Traveling from Australia to Texas is by no means a short journey, but it’s one that The Heart Collectors have made a few times since the release of their debut album in 2013.
The folk-rooted group has since recorded two studio albums in the Lone Star State, and for the past two years, The Heart Collectors have performed at South by Southwest.
With a new EP, Out of the Ashes, under their collective belts, Reuben Loire, Tristan Dafoe, Mobius Barnaby and Kymrie Henge will be back in Austin this week to once again soak up the atmosphere and play some music.
Medleyville.us: Given your band’s instrumentation, one might think that setting up onstage would be easier than a group with, say, drums, electric guitars and keyboards. What are the biggest challenges for The Heart Collectors during a soundcheck?
Mobius Barnaby: “For us, we feel the biggest challenge is that all of our instruments are acoustic rather than electric. Even though our sound is as big and loud as any electrified band, acoustic instruments are slightly unpredictable and have the tendency to create feedback, especially on bigger stages. Also, among us we have five instruments, and all of us sing, which is a big job for a sound guy.”
When you meet someone and say what you do for a living, how do you typically describe the sound of your band?
Tristan Dafoe: “Imagine Joni Mitchell crossed with Peter, Paul and Mary and Fleetwood Mac, with an Irish lilt.”
Talk about the new EP, Out of the Ashes. And what is the status of the band’s next full-length effort?
Kymrie Henge: “Out of the Ashes was recorded in a stunning studio on a mountain top, overlooking the most easterly point of Australia. This is the first recording session we’ve done this close to home. All of our other albums have been recorded overseas or we’ve traveled a great distance to find the perfect place, but this last studio was just down the road from our home. It felt very special and unique. The tracks are heavily influenced by our first tour of Europe last year, in particular Ireland. This is where we began work on the fourth album. We fell in love with the landscape, the people, the culture and the traditional Irish folk sound. We plan to complete the album later on this year after touring Europe again following SXSW for a late 2018 release.”
When you encounter fellow Australians in Austin during South by Southwest, do you have a signal or a saying that you exchange with them as a symbol of camaraderie?
Reuben Loire: “ ‘G’day, mate!’ (laughs). There is a definite sense of connection, and a feeling that we’re all in this together. Or you just yell out, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ — usually screamed in unknown places when in need of a fellow Aussie.”
Finish this sentence: At this year’s at SXSW, I will …
Barnaby: “… not drink as much tequila as last year.”
Henge: “ … look for as many giveaways as possible.”
Dafoe: “ … continue my daily hatha yoga routine.”
Loire: “ … swim at Barton Springs as many times as possible!”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
The Heart Collectors at South by Southwest 2018 (schedule subject to change):
• 7 p.m. March 13: Westin Austin Downtown — 310 E. 5th St.
• 9 p.m. March 14: Victorian Room at The Driskill —604 Brazos St. (official SXSW showcase)
• 11:30 a.m. March 15: Flatstock stage — Austin Convention Center
• 12:35 p.m. March 16: Australian House at Lucille’s — 77 Rainey St.
• 8 p.m. March 16: South Congress Hotel — 1603 S. Congress Ave.