Boy & Bear: Limit Of Love Interview With Tim Hart

Rebecca Varidel
19th Oct 2015

As Boy & Bear prepare for their live shows in Europe and the USA, the much loved Australian band are celebrating their second #1 ARIA Album with Limit of Love skyrocketing to the top of the ARIA Album Chart this week.

Surprising their fans last week with an impromptu mini-gig in Sydney at the Night Noodle Markets, Boy & Bear performed new songs off the album showing why Limit of Love has been receiving great praise around the country. Their acoustic set also included classic songs from their double-platinum Moonfire album and the #1 ARIA Album Harlequin Dream leaving the crowd with a taste of what’s to come on their National ‘Limit Of Love’ tour early 2016.

Limit of Love was a change in direction in a number of ways, Tim Hart explained.

"One of the best moments of my life to date!... Playing drums with Ethan Johns on the last song we tracked for the new boy and bear record. Amazing guy ridiculously talented. Feeling very fortunate!" he posted back in May on his Facebook page. These written words don't begin to portray the enthusiasm and excitement that Tim Hart exuded when I spoke to him recently. "It was fantastic. Obviously he is one of my heroes" he said of working with the English record producer, engineer, mixer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist as he bubbled on listing a spattering of Johns' achievements...

So how did the creative process change this time?

It was very different. "The band wrote a whole bunch of songs and had them ready before we recorded." Tim told me as we chatted "The band put the idea together and Dave was the last to be added. It was freeing for him. He could just play guitar."

Yet the writing evolution was not the only change for Boy & Bear.

"With this new album we wanted to somehow capture the energy of the band performing live," Tim confided. "Live to tape, you can’t edit. We’ve never been a band to have computers on stage. If you listen to old records that you love from The Rolling Stones, Van Morris, there is an authenticity."

“That’s why it is so special for us. We had to let go.” Tim continued. "No corrections, mistakes can’t be fixed. You just have to say- That’s what we did at the time. There’s a certain nostalgia [in a live recording] in structure and form."

"Killian stuffed up in 'Thousands' [A Thousand Faces]. It’s in there now. And it sounds awesome. But now he has to rehearse to replicate what he did so he can play it that way again live."

More than the immediacy and authenticity, the band have returned to recording 'old school' extending their ongoing '70s influence to this album. About a year ago Killian shared a 20 tune playlist with us, but what are Tim's musical influences?

You can hear the excitement in his voice as he waxes lyrical about the harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel. He says he listens to them a lot. Then he moves on to the process, Neil Young only recorded first takes, and he said he thinks he remembers reading somewhere that he only recorded on a full moon. I ask rhetorically if it’s a full moon now - it nearly is. A super moon in fact.

“What about Bob Dylan?” he asks me. “Clearly it’s not perfect... But the delivery to phrase." And he reiterates that he genuinely believes people want authenticity.

Past the music, I want to know more. There’s a change in his voice when I ask him about drinking on stage, and if they drank while recording. He answers the latter first.

They were at Peter Gabriel's recording and would go into the manor house in the evening and on some nights have a couple of glasses of wine. Hazards a guess, no one drinks. He would hate to think someone didn’t enjoy a performance because they were drunk.

"If I'm on a long tour, I'm careful." He had a couple of beers before Splendour, with the first performance from this new album- To get in the spirit of things. In the mud, I added.

But your brother likes a whisky, I suggest. "Johnny does like an Islay. When I do have a Scotch I’m a highland man. I like things sweeter."



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