Photo: Graham Hall
The highly versatile Steve Hensby has released a new single, Chase The Sun, a collaboration between Hensby’s band and MC Optamus of Downsyde.
“The band and I tracked the song and then Optamus put his rhymes on top of what we had,” Hensby says. “It blew my head off the first time I heard what he’d put down. I love what he did with our song, what he wrote was very clever, witty and funny and from a nerdy music point of view he has amazing time and really lays on the back of the beat.
“He brings so much energy to the table and is very honest in everything he does. It's quite remarkable how much work he does in the music industry; he has been putting out Optamus and Downsyde records for years but, also, we lecture music together and he is constantly recording up-and-coming hip hop artists.
“Musically, we wanted the song to be soul driven and have a good groove - which comes from our rhythm section, Karl Florisson and Greg Brenton - and lyrically the tune needed to be positive. In a world where there is so much negativity we definitely wanted to have a message of good times.”
Chase The Sun is the first glimpse of Hensby’s forthcoming 13-track album, which is set for a February release. Talk of it is met with unbridled enthusiasm.
“I know I said this about the last album but this definitely the strongest and my most favourite material I've written,” Hensby enthuses. “A lot of it comes from the collaborative aspect of writing music, whether it's writing a song with Optamus, having Dylan Hooper stamp his genius horn arrangements to tracks, co-writing with Elysia Murphy, or having Josh Dyson's wonderful ears work their magic on the tracks. I'm constantly writing music, so it would be easy to keep putting out songs, but the collaborative process of creating music is definitely something I want to do more of in the future.”
The singer/songwriter is playing his first-ever UK dates later this month and will return to a solidly booked dancecard of gigs going up until May.
“My family moved from the UK to Australia when I was 9 and although I've played gigs all around Australia and the USA when I lived there for six years, I have not played a gig in the UK,” he reveals.
“It seems crazy seeing the amount of time I've spent there both as a citizen and a tourist. It would be amazing to get the full band over there but at this stage we are in duo mode with my partner, Elysia. We are playing more of the folk circuit type gigs which definitely has its perks because you can really have a more intimate show where anything can happen. The venues that are having us on are very, very kind souls as they don't know me/us from a bar of soap (laughs).
“After the UK we then come back to Australia to release the album. We’re playing Nannup Festival which is a dream come true for me as I’ve been going there since I was a kid of 10 years-old. My parents used to take me every year and I've played there a couple of times as a guitar player for different bands, but never as an original artist.”
Steve Hensby launches Chase The Sun on December 14 at the Bassendean Hotel with The Isolites and Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics. Full details via www.facebook.com/events/281573479158503/. For more about the Nannup Music Festival, head to nannupmusicfestival.org.