Open your windows, call your mates, stretch your feet, and cancel your plans… The Southern River Band are here

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Open your windows, call your mates, stretch your feet, and cancel your plans… The Southern River Band are here

After a month of hibernation in RADA Studios in Perth working away on their second album and a support run with US rockers Radio Moscow on their Australian tour, The Southern River Band are hitting the road again in July and August to promote their upcoming single releases ‘Vice City’ and ‘Chimney’. We chat to lead singer and guitarist Cal Kramer ahead of the tour.
Hey Cal, thanks for chatting! You guys are absolutely killin’ it in the music scene at the moment, but you didn’t start off all that long ago… How did you get into the music world?
My parents used to have jam nights at our house where we’d have all these musicians come round and jam in our front room; my parents are both musical and mum actually plays in our band whenever we play in Perth! At the age of 10 or 11, I’d learnt how to play drums so I’d sit on the kit and play with all these people. A band from Perth came and played and they were called Blue Shaddy and they’d been playing Australia for years. I ended up joining that band when I was 18 and I started touring with them for about seven years until I knew I had to do my own thing. I started the band with a bunch of mates from around here, who I’d played with in past times and our original guitarist, Jake, who I’d known since I was five… That was 2015 actually, we started playing at the local pubs where they’d never had bands before, and we were playing covers and originals. That was there years ago and now I’m talking to you.
So you started playing drums, how did it come about that you became front man?
It was just organic. I’d always played guitar and it got to a point where the Shaddy’s were about 50 and they were pushing me to do my own thing… So I started writing songs. The best way to put it is, I’ve done an apprenticeship and they said if you want to do this you have to do this. I never had any aspirations to be a front man; I just like being in a band and being on a team. This is what I was going to do and I made a vow to myself to not be one of these contrived dickheads… and it turned out pretty well.
The name, The Southern River Band, is this derived from an aspect of your growing up in WA?
The Southern River runs through Thornlie, and that’s down here. When I was a kid my granddad used to take me down there with his dog Max, and we’d go down the river and catch Tadpoles so that’s sort of where it comes from. I’m a massive Lynyrd Skynyrd fan as well, and I thought the word ‘Southern’ was pretty cool, and that became The Southern River band.
I recall seeing you guys play at Boogie Fest and you could see that you all make sure everyone was involved and having a good time. Is that something you’re always thinking of as a band?
Always. In that moment, everybody’s there because they want to be there. People are taking their time out of their work, or week, or whatever they do, and then at that moment it’s everyone’s escape. It’s our escape when we’re on stage and we want everybody, I mean everybody, there to have the best time possible. Our whole thing is, just don’t be a fuckin’ dickhead to anybody and let everybody have the best time as humanely possible.
Your latest single ‘Cigarettes (Ain’t Helping Me None)’ is a track that would tune with the masses. What can listeners expect to come, is there new songs on the horizon?
The two new ones ‘Vice City’ and ‘Chimney’ and they’re pretty hectic. There’s heaps of shit going on, I don’t even really know how to describe them, they’re up and going that’s for sure. We’re so bloody excited to get them out. We’ve been working on them for a while… We were lucky enough to have a legend of a producer over here (Dan Carroll, from Artist studios) who actually plays guitar. We actually had our record producer come and play guitar at shows with us and it was bloody awesome – and that’s another cool thing about the new songs; because of the connections we’ve made, and meeting like minded people, everything just goes up a gear because you’ve got another person in their just striving to get this shit as good as it can possibly be. It’s been full pelt, but that’s the best way to do it.
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – July 26 & Karova Lounge, Ballarat – July 27.
All tickets available from
Written by Aine Keogh