Most people know Ben Gillies better as the drummer from a little band called Silverchair, however with the band currently on an indefinite break it has given Ben a chance to get back to his musical roots and start writing his own music again. After catching up with fellow songwriter and friend Wesley Carr over a couple of bottles of wine the band Tambalane was formed. The band have now completed their debut album and are about to embark on a national tour, but how does it compare going from playing sold out arena tours back to the bare essentials of playing the small front room of Sydney's Annandale Hotel?


"I don't think you can compare the two, I love both" says Gillies.


"Playing with Tambalane in small venues and really getting back to my grass roots is extremely fun and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming tour, but there is something special when you get in front of a full arena to perform. I can't explain but the rush is out of this world."


Ben Gillies is also no stranger to the studio. Having produced many platinum albums with Silverchair I was curious as to how the band approached heading into the studio for the Tambalane album.


"We really wanted to have a relaxed feel in the studio," explains Gillies.


"We didn't want to rush anything, but we also didn't want to stew over things to much, so we planned 2 weeks pre-production and 3 weeks recording. Not too much, not too little but just right!"


However, it was not all hard work in the studio.


"The studio has a wonderful roof space so we had a BBQ & beers every second night... actually beers or wine most nights," says Gillies.


"The fact that we're independant and didn't have the pressure of a record company means we have full control over everything, which also translates into very little pressure. We've had a ball."


The relaxed vibe certainly does come across, especially in the first single Little Miss Liar The album has a very late 60's and early 70's rock feel about it, with Ben claiming a lot of the music is influenced by classic bands such as The Beatles and Led Zeppelin which definitely comes through on some tracks.


So now that the album is finished and all the songs have been fine tuned what exactly can people expect to see at a Tambalane gig?


"A fun & energetic rock show!" says Gillies.


"We can't afford pyros just yet so we have to rely purely on our musical know how. We are toying with the idea of a few semi acoustic numbers halfway through the set, but we'll see how they go in rehearsal."


Not that the lads haven't had plenty of stage time already. They took up a low-key residency at the Annandale every Saturday after midnight for a month to make sure their tunes where ready before heading into the studio.


They have also just finished touring with End Of Fashion, which Gillies considers the most memorable experience thus far in Tambalane's short existence.


"I won't go into detail but try to imagine a Hiace van with 6 blokes on the road for 14 hours at a time," says Gillies


"By the end of the tour the van was filthy, it stunk, and lots of laughs and dirty jokes were shared. Not for the faint hearted."


So now they have had the chance to showcase their songs on stage what where the reactions of their biggest critics of all, the paying punters?


"Great so far!" explains Gillies.


"A lot of people have come to see us play because they are curious. After hearing "Little Miss Liar" on the J's and because of my background with Silverchair it seems they don't know what to expect. The people I have spoken to say they have been pleasantly surprised."


Now with the band embarking on it's first national headlining tour they will get the chance to surprise many more music lovers across the country. Although music lovers in Perth may feel a bit left out for not being included in the national tour they needn't worry as Ben says the band is making plans to head out west after the current tour.


While most bands have there eyes firmly set on world domination Tambalane are more than happy to just focus locally for now.


"Unless we got signed internationally, I don't see it [overseas tour] happening in the near future. We'll just aim to get to WA for now," explains Gillies.


"Tambalane has been, and still is, a really fun experience and if we only do stuff with in Australia that's fine with us. We're not banking on Tambalane being a huge commercial success, we're doing it for the love of music and to have some fun, so if it takes us overseas that's great, but if not, we're always happy in Australia!"


So, with their live shows being well received and the band seeming to be enjoying the fruits of their labour, will this be a long-term project for band members or just simply a side project?


"Who knows?" says Gillies."You'll definitely be hearing about us for the next 6 months or so, as for another record, let's see how this one goes first"


The debut album - "Tambalane" is out now through MGM Distribution.

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