Through record label splits, line up changes, management issues and head injuries, TRIAL KENNEDY is somehow still alive and kicking. Front man TIM MORRISON talks about the upcoming album Living Undesigned and it significance for the band.
It has been a while since Trial Kennedy has had new stuff out, are you excited about the new album?
I’m extremely excited; I can’t really put it into words. It felt like a long time coming. It has been very exciting and the sound that has come from just having a new member has been extraordinary, and way beyond my expectations. We basically did it without anybody, it was all our own doing and I think it is so exciting because we are so proud of what we have achieved on our own.
So Richie has brought a lot to the band?
He has, he has brought a completely new dimension. He has brought different colours and shades and he has brought a completely new element to Trial Kennedy which I think people will straight away hear. It is hard to put into words. No disrespect to Aaron, he was an amazing bass player, but Richie definitely brought this maturity to it and that is definitely a key word.
You guys have gone through a lot in the last few years; do you think that comes through on Living Undesigned?
Oh, look it definitely does. I don’t know if everyone likes to admit it but we went through some dark political moments there which pretty much almost ended Trial Kennedy. We read a lot of comments where people actually thought we were non-existent, basically because we had not released a record for a while. Things got really bad, not so much with the record label but just stupid things that happened which can unfortunately finish the career of a band, and have done to many great Australian bands recently.
The band’s struggle has been described as being of ‘biblical proportions’. How does that make you feel?
Biblical proportions? That is the first time I have heard that; that is quality and I am very intrigued to know exactly what they mean by that. But I guess we have been through a lot and we were sort of thrown to the bottom of the pit so to speak. A band, as a business, is possibly one of the most horrible things to experience but if you can actually get through being in a band as a business then f@#k, you can seriously get through anything. Some of us have to learn the hard way, and we have. So we have just changed the way we do things now. So far [not having a record label] has been nothing but great for us.
So do you have any regrets from the past few years?
I guess I would be stupid to say I didn’t have any regrets, but in saying that, I am definitely happy with where Trial Kennedy is as a band. So I guess I don’t have any regrets for the position that we are sitting in at the moment.
So do you feel that saying ‘What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ is pretty applicable for Trial Kennedy?
Well, as lame as that saying is, it really has applied to Trial Kennedy, and it does sound lame but that is exactly what we have lived by. Not purposely, like we haven’t set out to say, “Shit if we get knocked down we have to get back up again, and be heroes.” It’s just the way it has worked out for us as a team. I think the reason why that has happened is because we are all such good mates. If we were just a band it probably would have ended five years ago.
What aspect of Living Undesigned would you say you’re the most proud of?
I guess it is just purely the organic surrounding that the record has; that, for me, is my personal highlight. Just because everything we did came sort of easily, the songs came quite easily and everything tended to mould and gel together so freely. It was very different to the last time making a record where it was a lot more structured and it put quite a lot of pressure on it. This time around we already felt like we had hit breaking point and there was nothing to lose.
Does the ambiguity and layered meanings within the title itself reflect the album as a whole?
Oh definitely, the title is definitely the broad aspect of what I thought the record should be because every song was a different story of an experience that we have been through over the past couple of years. Living Undesigned was sort of my way of saying we are living unconventionally now, we are not living by the rules anymore. We have been for twelve or thirteen years now, with things like the record label, we have tried to be the yes-men for our whole career, and it’s not like now we’re going to be rebels and take over the world and be little shits and start smashing up things—that’s not what I am trying to convey. I am just trying to say that we have been living conventionally—you know that whole puppet sort of vibe—and now, now we just feel that it is time we did it our way, and I guess Living Undesigned was my way of saying, “Yeah, we’re not living the way that we have been told to live anymore.”
You guys have just announced your first national tour in around two years. On a scale of one to ‘need a change of pants’ how excited are you?
Oh, uh, ‘I need to change my pants’ excited—definitely! I will be taking so many pairs of pants with me!
Is there anything international in the winds for Trial Kennedy?
There is a lot of talk, there is always a lot of talk ... most definitely Europe will be on the cards for Trial Kennedy and we are all really excited for that to happen, just to broaden our audience I suppose. It could be on the cards as early as this year. But we are just going to start with some shows and possibly even talk about the next record. Everybody in the team is just super excited and just really enthusiastic.