2023 is here and our live music calendar is filling up nicely. A new addition to that schedule is the annual Surf Coast festival, Meadow, back for its ninth year running.
The wholesome weekend of Friday 31 March until Sunday 2 April will see Meadow’s homestay Bambra Bowl explode with a charming lineup of musical talent including Melbourne indie pop devoters, Big Scary.
Coming off the back of their first headline tour since 2013, Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme, who make up Big Scary, are stoked to join the festival.
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“I’ve never been so I can’t wait! I love one-stage festivals and I love that they knew how to grow organically. They did it the right way where they built from a community and it has more longevity that way,” explains Syme.
“One of the fun things about touring again is buddying up with other muso’s which is what I love about festivals. Just hanging out with other bands, making those friendships, and seeing other bands play.”
The festival will see Syme reunite with many familiar faces including longtime friend Jen Cloher, Red Link Cup footy teammate Cash Savage and fellow festival fronter, Kurt Vile.
“It’s funny – I actually ran into Kurt at the Nick Cave, Courtney Barnett, Warren Ellis Hanging Rock gig the other night and I felt like such an idiot because I reintroduced myself to Kurt – because he is so famous, I couldn’t actually remember if I met him and he was like “oh yeah, we hung out in Tasmania at Panama Festival” and I was like “oh yeah!”,” she laughs.
Big Scary will further make a headline appearance at Castlemaine Town Folk, leading Phoebe Go, Folk Bitch Trio, Jade Imagine, The Maes, Maple Glider and a stellar Victorian lineup across The Bridge Hotel, Shedshaker Brewery and Boomtown Winery.
All of these live performances come after a mammoth two years of album releases and award recognition. This year saw the Big Scary duo release Me and You, a juxtaposing album to the 2021 AIR Award-winning Best Independent Pop Album or EP, Daisy, both having received warm reception across their live shows.
“I think that you can compare the songs on Me and You to Daisy, with Daisy being the more dramatic, fun, and silly album, and Me and You being the more earnest and romantic album. I think both work really well but people were particularly moved by the Me and You songs and I got such great feedback, quite emotional feedback from it. It’s awesome because you’ve created true emotion,” Syme says.
“We’re going to be doing other things in our lives, always, but it has been really nice reconnecting with that part of what we do and getting to talk to fans and remembering that I’m a musician,” she laughs.“I forgot how moving live music is and when you get to feel that again it’s awesome!”
Even with their contrasting nature, there was crossover within the two album writing periods with both Daisy and Me and You written in Phillip Island in 2019, removed from their normal lives of new family commitments and burrowing into the creative process.
“They were all written at the same time and we didn’t know what they were going to be released as and, kind of always with Big Scary albums, we have this issue of how do we make sense of all of the genres that come through. We made different permutations of what would fit together and this is what we fell upon.”
With 2023 beginning to take shape for the Iansek/Syme collective, there are still a few uncertainties around Big Scary’s form.
“It will be an interesting one because Tom actually wants to relocate to London – which doesn’t mean the end of Big Scary – that’s just normal. We’ll do things when we can. We do have another album we want to finish but I just don’t know if that will be next year or in the future. We might play a show in London. I don’t know! There’s a lot of question marks.”
She adds, “It is actually the tenth anniversary of Not Art, an album of ours that has probably made the most connection to the most people. It might be nice to highlight that in some ways.”