A chat with Bad Pony at Red Deer Festival
Indie pop/rock takes an electrifying turn in the form of Bad Pony, a Sydney outfit who bash away on some really odd percussive bits ‘n’ pieces and have a swell time doing it. I had the chance to hang out with Jarred and Sam at Red Deer Music Festival, after the boys had raced onstage fresh off the plane with 15 minutes to spare (and delivered a killer performance). We talked live shows, jam-sessions, and BYO concoctions.
Anna: What’s your origin story?
Sam: We actually used to play in a different band together. Jarred was the drummer in that band and I played guitar, and when we’d had a few drinks we’d go up to the roof and jam. I think that was the first time I heard Jarred sing and we kind of decided one day to start doing some stuff on the side of the other band. That gained momentum a bit quicker than anything else we’d done before.
Jarred: We recorded a song and sent it around to a bunch of people, and we got asked to do a tour around high schools in 2013. At that time it was just me and Sam, we didn’t have a band together, so we just recruited a band of our best mates that could all sing and play a bunch of different instruments.
Before, we had a traditional band setup … and yeah it was good, but I just think this is a bit different and special, and it’s more fun.
Anna: It’s been a crazy year for you guys with the new EP and massive tour dates. Do you prefer recording/producing or performing, and how does that affect your sound?
Jarred: Performing, 100%. Before, we had a traditional band setup, I played acoustic guitar, we had a drummer and stuff, and yeah it was good, but I just think this is a bit different and special, and it’s more fun. Sam was a drummer growing up and I was a drummer, so we may as well use it.
Sam: We got forced into it in a way, because our drummer was a session musician and he had to leave but we kept rehearsing every week, so just to keep us in time we started putting the percussion in in little bits. Gradually over gigs and rehearsals over about six months it turned into what it is now. It wasn’t like we sat down and we were like “let’s split up the kit and you can be the top half and I’ll be the bottom half” – it didn’t happen like that. It was one drum at a time that got added. So we would do a new song and he’s like “oh I want to put cowbell in this one” so all of a sudden he’s got a cowbell in his arsenal.
Jarred: I’ve had to strip back because I keep getting stupid shit to put on my kit. I’m travelling with just an electric pad and then I’ve got all these things that don’t even have names that are just stupid.
Anna: How do you all work together as a group? Does everyone contribute something different?
Sam: The really cool thing about what we were saying before about the instrumentation is that quite often Jarred and I will write a song or write an idea and when it’s written it’s not at all how it’s played now. Usually, he’ll write a song and it’s got, like, electronic drums and him humming some shit, he’ll send it to me and I’ll write some stuff, and we’ll go into rehearsal, but because of our setup it has to be played nearly completely differently to how it’s written. So that turns into everyone adding parts and each individual getting their kind of spin on it. So the song might have a skeleton but all of a sudden we don’t have all the stuff we need so it turns into something else.
Jarred: Flesh! Everyone brings the flesh to the skeleton.
If you’re too serious it becomes labouring, whereas we’re five best mates and we’re here to have a good time.
Anna: Your live shows have been described as super energised with your interesting layering and unusual setup. What do you aim for in your live shows? What do you go on stage hoping to do?
Jarred: We do have rule number one, and [that] is to have fun. I think if we have a shitload of fun then it’s infectious. Hopefully other people have fun as well.
Sam: Yeah, we’ve always said that in all the bands we’ve ever been in, we’d start the show and all get together and say “no matter what happens, we’ve got to come off the stage with smiles”. I know that sounds kind of corny, but we always do that and I think when we get on there, we want to have fun and we want other people to have fun too.
Jarred: If you’re too serious it becomes labouring, whereas we’re five best mates and we’re here to have a good time. The one reason we’re doing music is because we love it and it’s fun.
Sam: There’s a time to be serious and that’s in rehearsal. I’m the rehearsal nazi.
Jarred: You suck in rehearsal.
Sam: Yeah, I don’t do funny in rehearsal.
Jarred: Do you do funny ever?
Anna: What’s on the horizon?
Jarred: This the first date of we say a 14-day tour, but it’s gonna be more dates so for the rest of the year we’re pretty flat out playing, and then next year we’ve got a couple more singles pretty much ready so we’ll get straight back into it.
Sam: A lot of the music on the current EP was written over the last two years. It has gradually come together but in recent times we’ve probably written another four or five songs that are sitting there that we’re waiting to do as well.
Jarred: For us, it’s really exciting to have something out but I think it’s even more exciting that we’re ready to put something else out really quickly afterwards. We just want to keep playing. We just want to play wherever we can, whenever we can. Wherever will take us, we’ll play there!
Anna: What are your Red Deer BYO drinks of choice?
Sam: I want to try and concoct a long island iced tea out of people’s drinks. It’s gonna include UDL, and Jack Daniels and beer.
Jarred: No Jack Daniels, we’re out.