On a wet and wintery day I convene with the three Blind Men, within the sanctuary of a listless Mr Bun. They are wise to refuse the scalding coffee. Though they shake off the description of mature, Daniel Burmester and his bandmates are certainly more reserved and confident in the steps they regularly take than your typical upstart act.
Asked for some particularly wild or outrageous anecdotes from a performance, they struggle to get further than the time they wrote off two cars in one night – neither necessarily their fault.
“We’ve been doing this for a while now so we see less of all the funny things that used to happen at shows,” explains bassist Graeme Cummack.
“We’re more rehearsed at getting stuff done, and at the live act as a whole,” adds guitar playing front man Daniel. “You get better at checking the things that usually go wrong.”
Not to suggest that stuff is routine and dull. In fact, regular practices have only been occurring over the past few months – when according to Daniel the band actually got started in 2009 or 2010. Before they would practice in parking lots on the night of a show, now they usually get together on a Monday night.
“That’s our boys night.”
He sees this as a result of organically gained momentum.
“The more we do it, the more we want to do it. Every time we do something, we learn from it and we think, ‘Hey, we should do another one.’”
As a result, the songwriting process has become more refined. Where Daniel originally introduced his solo creations in their sporadic get-togethers, these days the guys have the democracy to bring original riffs to the plate for a collaborative effort, which in itself impacts on their appreciation of each other’s work.
They all cite The Gamble as a favourite off the new album.
“It starts slow and mellow and then it builds in to a strong structure, and then it dips back down before final chaos, which is a nice trip for the song to take,” describes Daniel.
“I like the story and I like playing it live. It kind of feels like you’re on the edge of your seat,” Graeme adds.
In a live setting, audiences are beset with foot-tapping Mumford and Sons-style banjo plucking. The recorded material “…goes a lot more places, there’s a lot more songs that are reflective or interesting,” according to drummer Tom McGraph.
“We’ve just always played upbeat stuff live,” says Daniel. “It’s good fun to do. I guess all those mellower songs are good to listen to when you know them, or in a situation where you’re on the bus or at home, whereas maybe for the average person coming to see us, who may not even know us, the uplifting stuff is easier. They want to dance.”
The band will release their, ’Alright, Goodnight’ album in Wellington late April, followed by a succession of North Island dates.