Photography by Kieran Webber

We sat down with Australian outfit King Stingray post show at Australia House during SXSW to chat new music, life in Aus and much more

It was a wet yet humid day in Austin, Texas the day we spoke to King Stingray at Australia House. After having our ears tickled and hearts opened to their music we were eager to chat to them post show, so we grabbed them for a five minute chinwag.

Kieran: Long flight over from Australia to be here at SXSW, not to strenuous I hope? 

Roy: Yeah was a long one! Though we’re kind used to it as the boys (Yirrna, Yimila) live super remote back home, so travelling anywhere is a full day of travel. We’ve just come off the back of a bigun of tours across Australia too. I think we’re getting used to it, we’re getting better. 

Kieran: Is it a bit of a shock when you leave those remote areas and see large cities and that? 

Yirrna: Well we wanted this life ya know? We want to share something from here we come from, our culture. Bring that out front the land itself to a people who don’t know about the First Nations in Australia. However, it is a completely different style of living. It’s a big thing to leave home but it always feels good to come back. 

Kieran: So how did you all meet? 

Roy: We all grew up together and we’d spoken about making music together so we went to the studio, actually no, we recorded in my dads shed. Then those tracks became the singles which are on the record that’s out now. We hadn’t even played  gig yet but we got asked to support The Chats, an Australian punk band. From there we haven’t looked back and I knew they’d be such awesome people to be in a band with. In such a short period of time it feels like a close family. 

Kieran: What sort of music infuenced King Stingray and is the sound you produce a conscious thing or did it form naturally? 

Roy: I think we’re very intent with our message. There’s a strong traditional part of our music. We were inspired by Dima’s grandfather who was in a popular desert rock band from the bush called Warumpi Band. Of course there are a lot of modern Aussie bands we take influence from as well. We take influence from all over though really, our drummer Lewis played drums int he church, Campbell (bassist) is a beautiful fingerpicker and folk artist in his own right. So, we have a lot influences that when we come together is a Yolŋu surf rock sound. 

Kieran: It feels like Australia is in the midst of a psychedelic rock boom (yourselves included) so there must be a lot to take influence from?

Roy: Yeah, there really is. You’ve got bands like King Gizzard and Pond. There’s so much influence  even in terms of tones and that. 

Kieran: What’s next for King Stingray after SXSW? 

Roy: Well, we have shows in Australia, including some big festivals. We’re also doing a national tour off the back of some music we’re about to put out. The next record is also in the works and we’ve been in the studio before we came out here. It’s sounding really awesome. So, we put our first record out last year and we’re feeling so inspired by our music that we couldn’t wait to get back in the studio and keep jamming. 

Listen/watch ‘Down Under (Under One Sun)’ here:

Kieran: Can you talk us through your recording processes? 

Roy: It kind of varies really. It sometimes starts off with Dima having a riff on the guitar and that will develop into an idea or concept. All of our songs have a narrative they’re not just nonsense, it’s a Yolŋu story most of the time. It’s a worldly story about Yolŋu culture and life, which is something that all humans can feel. It’s about a love for a home or a feeling for home, which I think is really relatable. 

We like to add our King Stingray flavour, bringing all our elements together and mixing it all up. 

Kieran: How would you describe the new album in three words? 

Roy: Fresh, catchy, powerful.