No, I’m not talking about some Jake and Elwood cover band from Australia, I’m referring to Josh and Sam Teskey, who along with two of their best mates make up The Teskey Brothers band. They’re a hard working, authentic sounding soul/blues band hailing from just outside of Melbourne, Australia. Their music honors the classic Stax and Motown sound, while staying fresh and original.
They’re sure to make a lasting impression at this year’s Fuji Rock, no doubt serenading some of the smaller, more intimate stages. Having paid their dues studying the legends of the past and tirelessly playing live throughout Victoria, then the rest of Australia, The Teskey’s have been amping things up as of late. 2017 saw the band release their first album, Half Mile Harvest, to much acclaim. This summer, the boys will be touring The US in July before making a stop in Japan for Fuji Rock at the end of the month.
We caught up with bassist, Brendon Love, for a chat about the band’s progression, thoughts on blues music, as well as a few favorite things about Japan. Check out the interview below and make sure not to miss the incredibly soulful Teskey Brothers at Fuji Rock 2018!
You guys have played together as a band for 10 years now and have gained fans the world over, but for anyone not in the know, can you tell us what The Teskey Brothers are all about?
We have been playing together as a band for over 10 years now. We have all grown up together, playing music and sharing an appreciation for the blues and soul music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. We spent every weekend of our teenage years playing in every bar, pub and live music venue around Melbourne (where we live). The Teskey Brothers are the sound you get when you put 4 best friends in a room together with their instruments. We each have varied musical influences but we all share a love for blues and soul. I think our debut album “Half Mile Harvest” captures the essence of the band very well.
Your sound harks back to the past. It’s very raw, emotional and powerful in today’s often over-produced, digital age of music. Who have been some of your musical influences throughout the years? How about some favourite bands or artists these days?
I definitely agree about today’s music often being over produced and losing the initial spark that inspired the artist. We like to record analogue with no computers and mostly track live as a band playing together, much like our musical heroes would have. We love the sound of old Motown and Stax records. Artist like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, B.B King, Freddie King, Sam Cooke, Percy Sledge have certainly influenced us. These days we are seeing a real resurgence and appreciation for music that is created in a similar fashion, paying homage to the greats. We love artists like Leon Bridges, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones and many more. There are some great funk and soul bands from Japan too. We love Osaka Monaurail.
What resonates with you surrounding the genres of blues and soul?
I think Wilson Picket said it best “Soul ain’t nothin’ but a feeling”. I think blues and soul is all about the feeling. It’s raw and honest. It’s not about musical dexterity or technical accomplishment on an instrument, it’s simply about connecting with an audience and telling them your story and how you’re feeling. Growing up in Australia, I think as children we are sometimes not encouraged to express ourselves emotionally, so to see an artist bare their soul and put it all out there for the world to see and be honest and vulnerable is something truly inspiring. That’s what we love about this music.
Furthermore, do you think there is still a chance for blues/soul artists to make their mark and gain recognition today?
Absolutely! And I think we are seeing it. Blues and soul is here to stay!
2017 saw the release of your debut album, “Half Mile Harvest”, were you happy with how it turned out? Are you going to make fans wait another 10 years for the release of a second album?
We are very happy (with) “Half Mile Harvest”. It captures the band’s essence perfectly. It is the culmination of playing together for 10 years, honing our sound. We were in no hurry to release the album, as we wanted something that we were truly proud of and that accurately represents the band in terms of performance and song writing. We feel we have really hit our stride now and are already busy working on the next album. It certainly won’t be another 10 years.
Have you been to Japan before? What are some of your favourite things about Japan or Japanese culture?
I have not been to Japan so I am incredibly excited to visit! It has been a dream of ours to play at Fuji Rock, so we can’t wait. I learned Japanese in primary school, so hopefully I can remember some phrases. There seems to be a thriving live music scene in Japan and the audiences have a deep respect and appreciation for live music. It’s a beautiful thing. Our sound engineer Naomune Anzai is from Japan and we can’t wait for him to show us some of his favourite places.
Do you have some favourite Japanese artists?
I love Osaka Monaurail, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hiromi. A friend just turned me on to a band called Wonk from Japan that I’m getting onto lately. I would love some more suggestions as I’m always looking for new music.
What does it mean to be playing at Fuji Rock festival this year? What are your impressions of the festival?
It’s been a dream of ours to play Fuji Rock festival. We couldn’t believe it when we were added to this year’s amazing lineup. It looks like such an incredible space and a great way to meet new people and find some new music.
What can fans expect from your set at Fuji Rock?
Expect to see us smiling from ear to ear with excitement! We will be playing songs from our album “Half Mile Harvest” as well as showcasing some new songs we are working on. We are also bringing our horn section from Australia so hopefully the Japanese audiences will dig it.
Any last words for the people?
We can’t wait to come to Japan and play some gigs and immerse ourselves in the culture. If any body has any suggestions on places to visit, hit us up on our Facebook or Instagram. See you in July! ありがとう!