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Boy & Bear band let Internet pick its name

By Joe Leary

Members of Australian band Boy & Bear. They will be touring England later this year after performing across North America. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Members of Australian band Boy & Bear. They will be touring England later this year after performing across North America. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Formed in 2009, Boy & Bear is an Australian indie folk-rock act that recently played Vancouver to promote their current album Harlequin Dream. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with lead singer and songwriter Dave Hosking.

24: How familiar were you of Canada prior to this tour?

DH: Me, personally, not at all. A couple of the guys in the band had been here before, but a long time ago. It’s been pretty amazing and I had no idea what to expect. The crowds have been really enthusiastic and it’s blown me away.

24: As you travel the world do you find audiences in certain places react differently to your music?

DH: Every country and every city is slightly different to some extent. I find it interesting that often the hardest crowds are in the major cities like London and New York or even in this case, Toronto. The crowds are good, but it’s almost they’re spoiled for choice and you have to work harder. But it’s cool.

24: What is the story behind the name Boy & Bear?

DH: It’s a really boring, practical story. It started as a solo project and grew into this. We had a song which we wanted to upload to Triple J, which is a big radio station back home in Australia. We didn’t have a band name so I found a band name generator on the Internet. I got a short list of like 10 names and then you’ve got to run them through Google to make sure. So I kept running through until it got to Boy & Bear and it passed so I just rang the guys and said, “This is our name.”

24: Your song Southern Sun is one of those tunes that immediately catches on and has even been described as an instant classic.

DH: It seems to have done really well. It’s hard to measure that, but it’s great to see radio stations picking it up in so many different territories. We’re really proud of the song. It’s such a simple track; pretty much two chords through the whole thing. For the last couple of years, I’ve stopped listening to contemporary music and just listen to my favourite music of the last 40 years. For some reason, certain songs and artists do have a timeless sense about them. My hope was to see if we could tap into just a small spit of that — that’s got to be a positive thing. Obviously, there’s a big influence of that 70s pop vibe. It’s been great, people seem to be connecting to it.

24: You’ve been critically acclaimed in Australia and that’s no small task as there’s so much good music coming from that part of the world.

DH: I feel like in the past five or 10 years Australian acts are starting to more and more get out there and seem to be doing well in other territories which traditionally have been pretty hard because it’s such a small market. My instincts are that at the moment there are so many bands and it’s competitive and I feel that the standard of young bands and even high school bands seems to be improving, which is really great because it means they’re working harder and doing the right things to get their show together.

24: Were you musical as a kid?

DH: I started playing guitar when I was 13. I did a lot of visual art at school. As I got a little bit older, it was much cooler to play the guitar than it was to paint canvas so I gravitated more toward that and ended up studying music at university. That’s where I met the guys in the band.


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