Brisbane five-piece indie rock outfit, Ball Park Music sure know a thing or two about being in a ‘Good Mood’. 2018 has seen the release of their fifth studio album, their single, ‘Exactly How You Are’, ranking in at number 18 in triple j’s Hottest 100, a sell out national tour, festival appearances at Splendour in the Grass and a headline spot for Groovin’ the Moo, their single ‘Hands Off My Body’ being added to the Travis Scott curated NBA playlist, and now the announcement of their national co-headline tour with Aussie favourites San Cisco.
Since hitting the music scene in 2008, Australia has fallen in love with the quirky ensemble made up of Sam Cromack, Jennifer Boyce, Paul Furness, Dean Hanson and Daniel Hanson, but the release of ‘Good Mood’ has plunged Ball Park Music into a whole new playing field with rave reviews from critics and fans.
“This album we’re really proud of. We had a really good time making it and, I’m hesitant to say something is the best, but I feel like this album is a particularly strong one and I feel like it captures what we have been trying to get across the last couple of years. I feel like we’ve not always landed what we’re trying to do and I just feel really proud of this album and all that’s been communicated,” says frontman, Sam Cromack.
What makes ‘Good Mood’ a stand out from the albums before it is not just the way the band explores use of different sounds and production. It stems from a little piece of advice that Anna Stern gave Seth Cohen, and all adolescent teens, back in 2003 – Confidence Cohen!
“The biggest thing we tried to incorporate in this new record was just confidence. We are quite anxious people. We worry and we over think things and we tried quite hard going into this album- not to be arrogant – but to have that bit of confidence and enjoy what we were doing and back ourselves a bit more, and it think that really translated in making the album.”
The new tracks have made quite the impression on audiences, becoming crowd pleasers both on festival circuits and on the ‘Exactly How You Are’ tour with five songs being incorporated into set lists amongst classics like ‘Surrender’, ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, and ‘Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You’. As for the San Cisco co-headline tour which is hitting up 11 major towns and cities including Ballarat from September 7, crowds can expect a range of old and new material, revisiting “stuff that [they’ve] either not played for a while or hardly ever played it at all”.
“There’s a little bit of talk about us covering a San Cisco song and trying to persuade them to cover one of ours, doing a bit of a song swap,” Cromack laughs.
The coming together of two of Australia’s biggest bands and all round favourites is heaven for indie rock lovers. Ball Park Music and San Cisco emerged on the music scene around the same time, both with catalogues of uplifting anthems and similar band make ups. A co-headline tour seemed like a no-brainer.
“We sort of floated the idea with other bands we’ve known over the years and people are always interested but it just never happened. When we hit up San Cisco I thought the same thing would happen but they were keen and I still remember I had this feeling in my gut like ‘This is going to be amazing!’,” Cromack recalls. Of the Fremantle four-piece he says, “They’re lovely. We’ve hung out with them a bunch of times and looking forward to actually getting to know them better over this tour.”
Tagging along for the ride is ‘P Plate’ songstress, Ruby Fields.
“She’s amazing- doing so well at the moment! She’s going to slot in perfectly. I’m excited to meet her. Jen met her the other week and said that Ruby is a legend. It’s going to be good vibes,” Cromack boasts.
This tour is shaping up to be the bands biggest tour to date. As expected ticket sales are flying with Adelaide already sold out with Sydney close behind, and production will be taken up a notch with no punter safe from being showered in confetti during the euphoric set moments. But the shift into the bigger spaces leaves Cromack with a bigger worry.
“All throughout out career we’re been on this slow trajectory of growing which is great, it’s more than I could ever ask for, and with every tour we step up into bigger rooms or more dates or whatever and I guess a bit of a worry wart, but I’m always going ‘oh f**k, I don’t know if we can fill this room or the ticket price is too high’…Maybe I’m just trying to be humble or something but I’m always terrified that we’re not going to sell any tickets.”
Quite the opposite. Being the only regional Victorian show on the tour, Ballarat’s City Oval show on October 20 is selling out fast.
“Ballarat is a funny place- it’s really cold, it chills you to your bones. I can’t describe it. It feels different to Geelong and Melbourne. But I like the culture in Ballarat! It seems to have a nice focus on the arts, and that music is a priority in the town. It’s always rubbed me the right way!”
For those in other regional cities who can’t make the tour, Ball Park Music will be back next year for an extended regional tour, with some ambition to head overseas to America as well.
“In the first half of next year we’ll look at doing a seriously big regional run and that will cap off the touring for this album.” Cromack says.
2018 has been huge, 2019 is set to be bigger. In the next two years Ball Park Music will be on par with Vampire Weekend- we’re calling it!
“I have a tendency to feel like it’s all over red rover but if people still give a f**k we still have heaps of fuel in the tank!”
Perhaps another spoonful of confidence is needed, because we sure have tonnes of f**ks to give!
When & Where: City Oval, Ballarat – Saturday October 20.
Tickets via ballparkmusic.com & sancisco.com
Written by Tammy Walters