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NGV Friday Nights: Interview with John Busby & John Willsteed from Halfway

We interview John Busby & John Willsteed from Halfway, who will be headlining NGV Friday Nights at NGV International on 29 July 2016.

Describe your sound in 5 words or less?
John Busby: The sound of commitment.
John Willsteed:  Sound of the darkening sky

If your music was an artwork what would it look like?
JB: A Rothko
JW: Blue Poles

What’s your favourite gig you have played to date?
JB: Our launch at the triffid was special. As was our show at the basement in Nashville.
JW: NGV, under the Leonard French stained glass

What inspires/influences your music the most?
JB: Bob Dylan made a record in the late 1989 called ‘oh mercy’ at the time I wasn’t sure he had another great record in him. Boy was I wrong. From nothing he created a masterpiece & we have referred to it constantly as a band & used it as a watermark. Produced by Daniel Lanois
JW: Every song we ever heard and loved. And getting together a lot.

What song do you wish you wrote?
JB: Suedehead by Morrissey. It doesn’t make a lot of sense musically & the arrangement is odd. But it’s beautiful & hard to understand. I love it.
JW: It Makes No Difference – The Band

What part of making music excites you the most?
JB: Writing songs with the halfway. When we are at the halfway house together working on new songs & the band in full flight it is tremendous. The band is a big machine & I love them.
JW: Taking the small idea and giving it shape. Inventing while recording is good too.

What can someone expect from your live show?
JB: 8 people doing their best to serve the songs. A wall of sound. It’s what we do.
JW: Intensity. There is a lot to listen to. Both quiet AND loud.

Tell us about the last song or album you created?
JB: Our last album is called ‘the golden halfway record’. We recorded it with Mark Nevers in Nashville…It deals with the past, present & future in a way that isn’t nostalgic. It’s about change in tiny increments. We like it a lot.
JW: The Golden Halfway Record: All the bits add up to something beautiful. We are always both certain of the songs but amazed that we actually make them.

Degas: A New Vision showcases works by Edgar Degas that reveal how the artist observed the world around him. How do you feel your music reflects life today?
JB: Our songs certainly observe our world. Especially the day to day stuff. It’s our job to document it.
JW: We observe the tides around us; the past is always here.

What are you working on now?
JB: At the moment we are mostly just rehearsing the live set. But we have a bunch of new songs we are working on and next year we have a project with indigenous elder Bobby Weatherall. Which we are really looking forward to.
JW: An album with Bob Weatherall.  A Restless Dream is about Aboriginal remains that are scattered around the world, and returning them to country, to rest.