Trial Kennedy - The curse stops here

Assassinations, plane crashes, skiing accidents, cancer, drug overdoses… it can only mean one name – Kennedy. But despite the much vaunted ‘Kennedy Curse', Melbourne four-piece Trial Kennedy are making waves on the back of their second release ‘Picture Frame' - the follow up to 2004's ‘Present For A Day'.


With a fresh, unique sound and fans in high places (they've recently signed with booking agency TPA – home of Grinspoon, Silverchair and The Living End among others), it's not hard to see why Trial Kennedy are attracting attention. When you couple this with the exposure brought by supporting slots to touring acts such as Alexisonfire and Shihad, the foundations are being laid for a very bright future.


So, in light of their upcoming national tour with Gyroscope, I recently contacted the boys from Trial Kennedy to find out more about ‘Picture Frame', their journey so far and the touring life in general.


"During the writing of ‘Picture Frame', we were a lot more aware of how we would arrange the songs …sometimes our song writing arrangements in the past would drift off in a rather artistic, yet confusing way."


"So, we decided to strip back the way we pieced things together. Since our decision to ‘simplify' our arrangements, we have become a lot more confident with our song writing and are happier with the way our new material has evolved."


They had reason to be happy too, because when Trial Kennedy entered the studio, they had producer Talju Tonuma (28 Days, Frenzal Rhomb, Bodyjar) in their corner.


"We have definitely gained a hell of a lot working with Kal. … He has an amazing ability to bring out the honesty of all the bands he produces, and we feel very fortunate to have been able to work with him."


Ultimately, somebody must have been impressed with the end result, because support slots with Alexisonfire, Shihad and KissChasy, among others, have followed. A learning experience?


"You're always learning when you play music, but when you get to support big names it really takes you out of your comfort zone.


"At the end of the day it makes you much more professional, you get to see these bands work and watch how it's really done - so you take everything on board and learn from it."


But what about the audiences and subsequent exposure?


"You try to cut the audience out when you support major bands because usually they just want to see the headline band, whoever that may be. We've been pretty lucky so far and we go out and just do our thing and play because we love it, we think the crowds have recognised this and been very receptive so far."


It's this exposure that's led to slots on the ‘Peaches ‘n' Cream' and ‘AMPT Winterfest' bills, quite a different setting to the standard ‘pub gig'. So how has this transition progressed?


"The festival environment is totally different to your pub shows, you lose all intimacy when you play a festival… We love playing these festivals because you get to play in front of a crowd that might not usually come to one of your shows, and the big crowds are always a buzz. It's also a great opportunity to play with and meet some bands you would never usually play with at a regular show."


But after experiencing the grass on both sides of the fence, just how ‘green' is the other side? "At the end of the day both environments are really great but yet totally different and we much prefer the tiny stages at a smaller venue any day."


Evolution seems a big theme for Trial Kennedy. After going through high school together and spending many years on the Melbourne circuit as ‘Room Seven', Trial Kennedy have emerged the other side with a greater understanding of each other and their craft.


"Room Seven was quite an experimental time for us. We were stumbling around in the dark testing different sound and ideas trying to find our path. As time went on it became more and more clear to us."


"For us it is important to stay fresh, and always create a slightly new sound but continuing to change with time. Unfortunately, in this game you have to be selfish, which for us means being honest to ourselves with the way we write, and if people enjoy what we do along the way then it's just an added bonus."


Sounds great. So, what's next?


"Touring, lots of touring."


Touring with Gyroscope in fact.


"It's going to be a big release for us to get on the road and meet new people. We have a great team working behind the scenes helping us. All we really have to do is work hard and give it our best."


And if things don't go their way?


"If it all ended tomorrow it will be remembered as some of the greatest moments of our lives. But were also working as hard as we can to see just how far fate will carry us."


Where fate will take Trial Kennedy is still to be seen, but it's sure to be one hell of a ride…


‘Picture Frame' is available now through Helltrack Records.

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