Spiralling with Grievous Bodily Calm
Returning with their highly anticipated first new single in over two years, we catch up with the West Aussie instrumental wizards
Image credit: Nick Fitzpatrick
Two and a half years on from their awesome Arc EP (that they told us all about here), Boorloo/Perth’s premium purveyors of instrumental, jazzy, funked out beat-driven music Grievous Bodily Calm (GBC) are back and more wild than ever with their new single, Spirals.
While we may not have had new recorded music from the five piece, that’s not to say the group haven’t been as busy as usual, being a constant fixture in venues and on festival lineups around the country. Recent GBC highlights include playing the Sydney Opera House and BIGSOUND in late 2022, while more recently playing a sold out Perth Festival show with 30/70 (that we got the bands to chat to each other about here).
The first single from their forthcoming EP set for an August release on the band’s own Thought Tapes label, Spirals is a lush, layered affair that showcases the group’s individual talents as instrumentalists while being greater than the sum of its parts. In a time where every second song is described as “genre-blurring” or something similar, GBC truly does encapsulate this by crafting addictive, instrumental music that defies classification, with Spirals taking this to the next level.
With Spirals out today, we caught up with GBC to find out all about it, everything they’ve been up to lately as well as what’s on the horizon!
Where did the name Spirals come from?
The music spirals inwards towards a compositional crux and expands back out. Throughout the sections, synths swirl concentrically and weave throughout the form. The title also reflects the compositional process for this song, a persistent carving around a sonic ideal that only took shape the more we carved around it.
Spirals sounds like a natural evolution of the GBC sound we’ve come to know and love - how did this one come together?
Josiah wrote the demo which had the main melody of the tune. It probably came together over around six months to a year - we were having some trouble finding other parts and a workable structure. A key breakthrough was some programming Josiah did with an old sequencer allowing for new pathways. This is also the first time we’ve recorded in a professional studio. As well as more sonic possibilities, we were afforded the opportunity to explore a variety of recording techniques.
How was your sold out Perth Fest show with 30/70?
That was a really exceptional show. It had the feel of a smaller show but on a bigger stage with everyone packed in and providing us with so much energy. 30/70 killed it and it was a pleasure to play a show with them - something we’ve hoped to do for a long time. It was super special to have Great Statue on board too. Annika is a huge inspiration for us, and we long to see more people exposed to their music
So cool you’re supporting Black Midi, how do you guys feel about that coming up?
That’s going to be a good one. We can’t wait to check them out. We love playing to new audiences and feel there may be some crossover with the prog fans. We’re basically a prog band at the end of the day.
What can you tell us about your label Thought Tapes?
Thought Tapes will be a means for us to release our music under one label. We have wider plans for this too, down the track.
You’ve got another residency coming up at The Bird in April, how do you approach recurring gigs like that?
We absolutely love playing at The Bird. We went a year or so not playing there and it felt pretty strange. We like to use the residency as an opportunity to play new music and delve into our back catalogue. It forces us to think of different sets as well as new ways to play old material. We also love to curate the shows with our favorite artists in town.
What else is coming up for GBC in 2023?
We’ll be releasing a body of music which Spirals is an integral part of. We’re really excited to have this music out as the band feel it’s the most representative effort of our sound on record. We’ll be looking to tour more of Australia and put on some hometown shows too.
How can people best support your art?
We are completely stoked by people just listening to our music or caring in any way. Outside of that, buying our music/merch, following us on social media and sharing our music, coming to live shows and having a chat with us are all welcome ways for people to support us.
What have you been listening to lately?
Collectively probably the biggest influence on us as a band over the last 6 months have been Big Thief. Their catalogue is incredible - perfect songwriting, playing and conveying of emotion. They often play their songs live in new and exciting ways, which we really value as a band - taking risks, allowing the music to stay alive and vibrant - this has really helped us reflect on our own live shows and how we present our music. Everyone’s been listening to Bjork too - pre and post her incredible Perth Festival shows. These shows affected us on a profound level. Off the top of our heads also Keith Jarrett, Glenn Gould, Sza, Wayne Shorter and Car Bomb. We all listen to a very diverse range of music and draw inspiration from new and old music constantly.