Beloved Australian singer songwriter, Bob Evans has released his anticipated sixth studio album Tomorrowland, a glorious record written about the passage of time, and the mystery of the past and the future. The album coincides with the announcement of a national Tomorrowland tour set to go large through June with 14 shows around Aus, kicking off at Kingscliff Beach Hotel on June 3 before making its way to Queensland to play Brisbane and Noosaville, South Australia to play Adelaide, Western Australia for Perth and Margaret River, NSW for Bulli, Newcastle, Sydney, Forbes and Cronulla, and finishing in Victoria to hit Belgrave and Castlemaine before wrapping at The Northcote Social Club on June 26. Hi Fi Way speaks to Bob Evans (aka Kevin Mitchell) about the tour.
Can you believe that album number six Tomorrowland is out now?
It’s been such an unusual precursor to an album release, totally unlike any I have ever experienced. Just to get to the point where we were in the studio, with all the band members and Steve Schram producing, took months of work and organising as it was all self financed and independently organised this time. So to come out of the recording and then into the pandemic and lockdowns and everything that 2020 threw at us was just another massive challenge. So there is a bigger sense of occasion with this record that I am feeling.
It must be pleasing that the singles released so far have been picked up on commercial radio?
Born Yesterday was picked up a bit. I hadn’t really had any commercial airplay for ten years so it was a nice surprise and also, coming at the end of 2020, a real boost to my overall mental state. It was something very positive at a time when that was needed.
How hard was it staying focused working on a new album during lock down last year?
Well during lock down Steve mixed the record from his home up in Northern NSW, then it was mastered in Melbourne. I worked on the album artwork remotely and also the first video clip. Everything was done remotely to finish the record and because we had so much time it was actually a real silver lining. I never had to compromise on anything because of a looming deadline. So the end result is actually much better than it may well have been if life was all normal.
Did you have a clear idea in mind what you wanted the album to sound like?
I did. I had a strong vision for this record as far back as 2018. That was when I started working on it properly. I wanted to record the album live in a room with my touring band and capture an energy. I wanted to make a rock album really. My past albums have all been heavily crafted. I wanted this album to have a bit of a rougher edge and attitude. I also wanted to incorporate different kinds of influences that I hadn’t before and see if I could make that all work through the Bob Evans prism.
Did anything in particular inspire the album title?
Well the songs did in the end. While we were recording I was looking at all the songs and what I was saying. There is a lot of looking back and looking to the future but with an eye to try and make sense of both, as both have an element of the unknown about them. I guess the title suggests looking toward something that is unknown.
How do you think the Bob Evans sound has changed over the last couple of albums?
This album is a departure from the last album. On Car Boot Sale I wanted to make a record that harked back to the albums I made in Nashville in the 2000’s. After doing that I was ready to move forward again and stretch myself towards something I’d never done before. The song writing doesn’t really change much I don’t think, just everything around it.
What’s the story behind Concrete Heart, such a great song?
Well it’s just a reaction to the accusation of being a “bleeding heart”. It doesn’t really come from any specific experience of mine. It’s just based on that observation. I think it’s kind of a funny diss to throw at someone. I liked the idea of turning it into a badge of honour.
What was your reaction when you played the album back for the first time?
It was exciting because it met the vision that I had. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I fall short. This record actually has turned out even better than I hoped it would so it just makes everything easier moving forward with that level of satisfaction and belief.
Have you done an unboxing video of receiving your album on vinyl? That must be exciting seeing your album on vinyl?
Not yet! I haven’t seen the vinyl yet. Whenever I work on the album artwork it is always a vinyl LP that I envisage. To me, that is just where I go in my head when I imagine cover art and packaging. It’s the most aesthetically pleasing form.
Are there plans to try and tour all things considered right now?
Sure are. I’ll be touring most parts of the country soon after the album comes out. Obviously the industry is still in a precarious position but things have at least moved to a point where we can make plans with a certain level of confidence. We just couldn’t do that last year at all.
What’s next for Bob Evans and is Jebediah still bubbling away in the background?
Jebediah is always bubbling away and we are working on new material with no real idea of when it might be finished. I think we all need to be in a united head space to finish it off. We are playing a bunch of festivals throughout the year which keeps things moving. Obviously my focus at the moment is with Tomorrowland and really giving it the life that I feel like it deserves.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Tickets are on sale now from www.bobevans.com/tour