Congrats on the band’s 21st birthday. What is the secret of your longevity?
Friendship and a love of music, I think. I went to school with the other two guys in the band and we’ve known each other for a very long time. It’s more about brotherhood than business really. I can’t imagine doing music with anyone else. We have so much to tell the world of what we can do musically.
Keen to be back here in Oz?
Yeah, we are. I don’t know if you know but we don’t do every show with N’Dea Davenport, because of logistics and expenses. But she’s back with us for a new album and she will be doing all of the dates in Australia and that makes a little bit more, well… not exciting, for me, personally, but that’s what people want to see deep down. She’s singing all of the hits plus two or three new songs from the album.
You’re touring Brisbane and New Zealand for the first time. Any particular places you’d like to see, or things you’d like to do?
Anything, really. We’ve actually got a lot more time off, and I’m open to see and try and do anything while I’m out there. What’s the best way of finding out what’s going on, or cool things to see in those cities? Your magazine, I hope!
Would you rather swim with a shark or try out Vegemite?
Shark, I think. The shark definitely, yeah. Life’s too short isn’t it?
But Vegemite’s quite like Marmite, which you do have in the UK.
Yeah, I actually quite like Marmite. It wouldn’t be a challenge.
What are the downsides to touring?
That I’m away from my family. I’ve got a nine week old baby who I’m holding right this second. But that’s the only downside. I can’t complain, I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it’s one of the best jobs I can think of ever.
Tell us about the new album…
We’ve been writing off and on for a year now, and we’ve just started physically recording now, this week. Actually N’Dea’s just flying in today. She’s doing more vocals and writing some lyrics and stuff for some of the songs we haven’t finished yet. It’s a pretty upbeat album. We’re keeping it very up-tempo and dance based.
How has the music scene changed over the year for new artists?
Well, luckily, everything is about being in a live band these days. We’re in a perfect world because that’s something we’ve always done. Back in the late Eighties, all bands did gigs. You didn’t instantly start doing TV and stuff like that. You had to play, and that was the fun of it. It hasn’t really changed that much. Obviously, musical styles have changed and morphed and there’s a lot more dance music out there, which is another good thing! We love hip-hop, we love dance, we love funky house. So, all of the changes that have taken place we’ve taken advantage of and tried to exploit!
What was it like having Hugh Hefner in the video for Sometime?
That was surreal, actually. We were supposed to have filmed it at his house, at the Playboy Mansion, but logistically, it wouldn’t work. So he did a cameo – although that’s not the right word because he’s pretty much in it. It was really good fun. Playboy After Dark is the show that we mimicked, and we saw on the treatment that Hugh Hefner was going to be in it, and we thought: ‘Next! What do we do now?’ But looking back, I’m so glad we did and it was super cool that we did.
What do you think of talent shows?
I like them. I just saw an ad actually, I’ve got the TV on in the background, for the X Factor. I didn’t know Mel B was on X Factor, that should be interesting. We’re torn in the band about these shows. But I actually quite like them. I guess it easy to live in the past and think that everything’s about all the hard work. But it’s an entertaining show, so you shouldn’t take them too seriously.
Do you think there’ll be a 30th anniversary?
Definitely, although I think flying is going to take its toll. We might slow down by then. We’re doing another Heavy Rhyme Experience. It’s going to be constant for the next two or three years, constant stuff. So yeah, we’ll be around as long as people are willing to shell out for tickets!
How involved are you with social media?
Oh, you have to do it. Some of our fans are a little older, so they’re not as connected into cyberspace, but they are getting so, and it’s the most important aspect. Everyone’s looking at screens these days. So if you want to be seen, you’ve got to be on that screen. That rhymes, and I never realised – that’s quite cool. If you want to be seen, you have to be on that screen!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think a couple of words from my son, I think he’d like to say something: *insert baby babble.*
Catch the Brand New Heavies in Brisbane (Sept 6), Melbourne (Sept 7) and Sydney (Sept 8). brandnewheavies.net