When it comes to heavy-hitting Perth trio, Blak Tui, it could simply be said that the band’s essence is all in the name. “The name comes from the Tui Bird which is native to New Zealand,” explaied vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, Chris Reidy. “From a distance they appear black. But up close these birds actually appear quite colourful with shades of blue, green and bronze with their distinctive white throat tufts.”
Similar things could be said of the band that takes their name from this deceptive and fascinating bird. The hard rock drive of Reidy, bassist Nick Haggarty and drummer Darren Webb is immediately noticeable in spades, but there are many more musical layers revealed as you listen more deeply.
It should come as no surprise given Reidy’s embrace of life and lived experience. Born and raised inTaranaki, New Zealand, Reidy thrived on a diet of his mother’s beloved vinyl collection – The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Beatles, Elvis, The Seekers and ABBA – as well as his brother’s penchant for Bob Marley and hip hop. Reidy discovered the songs of Ben Harper and the delights of the acoustic guitar further along the way. School books were eschewed in favour of surfing; and Reidy’s dual loves were set for life. Music and surfing would take him, and follow him, around the world.
Upon finishing school Reidy took a much-loathed job at an abattoir but soon enough, after hearing his brother’s glowing reports about the waves in Western Australia, booked a one-way ticket to Perth. New friends and good times followed, and upon being taken along to a Shihad concert the world of hard rock opened up Reidy busied himself practicing Metallica riffs and Red Hot Chili Pepper melodies on a Fender Stratocaster that he plays to this day. This saw him join a rock/reggae outfit New Soundland as lead guitarist for three years.
During this time Reidy’s tastes expanded to the stoner rock of Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Queens of The Stone Age, eventually setting the scene for the creation of his own band. Upon the break-up of New Soundland, a couple of months spent back in New Zealand found him packing supermarket shelves at night and writing the songs that would become the foundation of the debut Blak Tui album.
“When I wrote the album, I purposely didn’t listen to a lot of music for most of that writing period, because I was scared of being overly-influenced by a band or sound and then having an album that ended up sounding like someone else,” Reidy notes. “I wanted Blak Tui to be absolutely original and have our own unique sound. I thought by doing this would mean only my strongest of past musical influences would subtly shine through in my writing style all while keeping an original sound.”
By August 2018, Reidy was not only back living in WA, but settled inside Real To Real Studios in Bunbury to record this album, presciently titled In Colours, with producer James Newhouse and session drummer Nathan Sproule (Southern River Band, End Of Fashion).
“The writing process for me was a very solo process. It involved me sitting in my home where I lived alone, and writing, and writing, and writing for a long time. Then with the recording process along came two more people, who were studio engineer/producer James Newhouse, and session drummer Nathan Sproule. Nathan smashed his parts in only a few days and then there were two us. For the next nine months from the first day tracking drums to the day I received the final masters, James and myself worked together to create something very new and original and what is now called In Colours.
The album showcases what has inspired Reidy over these years of life, music, work and surf. So there are indeed those elements of Shihad, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Black Keys, yet through a hard-rock-tough-funk/melodic-pop filter that is very much his own.
“Songs such as Change and Lie To Justify show more of a serious side of Blak Tui,” Reidy says, “hinting on past relationships of friends and lovers, they tell stories of pain, sadness and loss. Whereas songs like Falsify and Strung Out show more of a not-so-serious side of the band, by telling stories of confusion and rejection, all while keeping a lighter vibe and feel.
“I guess all of these influences combined with the idea and drive to create loud, high energy rock music, has created In Colours and the sound of Blak Tui.”
The recording of then album has now also culminated in the formation of a live Blak Tui line-up with the rhythm section of Haggarty and Webb coming on board.
“Nick’s unique bass tone and fast-playing style is huge and gritty which suits Blak Tui’s sound and drive,” Reidy explains. “Darren’s hard-hitting drumming style and power is massive, which enforces the tones of the album all while bringing a new element to Blak Tui’s sound.
“We’ve been playing shows in and around Perth now for a few months and every show seems to be getting better and better. We have a long road ahead of us and I’m very excited to see where we will be in years to come with the passion and dedication that we all now have together as a band.”
The word-by-word and note-for-note dedication Reidy has shown towards In Colours has engendered a commitment to the album and towards taking it on the road. It’s also creatively fired up the whole band up like never before.
“2020 is looking very exciting,” Reidy enthuses. “We have upcoming shows in and around Perth on the horizon and are looking forward to delivering our sound into more live venues around Australia with the only way we know how – hard, fast and loud. And who knows? There could be a new album on the way very soon!
“We love music, and music is our life. We are looking forward to and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
Get a little taster of what Blak Tui are all about …
October 18th, The Den (Civic Hotel) – supported by MODERN MANTRA and FRANK.
October 31st, The Indi Bar.
November 10th, Mojos.
November 30th, The Sixty30
December 2nd, Mojos
December 6th, The Grand Central Hotel (Midland) – Supporting ELECTRIC STATE.
January 3rd, The Prince of Wales Bunbury – Supporting BLACKWOOD MORRIS.
January 9th, The Sewing Room.