The Updraft Imperative
THIS year I am keen to revisit some of my favourite acts: Check in with them and see what lies ahead for them. The Updraft Imperative came to my attention following the release of their album, Chair. The last year has seen them perform across Australia; interviews across international radio- they seem unstoppable. With rumours of a potential album (this year) and a line-up change- their original drummer Pete left the band- it has certainly shown challenges among the triumph. Excited to catch up with the Christian-Rock band, here's how it went down...
Hi guys. I hope you are well. How was your Christmas and New Year?
Danny: Great! My wife and I drove the campervan up to Yeppoon and back.
Iain: Doing pretty good. Christmas and New Year was great. Spent Christmas with some extended family up in Kandanga. Went and watched a mates band play on New Year’s Eve, then went and watched the fireworks at Southbank.
Murray: I enjoyed some quality family time and went dancing on New Year’s Eve – confirming once again that I can’t waltz. I apologise once again to my wife who tried to teach me!
Josh: Had an interesting Christmas and New Year this year. There was some great times spent with friends and family, but some sad circumstances mixed with some friends also. In some ways a welcome farewell to 2015. Looking forward to a new year of….well, whatever it brings.
You have two new members to your ranks (Iain and Danny). How are you guys settling in?
Danny: Really well: Still learning all the songs and whatnot but it's pretty easy. Everyone's getting along.
Iain: Yeah settling in fine. This is actually my second stint with the band so it's been like slipping back into an old pair of trousers for me. Hahaha.
Murray: As a founding member (A.K.A. elder statesman) of T.U.I., we are all very comfortable with our roles.
Josh: These guys rock!!
Last year was a busy and transformative one for the band. What were the highs and lows for 2015?
Danny: In my (so far) short time with the band; playing the carols out at Mount Mee was a decent highlight.
Iain: One of the highs from last year was playing at Moo-fest up at Mooloola.
Murray: So many highs! There’s a blog on our website mentioning a few of them. For me personally, the amount of radio play our music has received; the recording of new singles and the diversity and number of gigs we have played. Lows: Pete leaving T.U.I. was probably the lowest point of the year but Danny and Iain joining rounded the year off on a high.
Josh: A big highlight for me was finding out we had the funds and support to record some more music. I would say Pete’s announcement to leave was a low point; however one door shut and another opens (...or another 2 open in our case).
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In terms of the year ahead: can we expect a new album down the line?
Danny: There's a fair chance of that: We're gonna try get together and write some new stuff soon.
Iain: I do believe there are plans in the pipeline for a new album.
Murray: My studio is ready and waiting for a band writing weekend…coming soon!!
Josh: We are excited to see how our music merges and develops with the influence brought by Iain and Danny, and yes, we will be sharing it with the world.
With your band undergoing a slight personnel change: Does this mean your sound will change or will it remain the same?
Iain: There have been murmurs about a bit of change in our sound- to a rockier, edgy kind of sound.
Danny: We've been talking about going in a more Rock direction, but we'll see what happens.
Murray: We all bring very different life experiences to the band. Putting both those experiences and diverse musical influences together it’s a given that a new line-up will equal a new sound.
Josh: I think there will be some changes. I don’t think it’ll be too dramatic, but feel like it’ll shake things up a bit.
In terms of the band’s history, what has stood as the proudest moment to date?
Murray: For me, it was driving along with the family in the car and hearing our son One Life being played on 96Five…then going on to have that song (and many others) played on stations across the world.
Josh: It’s hard to pin-point a particular moment. I felt really proud when someone from the other side of the world felt like our music was worth the time and effort to sacrifice a significant amount of their life to it/us.
Being a Christian-Rock band; do you find it is a genre that should be pushed to the mainstream more?
Murray: Short answer? No! I know we are Christians, but our sound isn’t a typically Christian band sound- therefore if we pushed it more as Christian-Rock then we would risk pigeon-holing ourselves into a genre that doesn’t represent us. As a sideline: I’m still not 100% sure what to define our sound as – even after all these years!
Josh: If you’re talking about a genre of music, then I’m not sure. If you mean: “Do you think the message of Christ (and the stories of our lives) should be shared with as many people as possible?”, then absolutely.
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In terms of your influences and idols; who has been particularly important to you growing up?
Murray: Early in my life, the likes of Bread, America, Cat Stevens and the like filled my ears. Later it would be Petra, Led Zep., Jeff Buckley, R.H.C.P. (Red Hot Chili Peppers), R.A.T.M. (Rage Against the Machine- when did you want me to stop....?!)
Iain: A few major influences on me that have helped shaped my style of bass playing are: John Entwistle (The Who), Jack Bruce (Cream); John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
Josh: Queen, Petra, Michael Card; Rob Thomas, Jason Mraz, Josh Groban…..
Chair is an album still being talked-about and celebrated. Why do you think it resonates so much with people?
Danny: In my opinion (sound-wise) it has a pretty accessible sound and uplifting lyrics throughout.
Murray: Because of its honesty and clarity. Great music; lyrics that actually say something worth listening to – and hectic guitar riffs!
Josh: Not 100% sure. I think one is we were trying to fit into a particular genre. That has its risks I suppose, but maybe it allowed the album to connect on different levels- and I would hope that the message of the songs was encouraging or challenging.
Brisbane has produced some great bands- including Powderfinger, Sheppard and The Saints. With areas like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth gaining musical attention; do you think Brisbane is an underrated area of music?
Danny: I don't think Brisbane is underrated at all; there are plenty of quality bands here. People just need to get out and go see ‘em.
Iain: Like Danny, I don't think Brisbane is underrated in the area of music. The numerous amount of times that I've gone out and gigged in Brisbane: I've witnessed plenty of other talented bands.
With the world becoming less sure and more fearful: Do you think Christian-Rock’s messages- hope and togetherness- are more relevant than ever?
Danny: Any message that speaks of hope and positivity is relevant in this day and age.
Murray: We live in a world where hope is a diminished commodity. Simply because you cannot put a price on it, that's why it's priceless! We bring a sense of hope- that we are simply not alone in this world- that we are not just a random accident with no real future outside of that which we see here before we die.
People around the world are connecting with the message and feeling of hope in our music. We aren't backward in letting our Christian beliefs come through in our music. So the biggest thing, in both lyrics and music, is accurately plugging into the hope people need to hear!
Josh: The Christian message has always been relevant. I suppose when we see the uncertainty and fear in our world; maybe it just highlights the fact that we need hope and purpose. We have hope in who God is and what he has done. It’s not just hope for the sake of hope.
A question for Iain and Danny here: What was your music background prior to joining The Updraft Imperative?
Danny: Iain and I were in a Rock band together prior to T.U.I. Other than that, I played in church for years.
Iain: Danny and I were the rhythm section in another band called Maiden May which sadly disintegrated at the end of July 2015. Here we are both reunited in The Updraft Imperative
What advice would you give to any similar bands following your footsteps?
Danny: Work hard and make sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.
Iain: Work hard, work together and aim for the same goals.
Murray: Set your sights high...and low. High for quality of sound and songs and low for the groundwork needed to be done to bring these to punters. Know your audience, and work on getting a core group of supporters from that audience. Know your strengths and maximise them. Isolate your weaknesses and put them in the back room! ALWAYS be true to yourself and your band-mates- no matter what the apparent benefits are to you of being otherwise.
Josh: Yes, I agree to have goals and work towards them is essential. Encourage each other as mates and musicians. We’ve been blessed to have a tireless promotions manager to help with leg work and someone who believes in us as a band. Get one of those :)
Finally- and for being a good egg- you can name any song you like; I’ll play it here…
Iain: Oooooh, there's so many songs to choose from, but one song I've been really getting into lately is In Any Tongue from David Gilmour's latest album Rattle That Lock.
Murray: Being fairly topical here: I’m going for David Bowie, Let’s Dance.
Danny: Bumblebee by Kasabian
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