Something For Kate are revved up and ready to return to the Kingdom to play the Valo Adelaide 500 with The Killers and Amy Shark making for an awesome night of music. It has been a year for the band who return to Adelaide for the third show here this year. Paul Dempsey talks to Hi Fi Way about playing the Valo Adelaide 500 and what fans can expect and what is around the corner for the band next year.
It’s great that Something For Kate is returning to the Kingdom to play the Valo Adelaide 500?
Yeah. Oh, it’s unreal. I can’t believe it’s the third time in one year. That’s got to be some kind of record. I think the last time we came to Adelaide three times in a year might have when we were first kind of starting out in the mid-nineties. It’s good, definitely a nice way to finish off. Nice big outdoor event. Fun!
Does the thought of sort of playing in front of forty thousand plus motor sport fans get you pumped up?
Yeah, well I didn’t know how many exactly until you just said that, so that’s pretty exciting.
Do you get into the race day vibe and festivities as well?
I’ll definitely be interested to check it out. I wouldn’t describe myself as a motor sports fan or whatever, but I’ve been to the Grand Prix here in Melbourne. The thing about these events these days is that they’ve gotten really good at catering for everybody. Even people who aren’t necessarily motor sports fans can still go along to the event and enjoy music or stuff for kids. All these kinds of things now, whether it’s motor sports or any other kind of event they have something for everybody. When you go to the Grand Prix in Melbourne here there’s basically a music festival happening at the same time. Adelaide 500 is similar to that. I mean, us and Amy Shark and The Killers is a pretty great day of music. I’m always interested in checking out anything new. I’ll be walking around trying to see what it’s all about and soaking it up.
Will the band be playing as a three-piece or back to a full band this time round?
It’s something new again, this time around. We will have an extra touring member with us as we usually do. This time we’re going to have our friend Dave Wallace playing guitars and keys with us. Adrian Stoyles who’s been touring with us for years couldn’t make this one as he has just welcomed his second child. Dave is going to be joining us and the funny thing about Dave is that he’s an old friend of ours from New York. We’ve known him forever and he’s a wonderful musician. There’s also a song on our latest record that’s about him and it’s funny that he’s now going to be joining us for a show.
Fifty to sixty minutes is tight squeeze to fit in all the Something For Kate classics?
It’s hard! I think we’ve got an hour. We’ve got seven albums now, EP’s and things, but it’s bloody impossible. That’s why when we do our own headlining shows now they’re just getting longer and longer. Most of our shows now seem to go for about two hours. It’s definitely hard to condense it to an hour. Events like this as well, makes you consider your set list differently because you’re not necessarily just playing to a room full of something for Kate fans, so you want to try and include something that’s for all different kinds of people.
Moving in to this post-Covid phase how have you found playing live and do you think things have picked up from where things were or is there still a way to go?
I guess there’s two answers to that. From our perspective, we are just so thrilled and grateful to be back on stage. We missed it so much and it’s just so exciting to play. There’s still this strange feeling that every time you do a show you feel like you’ve gotten away with something and there’s almost this sort of paranoia that the rug’s going to get pulled out again and that something’s going to stop us from being able to keep doing this again. On the positive side, it’s really exciting. It’s just so nice to be playing shows again. We just hope that we can keep on going in this relatively normal way. The other side to it is that it hasn’t all returned to normal, the way it was in terms of crowds coming out.
Right across the board, it’s lucky for us that we have such an established audience and that we’ve been around for a long time and we can go and play shows and the turnout is always is great. We are so incredibly fortunate to have that. Pretty much across the board, new bands, established bands, huge gigs, smaller gigs, the crowd numbers are not what they were pre-pandemic. I’m hearing stories every day of huge tours that are struggling to cover costs and right down to smaller pub shows that are just not seeing the turnout that you’d expect before. I could speculate for hours about what that is.
It makes perfect sense that people would feel a reticence about still going out into crowds and stuff. At the same time there’s a huge variation because people will go to some events, but not others. Here I am speculating, the cost of living, inflation, interest rates. I understand it, I get it. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, I’m just observing that things are still hard for a lot of people across the entertainment performance industry. I’m certainly not saying it with any note of complaint. It’s just the simple cold look at the facts is that life is expensive now. People don’t have maybe the disposable income that they had, so they’re making tough choices about what they’re going to go and see and do. That just is what it is. Whilst we’re all extremely grateful to be playing again, and we will continue to do so, we also look forward to a time as everybody does when life isn’t so expensive and challenging.
Can you believe that two years has literally whizzed pass since the Modern Medieval came out?
Yeah. It’s crazy! I mean time is time! Time is one of the things that keeps me writing songs. It is the ephemeral nature of existence and time is just constantly baffling. It feels like it just flew past and at the same time it feels like an age has passed. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years and really I feel like we just were able to tour that record. We put it out and then we had to sit at home for eighteen months before we could play shows to support it.
Do you think the album now has had its time in the sun and got the attention it deserves?
There’s two parts to that question. What it deserves, I’m not the type to sit here and say it deserves anything. It’s another record out of millions of records. I don’t think about what it deserves but I certainly think that we worked really hard on it and we’re really proud of it. I guess we’ll never know had we got to put it out and go on tour normally, play a bunch of shows and festivals right around the time it came out doing the things that you usually do when you release an album. Maybe things would be different. I don’t sit around pondering whether we deserve anything, I get on with it.
Is it too early to start thinking about the next album and what it might be, whether that might be a Something For Kate or a Paul Dempsey album?
I’ve been working away pretty much since Modern Medieval came out of being, continuing to work at home and I’m working on a lot of stuff. It could well be neither of those things, neither a Something For Kate record or a Paul Dempsey record, but needless to say there’s a lot of work going on at the moment on something.
Another milestone year being the twentieth anniversary of Official Fiction.
We’re getting to that point now where we’ve been around so long and we’ve put out so many records that every other year is going to be the anniversary of something. I think we need to stop looking back and keep looking forward. Echolalia was nice to do those shows and the reason we decided to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that record was also because we were trying to create a show that was about the Modern Medieval, but also celebrating that at the same time. After two years of not being able to tour, we wanted to basically wanted to be on stage for two and a half hours and, and play a lot. We were trying to give ourselves an excuse to spend a lot of time on stage, not have a support act and just have a really great long show.
That was the thinking behind the Echolalia and Modern Medieval combined tour. I don’t think we’re going to start celebrating the anniversary of every album otherwise every year we’ll be looking back twenty years. It’s time to sort of start looking forward again and we’ve never wanted to dwell on the past too much. I’ve probably hammered the point home enough, but we’re always looking ahead and thinking that our best record is yet to come, well, you know, that we’ll never actually have a best record. We’ll just try to keep making better ones.
Do you actually get to take a bit of a decent break this time over Christmas/ New Year to refresh and recharge?
I just want to tour constantly. I’m not very good at resting. I love playing music, it’s not something that makes me feel like I need a rest from it. If I had my way there’d be hundreds more shows happening. I’m just looking ahead to next year hoping that will be the case, that I’ll get a lot more music written, which will give me reason to get out and keep playing.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Something For Kate with The Killers and Amy Shark at the Valo Adelaide 500 on Sunday 4 Decmber. Tickets HERE