Laneway is a special festival. Anyone could tell you that, but why not hear it from one of Pond’s multi-instrumentalist Shiny Joe Ryan. Pond played at the Aukland leg of the festival yesterday. I, like many others, happily lived vicariously through artists’ Instagram coverage. Something about watching musicians I love (both local and International) interacting makes me giddy. These special moments that we are gifted the opportunity to observe through our screens are what make Laneway so unique.
“At least one of Spinning Top’s bands have played every Laneway for the last seven or eight years and each year everyone is very excited to play for just that reason. The atmosphere is amazing backstage and we’re always very excited to hang out with our friends from overseas while traveling around Australia. It’s fun to show the out of towners how we do it here in Oz. The organisers and staff of the festival are very friendly, helpful and generally excited themselves which is fantastic. This year it’s great to be back hanging out with our good mates in Mac DeMarco, Connan Mockasin (in NZ) and are looking forward to making some new friends.”
Only New Zealand were lucky enough to have Connan Mockasin perform and Joe was smart enough make sure he was there. I’ll have to check in with him in a weeks time (I’m sure he’ll have plenty of new stories to share) but this set is his highlight of the festival so far.
“Side of stage was packed with other bands from the festival and a group of his mates from a variety of bands got up and sang as a choir together for a few songs. I forgot how unique his voice, guitar playing and songs are.”
It’s impossible to deny the strength of this year’s Laneway line up. The festival prides itself on it’s authenticity and uniqueness and it has definitely delivered. Joe tells me that he’s looking forward to watching Mac DeMarco, Amy Shark, Aldous Harding and Anderson. Paak; quite a suiting and eclectic mix. His set times clash with The War On Drugs and Father John Misty but he’ll try his best to be side stage.
I’ve already mentioned a bunch on huge names and I haven’t even scratched the full Laneway line up yet. In quintessential style, the Pond boys keep their cool when surrounded by these artists. Personally, I would be a mess if I had the chance to interact with some of my favourite acts.
“While we take it seriously in the sense that we want to play our best and do a good entertaining show we’re not intimidated. You gotta have fun. The audience pick up on that more than anything I think”
It’s no secret that the members of Pond like to keep themselves busy. In fact, since this chat Jay Watson has dropped two singles under his side project GUM and announced a tour. I find it difficult to believe but Joe reassures me that the boys don’t struggle to find time to rehearse.
“We have had to pencil in times over the past few years to record while Tame Impala were touring hard but we’ve always found the time and it hasn’t stifled our creative output at all. When we do come together to make a new album it’s always very natural and smooth.”
I mentioned Jay’s solo music, but Joe too releases music under his own name. He describes it to me as music with a “freak country vibe”. Naturally, I’m intrigued. I ask him if it’s difficult to choose what songs are for himself and what songs he will present to Pond but once again, it appears that it isn’t as difficult as I had imagined.
“I usually play the lads the weirder demos I’ve recorded and see what they like. We might take one or two of them from the pile, or maybe a chord progression here and there, but I can usually tell which are contenders for Pond and which are Shiny Joe ones. But really there’s no ego involved when we’re picking songs for Pond, we just pick the best of each others songs and that’s that.”
Pond’s most recent release ‘The Weather’ delved in to a new world. It explored sounds that the band had not yet ventured into on previous albums. I asked Joe to give us a glimpse into Pond’s next album. Like the rest of you, I am eagerly anticipating their next release.
“We’ve been recording a new album over Christmas and it sound fantastic, we’re very excited to get it finished, released and to be playing the songs live but I have no words to describe how it sounds haha. Your going to have to wait and decide for yourself when it comes out soz”