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A Beautiful Mind

Bonjah show off their rockin’ new tunes on Thursday, August 14, at the Northshore Tavern; Friday, August 15, at the Indi Bar; Saturday, August 16, at Amplifier and Sunday, August 17, at the Dunsborough Tavern. SHAUN COWE reports.

Bonjah’s last studio album, Go Go Chaos, garnered a fair amount of critical acclaim, throwing them up for a nomination at both the AIR and Rolling Stone Awards.

Now, after a three-year break from the studio and one live album in between, the band are back with an uncompromising roots rock LP, Beautiful Wild. Frontman, Glen Mossop, is at home working as he gets a call and sedately explains Bonjah’s coming-of-age.

“When we first arrived, to get our music out there, we couldn’t get shows, so we just went and started busking and selling CDs and getting a following that way.” He says. “We’ve never had a lot of radio play so I guess that sort of relentless touring in the early days was our way of getting our music out there. Everyone’s different. Some people write eight songs on high rotation straight away. So I guess there’s different means and different avenues to take, but we did the grass roots thing and built it up that way.”

Despite the band’s historic lack of club bangers or indie pop hits, they’ve managed to do fairly well for themselves, having just come back from a tour of Europe with a string of dates in Germany and the UK. Fans of their previous albums, however, may be a little jarred by Bonjah’s evolving sound.

“We’ve always been really energetic when we play live. We wanted to make an album that would be really up when it came to performing it as well. Like, Go Go Chaos and even the album before that, half of them were really slow acoustic tunes – which we love doing in the studio – but when it came to live shows they kind of just never made the cut. For this one, Beautiful Wild, we just really wanted to capture what we are about live.”

Recording the LP in Melbourne, with the help of Jan Skubiszewski (Way Of The Eagle, John Butler Trio, Cat Empire), Mossop says the producer played a big part in developing the sound.

“You know, working with Jan, he was amazing; he really brought it to life and pushed us in ways we’ve never done before in the studio. He opened our eyes to a whole lot of new ways to play and create some segments in songs. So he was a big influence in the album. So, yeah, it was a big learning curve for all of us and a lot of fun.”

Putting so much emphasis on their evolving sound, the band made sure to incorporate Skubiszewski into the songwriting process, getting him to workshop songs as they were being written, along with the band.

“I wrote most of the demos, then sort of took it to the guys and everyone would get together and have a listen and go through them. Everyone would throw ideas around and just play with them and see what happens. Then Jan would come to a few sessions and sorta put his input in. I just kinda gave the guys the basics and everyone gave their input.”

Bonjah’s history of releasing killer albums that garner industry attention, from Go Go Chaos being nominated for awards in 2011 and Until Dawn, up for numerous APRA awards in 2010, means that there’s pressure for Beautiful Wild to do just as well. However, Mossop shrugs industry expectation off, content with staying true to the band’s creative integrity.

“If it gets recognised in the industry, in that way, that’s awesome, you know? It’s a bonus. But it’s not something that’s high up on the list, but if it happened it would be great; we’d welcome it.”



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