First up can you give our readers a little intro to the band and your music?
Santa Fe Driving Range are a brand spanking new act comprising of a few friends that have played together for a long, long time, with a couple of fresh faces thrown in the mix! The band is a new brand of music for the lot of us, a much more laid back, wholesome vibe that gets strummed out plain and simple right in front of you. We’re originally from around the Surfcoast, with a singular outlier hailing from Shep, now residing in Northern burbs of Melbourne.
You’ve dropped your debut single ‘Careless Hands’, tell us a bit about the track. How did this one come about?
I [Ben Wade] wrote a majority of the track while I was living over in the Netherlands a couple of years ago. Up until going over there I’d been gigging and playing so regularly that when I hopped off the plane, I suddenly had all this free time; no gigs, no rehearsals, just a lot of free time. It was a great change to start with, but I missed it quite a bit. I got myself a crummy nylon string guitar for a few bucks and started writing songs with no exact plan or genre in mind. When I came back home, a lot of stuff changed for me and this song just happened to fit all that was happening best. The new band formed around it and away we went!
With recording by Zac Barter (Didirri, Canary, Life Is Better Blonde) and flawless production by the highly regarded Steve Schram (San Cisco, Tiny Little Houses, Paul Kelly), how was it working with these greats in the music industry?
It’s funny that Zac is quite renowned like that. He’s been a music teacher for most of us since early high school days and always been super modest about the amazing work he’s done. It’s quite odd, when we go into to lay down tracks with Zac, it’s still like going into a music lesson; we all just sit around asking him how the hell do we make these instruments sound alright?!
Steve is a very handy guy to work with too, his resume speaks for itself. It really gives you a lot of confidence to just let it go and trust them with what they do.
Is there an upcoming album in the works, or is this all very early days?
We’ve got a decent plan for the year ahead, a couple more singles to come in the next few months. We’ll see how many tracks we’ve got together by the end of the year and work out whether we can call it an EP or an album.
You guys have nabbed a slot at the upcoming By The Meadow festival. How do you find the festival gigs compared to the more intimate ones, do you have a preference for your sound?
Yes! We’re super excited to be thrown in amongst what I’d say is one of the best Australian festival lineups I’ve ever seen in a very long time. So many acts on there are killing it at the moment and to be included in that is huge. We have never taken this music to a festival stage, so that’s all new for one, but it’s been well received in the venues played so far, so we’re very excited to see how it goes. In our previous experience, we’ve found that festival stages tend to really show everything and anything in your music, be it good or bad. We’ve been really putting in the hours to make sure this stuff is really polished for a brand-new crowd of people that will have never even heard of us!
The summer saw you guys land a support slot for Fraser A. Gorman; a primary inspiration for you in the song writing process. What about Gorman’s work inspires the band?
Fraser is an amazing songwriter and story teller, and is one of the first acts that I really got into a few years ago that can really slow things up and bring it right down, while increasing the level of interest. My music and a lot of the stuff I listened to prior was just so fast paced; grabbing your attention by just being in your face and driving hard. So yeah, really it was just the tempo, the way in which you can bring it right back without making it boring or ‘slow’.
It was funny that after working on this so much with a lot drawn from Fraser’s music, that a support slot for him ended up being our debut gig. Completely incidental and perfect at the same time.
Quick one on the name – an ode to a love of golf or?
Think I need to pick up my short game before I can declare any love for the sport, but we dabble on the fairways.
What’s next for Santa Fe Driving Range?
By The Meadow
Single Launch with KILNS, Eaglemont and Quivers at Grace Darling on the 27th of April at Grace Darling (deets to come on Facebook)
A few regional shows. Geelong. Ballarat.
Catch Sante Fe Driving Range at By The Meadow when it goes down March 29-31 in Bambra (90-minutes South-West of Melbourne). Tickets at www.bythemeadow.com