BACK in 2011 Caravãna Sun’s four members made the faithful decision to give the band a red-hot crack for five years. Whatever hardships they endured, whatever crappy shows they played - they would not die wondering.
It was a promise they all committed to, as five European tours in as many years would attest. On the first two tours the Sydneysiders travelled by train, trucking around guitars, drums, amps, everything. Many of those initial shows were played in hostels to backpackers.
Having recently passed that five-year milestone with a successful European tour and the release of their third album Guerrilla Club, guitarist Luke Carra said the hard toil was vital.
“It was probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” Carra said. “I don’t know why we thought it was a good idea to travel by train. The third time we got a van and it became more professional. In the first two years we had shows booked, but we made real connections with fans from last-minute pop-up shows in open-air hostels. Really peculiar places to perform. I think it was a real learning curve for us and really helped us develop our sound.”
Caravãna Sun’s sound is hard to pinpoint, particularly on Guerrilla Club. The band’s traditional roots and world music beats have been infused with synths and extra funk.
“We wanted to explore,” Carra said. “The last record [Aya] was just a reflection of what we do live. There was almost no thrills. We virtually didn’t use any effects, no reverb or delays. On this record we wanted to make an album that embodies art, rather than a reflection of life.”
Carra said the album’s producer, Eskimo Joe’s Joel Quartermain, was vital to the expanded sound palette. Songs like Eye Of The Storm, Open Up and The Tourist are lush with the electronic influence.
“Joel said he really wanted to make us groovier than we were on our last record,” Carra said. “He said, ‘When I see you guys live you’re such a groove band and I feel like you’re not exploiting that’.”
Catch Caravãna Sun at the Small Ballroom on Thursday night.