are some songs you’d add to your own road trip playlist?
PERRY STREET PARK: We spend a lot of time in the car together, so we’ve managed to curate a pretty decent playlist for those long hauls out west. Some of our fav go to’s are; Stream by The Last Dinosaurs, Take it Easy by Eagles, Flame Trees by Cold Chisel, Leaving for London by Pacific Avenue, Rocky Mountain High by John Denver, New Sensation by INXS, The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, in the wake of your leave by Gang Of Youths, Money For Nothing by Dire Straits.
HAPPY: Sunrise Highway was inspired by a particularly trippy interstate joyride you all took from NSW to Queensland. Tell us a little about that journey and how it inspired the single.
PERRY STREET PARK: We put on a big show in North Western NSW for the people in this region and some travelled over 100kms to see it. The drive was long and the set up for the gig was in the heat of the day, but the show was worth it! After meeting all walks of life and playing the set, the pack down would begin.
We had to get back to Brisbane for rehearsals and shows the next morning so we were in a rush to be back on familiar soil, but the hospitality of these people slowed our bump out and held us captive as we were fed meals and given as many drinks and cigarettes as we’d like, as an attempt by the locals to make us stick around for the party.
As the doors were closing to the car and the trailer was all locked up, one of us felt a tap on the shoulder. All of a sudden there was a finger in one of our mouths and later discovered, due to the symptoms, that on that finger was some form of psychedelic drug… We jumped in the car and got out of there at around half past midnight to find a place to camp for a few hours. By 4am the hallucinations were in full swing, with a night sky unpolluted by city lights and decorated in stars, but it was time to hit the road.
This poor soul in the back seat travelling at a hundred k’s an hour in the early dawn watched the most beautiful sunrise in western QLD one could imagine. As we headed east along a Sunrise Highway, we drove into the new day and knew we were finally heading home.
HAPPY: Is there anything you watched or read that has informed your single or artistry?
PERRY STREET PARK: We’re all big fans of the psychedelic rock that emerged out of the 60’s & 70’s, so I think we saw this situation as a bit of an excuse to start incorporating those sounds, textures and visuals into our own work.
HAPPY: Can you give an overview of how Perry Street Park was conceived?
PERRY STREET PARK: Ryan, Baz and Benny used to play together under Benny’s solo project back in 2019, and with the pandemic hitting the industry pretty hard in 2020, we decided it was time to start fresh and come out the other end with a new project. Due to the LGA lockdowns we started writing songs like our first single She! In early 2020 over text message and voice memos, and crafted a plan to launch Perry Street Park on stage at the Paul Kelly & Friends 2021 show.
Originally a 5 piece, there were a few line-up changes in the early days which turned out as a blessing in disguise. After a few trials with fill-in bass players, finding Harry Shakespeare in amongst the Brisbane music scene was the missing link that PSP needed to make this project what we always dreamed of it becoming.
HAPPY: Are there any upcoming projects that you can tease?
PERRY STREET PARK: This single is going to have an incredible Music Video that will be released in the coming weeks. It’s an amazing piece of work in itself, collaborating with local Meanjin/Brisbane visual and digital artist GERM and videographer James Latter to create a Live Action X Animation film for the song. We’re currently in the midst of writing and recording our second EP and we have unannounced headlines, festival spots and tours!
HAPPY: As a band, how do you manage creative differences when they arise?
PERRY STREET PARK: We actually work really well together! We all have vastly different personal music tastes, but it’s what makes our sound as a band somewhat unique. When contrasting ideas arise, we always make sure to flesh all of them out, try them in context, and then sit down with our egos at the door, and decide what’s best for the song.
HAPPY: Tell us a little bit about the music scene in Queensland.
PERRY STREET PARK: It’s crazy diverse. We’ve been lucky enough to play up and down this beautiful state we call home, and have met some absolutely beautiful and talented people along the way. We feel bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne get all the credit for being the place to be in regards to the arts, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more condensed population of creatives anywhere outside of QLD. Brisbane, and QLD as a whole really is starting to become its own little melting pot.
HAPPY: You’re set to perform at Airlie Beach Festival of Music’s 2023 edition. Anyone other lineup acts you’re excited to see?
PERRY STREET PARK: We’re so stoked to be on the Airlie lineup for 2023! Ian Moss and The Super Jesus have become somewhat our little industry mates, which is a bit of a mindblow moment for us. We’re super keen to see them perform from side stage! Maybe we can convince one of them to collab? Who knows. We’ve also just come off the stage at Bluesfest and we’re set to be back in Byron for the festival in 2024, so we’ve got a huge 12 months and some great stages to play.
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HAPPY: What makes you happy?
PERRY STREET PARK: The real reason we do this is because we love being on stage, performing our songs, telling our stories and sharing that with people, sharing that together. We’re a fully independent outfit, and we put in so many hours behind the scenes to make all of this happen. Seeing it come to fruition is just beautiful, and we’re incredibly grateful for the love and support from our fans, friends & families.
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