West Australian rock powerhouse, The Siren Tower are preparing for their national tour which will be kicking off in Hobart on Thursday. Band members include Grant McCulloch, Brody Simpson, and Mark McEwen.

Music News recently caught up with McCulloch, the band’s lead singer and guitarist to discuss their latest single King River and the challenges they face as independent artists.

The boys are dedicated; talented musicians who understand the fickleness of the music industry and against all odds have kept their incredible momentum going. I was impressed to learn that they are heavily involved in their video clips, from concept stage to post production and tour two to three times each year across Australia. That’s no easy feat for any independent artists.

Music News - Can you tell me about the early days of The Siren Tower? How did the band form?

It really formed out of a few heavier acts in Perth. I was in Heavy Weight Champ, and Brody was in Antistatic; both acts finished around the same time so we decided fairly quickly that we wanted to do something together. We started trying more of the same style but neither one of us were into retreading that ground, so we ended up looking at some of the more folky acoustic stuff I had written; we just went from there.

Music News - What genre best describes your music?

I guess people are mostly relating us to Australian rock, which is not something we set out to do, but it’s something we’re more than happy to wear. Being related to bands from our childhoods like Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil is terrific, and it gives us a very high standard to aim for. Hopefully we’re infusing our music with a few other influences as well – folk, soul, country and the like.

Music News - You just released your latest single King River, can you tell me about that? What inspired the song?

It’s a song about revisiting places from your past and the relationships we have with those places. I actually wrote it while I was home visiting my parents on the family farm a few years ago. I remember thinking how familiar it was, but that it had changed somehow, in the fact that it wasn’t somewhere I could stay indefinitely anymore. I wrote that song about that specific place, but the themes are hopefully ones that everyone can relate to.

Music News - What is your songwriting process? Do you write as a team or individually?

As with King River, most songs on this album came about from me sitting around with an acoustic guitar and panel beating ideas into some kind of structure. From there, the band will put them up on the hoist and overhaul them from the ground up. I’m extremely lucky to have some of the best musicians I know in the band.

Music News - Which artists have influenced you?

The band as a whole consumes a lot of varied stuff, but some of the artists are Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel, Cold Chisel, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, First Aid Kit, Cold Chisel, Bruce Springsteen, Simon and Garfunkel - and of course we have our heavier stuff like Periphery, Slipknot, Pantera, Karnivool, Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, The Bronx, Clutch, Every Time I Die.

Music News - You guys will be kicking off a national tour shortly. Can you tell me about that?

It’s going to be our biggest tour to date, which is awesome. Being from the west side of the country, it’s a big production to get to the east coast and tour. However, we’ve managed to get over two or three times a year for the last couple years which has been tough but really positive. We’ll be touring our latest single, King River so hopefully everyone’s got onto that and spun the video and will be singing along when we get in front of them!

Music News - What hurdles have you had to overcome, to get to where you are today?

Being totally independent, for the most part the hurdles are financial. We aim to match the bands that inspire us in terms of music and execution of everything around it, from album packaging to merch to marketing etc - obviously being a new independent outfit that costs a lot. Secondly, playing a style that is clearly not in vogue right now means radio and industry is very hesitant to get on board, so a lot of the money that is going out doesn’t come back in. We made a decision from the outset that we wanted to make this music for ourselves, and we wanted it to be the best it could possibly be, so the current lack of radio doesn’t affect our approach. That said, I’m a firm believer in that a uniqueness that can hinder initially can quickly become a major asset if you can work hard enough. I guess we’re working hard at starting that fire.

Music News - I hear that you’re very involved when filming your video clips from the producing aspect to post-production. That must be gratifying. Can you tell me more about that?

Yeah, I did film at university and worked as an editor for a while out of school. Again, it was probably a financial thing as much as anything. Our first clip, Floods was shot on the fly by some extremely talented friends of ours; I handled the post work. I guess it was equal parts saving money and having cut control. I’ve worked on the edits of all out clips and we all produce, it helps to streamline things and the end product is always that much closer to what we had originally envisaged.

Music News - What is next for The Siren Tower?

Recover from this tour and then look towards writing again, we’re really keen to get into the next cycle. There’s been so much happening outside the band for members that we’ve struggled to find time to do anything but service the marketing of the album and of course tour on it which has been awesome, but we’re really excited to get back into creating again.

Music News - Anything you would like to share, from upcoming shows to albums?

We put our new album into the world for people to enjoy and connect with, so swing over to www.thesirentower.bandcamp.com and you can download it for a few bob, or if you’re short on coin, you can have a copy on us. Beyond that, if you can get to a show, please do so, we’ll make it worth your while!

View the clip for King River here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31TRgGYXsjY


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