ARTIST NAME: Steve Hensby Band
SONG TITLE: Chase The Sun
DATE: April 2019
The Steve Hensby Band are heavy on the horns and very danceable!
Their self-titled debut was well received and featured folk music from different parts of the world fused together to make a gypsy/circus-style album.
For the follow-up ‘Chase the Sun’ they drew from Soul/Groove/ Funk music and added a five-piece horn section.
In between releasing albums, they put on ‘Steve Hensby’s Circus’ to sold-out crowds at FRINGE WORLD Perth in January 2018, this featured aerial, contortion, clown, burlesque, and fire routines performed to songs from the first album.
In December 2018/January 2019 they went on their first UK in duo form, with Steve’s humor, talent, and energy combined with Elysia’s beautiful vocals never failing to win over audiences.
Both albums have had heavy airplay including Triple J and Double J as well as local radio stations all over Australia. Their song ‘Naf Naf’ has been nominated for the 2019 WAM Song of Year.
In 2019, the full Steve Hensby Band played to big crowds at Fairbridge Folk Festival, Nannup Music Festival, and Joondalup Festival.
As a duo, they toured Brisbane and Melbourne in April and are heading back in September/October before returning to play shows in UK/Europe in January 2020.
Steve Hensby is a Berklee graduate and WAMI nominated musician who also works as a session player in the Perth area.
Discuss the story behind your music video.
We wanted a lively video that had a lot of movement and incorporated the whole band. The song itself is a collaboration between Steve Hensby Band and Optamus from Downsyde. I had an idea and we workshopped it at his studio and then went away and wrote and recorded the song… He added his vocals to the track and sent it through and it blew me away! It’s a lot of fun working with Optamus and he brings so many ideas and a lot of energy to the table.
Downsyde are Western Australian hip hop royalty and have an interesting approach to music and making albums. They make very honest recordings that are soul-driven and collaborate with a lot of different people both in Downsyde and with their solo projects. They put on a very energetic live show.
State the name of the locations in your music video.
We shot the video at Lake Monger in Perth Western Australia; it’s a beautiful spot with some great views of the city in the background. There were a lot of local folks going for their morning run/walk that might have made it into the footage! The spot where the full band is playing is on a little jetty at the lake and we managed to claim it for 30 minutes or so. It didn’t take very long at all.
List the members of the crew that produced this video and use this opportunity to thank them.
Paul Bovenkerk shot the video and he and Paul Hayes edited it. They are amazing chaps and had a lot of great ideas.
Explain your emotional state while shooting the music video.
We were having a blast! We were finding spots around the lake to shoot footage and generally being a nuisance. Optamus had a few Downsyde fans stop and say hello as well.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Review by Nkechi Anele (Triple J Radio) of the second single ‘Time’s Up’ from the Chase The Sun Album…
From the get-go, this funk tune put me in the best mood. Whimsical and cheeky, this tune just oozes good times and boogie nights.
Review of our circus show by Ben Ashley (Fringe Feed)
When the zaniness of Steve Hensby’s Circus began, no one seemed to quite know what to expect.
Channeling vintage circus vibes circa 1920, the intimate setting of The Showman’s Fair’s Opticum was a perfect playground for this motley crew of musicians, acrobats, contortionists, and fire dancers.
Flourishing in his role as multi-instrumentalist and ringleader, Hensby has seamlessly blended his album of eclectic big band show-tunes with dazzling displays of human skill and physicality.
The WAMI-nominee is accompanied by his equally impeccably dressed band and vibrant brass pundits Junkadelic. Situated at the top of the tent, they provide the perfect soundtrack to the madness of the circus below.
It’s here that everyone is fixated on. What begins as a safe pantomime comedy of some rather flexible clowns quickly escalates into amazing feats of the human body.
The expertise of the performers is undeniable as they dance, twist and somersault. Madame Moët commands the stage with the skill and confidence of a seasoned professional, and she maneuvers the aerial silks like poured wine.
The talented Miss Terri undergoes no less than three costume changes in an unconventional act before Saskia Twist demonstrates the flexibility that will make your eyes water.
And that’s before the climactic fire comes out, dancing and twirling in such a mesmerizing way that you almost forget you’re inside a small flammable wooden tent.
Acrobatic troupe Equilibrium inject some light-hearted humor into the mix, and their interaction with the flame had the audience on the edge of their benches.
The gypsy grooves are punctuated by an impressive vocal performance by Hensby and his singer Elysia Murphy, resulting in tunes that are dynamic, catchy, and most of all, fun.
A personal highlight was when the brass band descend into the fray.
Despite its short running time, the show is jam-packed from start to finish and you’d be hard-pressed to not find something to love. While it seems chaotic at first, the pacing falls into a nice rhythm and amps up at just the right time.
You may have seen circus acts before, but you’ve never seen them quite like this.
Review of our circus show by Karen Lowe (Xpress Magazine)
While I had heard of this before as they have done previous shows at the Newport Hotel, this was my first opportunity to see Steve Hensby’s Circus for myself. With no expectations and no real idea of what I was about to see, I am certain that the rest of the audience were in the same boat but from what we heard coming out from the Opticum (The Showman’s Fair), it sounded like we were in for a treat.
For Fringe regulars, The Showman’s Fair and the Opticum are both new additions, and the Opticum is a fabulous space. The band had a designated spot to play up top and gave it a ‘ye olde theatre’ feel to it, and that in itself created a buzz of excitement around the room.
The night started with a beautiful family scene and left you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. When Hensby came running out (looking like a decidedly less evil Willy Wonka), the family scene broke up and started to get a little crazy as Hensby and the band sang The Beatles’ Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite and the circus really started to take off.
Aside from the first song, the rest were originals written by Hensby; even though they were written before the idea for the circus came about, the performances of Madam Moet, Saskia Twist, Miss Terri, and Equilibrium made the songs feel like they were written just for them.
There was so much attention to detail, from the choreography, to the outfits, and to the performance of the band itself, that everything worked together perfectly and felt like they had been doing this for years. Brass band Junkadelic even had a starring role as they came down to the stage and played for everyone with a couple of players running up the stairs and into the audience.
You see so many of these types of shows at Fringe every year with pole dancers, burlesque, fire twirling, acrobatic acts, and contortionists; however, with the addition of the live music (complete with an accordion player), the original songs, and the talent of Hensby and the Steve Hensby Band, they made this one stand out from the crowd. They have brought something new to Fringe and created a show that is not to be missed.
Discuss your music career so far.
I have been playing live shows regularly since I was 14. I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston USA at 18 and graduated with a Professional Music Degree when I was 23.
I started a 3-piece rock and roll band in Boston and brought it back to Australia and with a few different line-ups and two countries, we ran for about 10 years.
We toured a lot around Australia and had a lot of national and a bit of international airplay on US college radio. During this time and through to today I work as a session guitarist and vocalist for various different bands, projects, and random gigs as well as writing songs and running Steve Hensby Band.
Tell us if you aspire to go into acting.
If an opportunity came up I might have a crack at it but it’s definitely not something I’m looking out for, it’s hard enough doing photoshoots! Our live shows are a lot of fun so if I had a guitar in my hand maybe.
Tell us your gains and losses in the music business.
Gains from the industry is that I’ve met so many friends from playing music as gigging 3-4 times a week turns into your social life. It’s all I wanted to do as a kid growing up, it’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun. There haven’t been any losses really, I suppose when looking at the big picture you don’t make a lot of money in the music industry for the number of hours you put in. Really that’s the way all arts industries have been since the dawn of time so you just have to get on with it.
List the media that have supported you so far with this song.
There are a few local Perth media folks that have helped us RTRFM played ‘Chase The Sun’ a couple of times, WAM (West Australian Music Industry) did a feature on our last UK tour, and Around The Sound is always very supportive of us and our music. Nationally Triple J Radio played our song ‘Loving Heart’ which was very lovely! About half the album has been regularly played on community radio all around Australia and the West Australian newspaper has published an article about me and my partner in music and life, Elysia.
Tell us how you manage your time.
I lecture music at TAFE – the equivalent of a technical college in the UK and also lecture at WAAPA, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. As much as I am a working original/session musician and songwriter, I enjoy teaching music as a day job. I find it very rewarding and then as a session player I can just play the gigs/sessions I really enjoy doing. I am a very busy person but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I adore being so involved with music on various different platforms.
Tell us how you are able to actualize success in your music career.
Success is an interesting topic in the music industry. There is such a stigma attached to ‘making it’ and in 2019 where you make $0.000003 per stream or something obscene, it’s hardly a career that’s going to pay your bills! To me success is that I am very lucky, I get to play with absolutely amazing musicians that I am privileged to call friends. This spans back to Berklee’s days 15 years ago as well. Also because of music I have got to travel to a lot of the world that I wouldn’t have done without it. That to me is successful because the hardest part of this industry is having any kind of longevity.
Tell us if you an independent artist or you are a signed artist and tell us how you run your music career.
I am an independent artist and spend most of my time on the Steve Hensby Band project. I write a lot of music and we are trying to put out a full-length album every year, aside from that I’m constantly fishing for gigs whether they are at home in Perth, around the state of Western Australia, nationally, or overseas. The most important thing for me is not wasting the band’s time, I’m very lucky to play with pro musicians. As a songwriter, it’s very inspiring writing for a great-sounding band.
List the individuals responsible for your songwriting, production, recording, directing, choreography, promotion, and marketing of this project.
I have been pushing it myself. It involves writing a silly number of emails but is very rewarding. I have collaborated with Dylan Hooper on songs in terms of horn parts and Elysia wrote a song for the new album and we wrote another song together. Her song ‘Naf Naf’ has been nominated for a WAM Song of the Year and the video clip has made the shortlist for The Revelation Film Festival. I also write songs for her to sing and it works well live to have both male and female-led songs.
Tell us the instruments put together for the song.
Steve Hensby Band is a 9-piece band with 2 vocals, guitar, Elysia – keys and vocals, Karl – bass, Greg – drums, Laura – trumpet, Ned – trombone, Marc – alto saxophone, Dylan – tenor saxophone, and Meg – baritone saxophone.
The horns originated from the Perth-based New Orleans street band ‘Junkadelic’ who I have had the pleasure of singing on occasion.
The first album was more accordion/world/folk music-based but merged into the funk/soul sound of the last album because of the lovely horns and what I was writing. The writing process varies from song to song, I have my little ideas about horn lines, melodies, and arrangements and I’ll transcribe them on the manuscript. Then the wonderful Dylan Hooper (Tenor Sax/Horn MD/Lovely Upstanding Gentlemen) will turn them into something amazing! He has a very solid background in jazz but not only can he play any style but he can also write music in any style if ears had a ranking he would definitely be superheroes.
Greg, Marc, and Meg are multi-instrumentalists who also compose music, Laura runs the Perth Thundercorp, a roving brass band that plays at Perth sporting events, Karl is one of the most in-demand session players in town, and Ned, as well as being a great musician, is in the film industry.
Tell us your experience recording in the studio and shooting the music video.
Recording this album was one of the best experiences of my life. We tracked it at Villa Studio in Osbourne Park in Perth and it was recorded and mixed by Josh Dyson.
Josh did an incredible amount of work on this album and really heard what I was going for as an overall concept without us talking about it. The man has amazing ears. Most musicians would have to pay a huge amount of money to get that happening but I’m lucky enough to have that from a mate!
The album was mastered by Les Williams, who is Perth rock and roll mixing royalty and is great to work with.
Tell us the piece of advice you will give to a new artist planning to shoot a music video.
I think nowadays you don’t need to think about big-budget, we know mates who have shot videos on iPhones and they have looked great.
In my experience, so many young bands box themselves into what they think is right and correct when they should just go out and do it.
The main thing is planning and having a specific idea in mind and adhering to that plan, but having said that videoing a band that is smashing through a great live show works well too.
Tell us the estimate of a commercial music video based on your experience.
I’ve been lucky enough to have friends to work and collaborate with for videos, and people who are looking to hone their craft in film-making. So I wouldn’t be able to say how much something like that would cost in commercial terms.
Our next video, Naf Naf, was made by Amina Hughes, on her directorial debut. She entered a music video competition and it’s going to be aired at the upcoming Revelation Film Festival – we can’t wait for the screening!
Tell us the reason you shot a video for this song.
We wanted to show what the song was about and have a clip to promote the album. As a musician, it’s easy to say ‘why can’t people just listen to music?’ but a video is not only a laugh to shoot but gets the song out to a wider audience.
For Elysia’s song ‘Naf Naf’ we went the opposite direction to ‘Chase The Sun’ – we had the band playing in an upmarket bar in Perth and had tango dancers, circus folks, belly dancers, and other assorted treats! The two songs definitely called for different video clips.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Steve Hensby Band – I’m lucky enough to find a band already named after me! It began as a solo project; an avenue for me to explore all the different styles of music that I’m interested in, that wouldn’t have fit into my rock band. It’s now expanded into the 9-piece band that it is today.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
‘Chase The Sun’ is about focusing on being positive and optimistic.
The first line ‘trip out of bed in the morning’ means it’s easy to get bogged down with world issues and things that make you feel down, but one should try and rise above them. The modern world we live in is focused so much on social media and the negativity associated with it, I think it’s very important to be better than that. Listen to more Noel Coward, The Kinks, and Motown!
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
The album title ‘Chase The Sun’ is named after the title track, like the song, the album is full of songs about staying positive and looking on the bright side of life. I predominantly write music as a way to feel good and hopefully, the message of peace and love transpires into the albums and live shows.