When Ball Park Music met at University in Brisbane, Myspace was still a thing. That’s how long it’s been. Dean Hanson doesn’t think the band has changed much since then. It’s hard to notice any change when you spend as much time together as Ball Park Music do. Even when they’re not performing, they’re together every day, “playing squash, golf, drinking beers, eating smashed avo. It’s like we can’t get enough of each other,” Hanson says.
They’ll have plenty more time to spend together soon enough when they hit the road for the GOOD MOOD regional tour of Australia in May, criss-crossing the country over 21 tour dates.
But why do small shows now? Ten years after the band formed. Australia is their market, “We’ve never had too much success overseas… never tried to push things to seem like they’re bigger than they are”, Hanson tells us.
Somehow, this defeatism has carried them for the better part of a decade.
Hanson gets disconcerted describing seeing young acts like Skeggs perform, “I’m looking at them and wondering, kind of, if we’ll ever be like influential or if anyone will ever care, you know. It’s bizarre cos’ then you get up on stage and perform and you realise ‘oh shit I’ve been doing this for ten years and people do care’. They’re not showing up because they just so happen to be there.”
And he’s right. But Ball Park Music have, in a way, stopped themselves from achieving crossover success. We’re talking about the Soundcloud rabbit hole that Sam Cromack found himself in while writing GOOD MOOD when the topic of auto-tune and distortion comes up.
“It must’ve been eight, nearly nine years ago, Sam recorded a weird little EP for a side project and he was using lots of auto-tune on the vocals”.
To fans’ surprise, it’s a sonic signature that the band has tinkered with for years. “There’s some really strange demo’s floating around on our studio computer.”
Hanson admits that rap is on heavy rotation for all them, sometimes seeping into sessions. Don’t expect any Soundcloud anthems from the group though. They toyed with a demo just recently, an indie track laid with heavy vocal distortion. It sounded pretty good to them. “We were joking, saying ‘oh yeah this sounds really good and all the kids would love it so we better not do it.’ Like Jesus, you sort of feel a bit bound sometimes.”
There is a sense of freedom in the band’s visual output though; Cromack and himself collaborate on most of the merch and posters. Hanson also shot the cover of GOOD MOOD, as well as most of the band’s press photos – it’s one way to save money and avoid awkward photoshoots.
Asked if he’d like to create a cover again, Hanson is hopeful, “Maybe we’ll put ourselves on the front cover of the next one or something. Need to be confident enough”.
It might just be the thing they need to break free from the apathy, doing the thing they feel most comfortable doing; hanging out together.
Catch Ball Park Music at Costa Hall, Geelong on June 15. All other dates for the GOOD MOOD Tour at ballparkmusic.com
Written by Darby-Perrin Larner