GET TO KNOW: Steve Hensby Band
Photo: Graham Hill
With a sound that looks to blend broad and euphoric psychedelica with a flair for 60s soul, Australia's Steve Hensby Band have become one of the more exciting names on the rise right now, and have just returned with their vibrant new single 'Righteous St'.
Lifted from their newly released concept LP 'It's A Dry Heat Ayyyye!, which is available to stream everywhere now, 'Righteous St' sits as one of the more upbeat entries on their newest full-length. Channelling a rich and dynamic energy throughout, this one will have you shaking your hips in no time.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with Steve to find out more about his origins and inspirations over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
The Beatles, they covered so many styles, wrote the book on arrangement in a song, invented the ‘proper album’ and wrote some of the most beautiful, uplifting and wonderful songs ever written. Their discography is so diverse that folks of any age can dig them. Young kids like Octopus’s Garden, and Yellow Submarine, musicians like Strawberry Fields Forever and Rain, the whole world can sing Hey Jude and All You Need Is Love. They wrote everything in a mere 6 years as well! Aside from adoring The Beatles I have and continue to learn so much about music from them and they got me into so many other bands and artists.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
Yes, I played in loads of bands as a teenager. We played Hendrix, Chilli Peppers, Living End and wrote some bad songs trying to sound like them! I did a lot of session type gigs in my hometown in Western Australia which was a great way to learn, write and gig a variety of different songs that sounded bluesy, rocky, metaly, noisy, jittery and most probably slightly out of tune!
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
Creativity. I love when a creative speech hits and the more you do the easier it seems to get. It’s also the strong desire to generate new material and the buzz that that brings. You can get inspiration from anywhere, obviously music but it could be from books, a conversation, a cool word, a can bouncing down the street, someone’s smile….. anything.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Loads! Right now, it would be ‘Poses’ by Rufus Wainwright as it is a beautiful work of genius. There’s big classical vibes and both his vocals and piano playing are remarkable…….. he hardly breathes in the song! Rufus also does all the arranging in his work and it’s incredible to think about how much is in his brain and what he can conceptualise.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
Any great gig and most gigs are great! To pick one would be playing in Tim Minchin’s band for a run of shows with some Perth musician buddies, it’s not every day you have the pleasure of playing with one of your heroes. The gigs were so much fun and the rehearsals were such a joy, Tim is a very hilarious, humble and thoughtful human being. It was also great to play about 10 songs and then have an amazing comedy show happen right in front me.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe or The Roots. I adore the notion of a band that plays great songs but then can dive into the realms of improvisation and creating something new on the spot during a gig. Every show is different and you don’t know what’s coming up ahead but the audience is bouncing up and down dancing at the same time.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
I would collaborate with absolutely anyone and feel that everyone on the planet can offer up something musically! We have had some wonderful collaborations over the last few years.... Optamus from the Western Australian kings of hip-hop, Downsyde, and General Justice who has had the longest running reggae radio show in the southern hemisphere. There are so many fallen heroes that would have been incredible to work with, but in terms of folks who are still around: Ray Davies, Elvis Costello, Questlove, Mavis Staples... Paul McCartney I could go on for ages!!
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Writing more albums and playing more shows and getting closer to being able to sing like Aretha Franklin. At the moment Steve Hensby Band are putting out a record about every 18 months and hopefully we can keep on doing that! I have so many ideas and concepts to try and capture and put out in various musical packages and the musicians I get to play with are very inspiring. I’m certainly having the most fun musically that I’ve ever had in my life and it would be great for the good times to keep rolling!
Steve Hensby Band's new single 'Righteous St' is out now. Check out the new video for it below.