If you’ve attended a festival in the last two years you’ve almost certainly shared that festival with Luca Brasi. The Tasmanian four-piece are one of those bands that love to tour. If you peruse a list of their gigs you will see appearances at Laneway, The Plot, Festival Of The Sun and UNIFY plus supports with Violent Soho, Moose Blood and Kisschasy along with their own headline tours.
Thomas Busby, guitarist and founder (more on this later) of Luca Brasi describes their hectic schedule. “We were pretty burnt out. Pretty much from August to April, it was go-go-go, so when we got to have a break – which was probably the first time ever – we were like, ‘Sweet… a few weeks off!’” Apparently, this is all the time off the group need before packing their bags again. “We’ve had a little break now and we’re stinging to get out and do it again! It didn’t take too many weeks, before I was bored.” Not only may Busby have gotten bored on his short break, but he casually throws in the emergency medical procedure he undertook. “I’ve been hanging with my girlfriend heaps, catching up with some friends, had to get my appendix out. That wasn’t cool, but I’m glad it happened now and not on the tour!”
The flurry of shows can result in touring becoming a bit of a blur for Busby and the band, but he singles out some highlights from the last year. “There’s a certain feeling you get after a real good show that you can’t really describe, but there was a few. Melbourne Laneway. That was a red-hot banger. Sydney with Violent Soho. There was something about that gig, it just had a sick vibe.” Incidentally, he mentions that there were more people at that show than in the small Tasmanian locale of St. Helens where the band grew up. He goes on to rattle off other highlights, including Party In The Paddock in Tassie and the “beer soaked and delicious food” good times on their European tour.
Busby recently shared on their Facebook page the surprising genesis of Luca Brasi. On the 26 May 2009, a simple message was posted to Busby’s timeline: “Does anybody want to start a punk rock’n’roll band with Tom Busby?” it read. “I’m a bit embarrassed I referred to myself in the third person on that post. I don’t know what that was about!” he exclaims. “No one in Luca Brasi, past or present, commented on that post!”
The process of getting the band together took over a year, including a couple of line-up changes and Busby reminisces: “Looking back on those times, I had a life before Luca Brasi and I can’t really imagine what that was like. It’s such a big part of who I am now, it’s so weird. What did I do? What did I spend my money on? Who was I?” Despite the all-encompassing nature of the band, Busby reveals that he’s currently studying towards a Bachelor of Social Science. Lead singer Tyler Richardson is studying to become a teacher in his trade. Patrick Marshall is a civil engineer and Danny Flood is a personal trainer, massage therapist, roofer and brand new dad! No one can ever claim musicians are lazy.
Luca Brasi are currently on their biggest Australian tour yet, hitting venues like The Gov in Adelaide, The Metro in Sydney, The Triffid in Brisbane and The Capitol in Perth. With a Hobart and Melbourne show already sold out, it’s sure to be a hot ticket. What can punters expect on this tour, I ask? “It’s gonna be a bunch of different songs, some songs we haven’t played for years. One song, we haven’t played since before 2012. Danny and Pat have never played it! There’s one song off the last record that we haven’t even played live yet and there’s a brand new one we’ll be whipping out, plus all the hits, mate, forget about it!” This will be the last tour for the latest record before hunkering down to work on the next. “After this tour, it’s just knuckle down, get in the studio and bust something out. We’ve been writing a lot, doing a lot of demos and stuff. Next year we’ll have a new record, which will be great!”
The writing process is a collaborative effort. Busby will work on his own demos on his computer and send them on to the band. Marshall will chip in with before they all go to his house and spitball ideas and flesh out the tunes. It’s a method that seems to work well with their last album featuring hits like Anything Near Conviction, Aeroplane and Say It Back. Their new single, Got To Give had over 40 thousand views on Facebook in a week.
The band are proudly Tasmanian and would never consider moving to the mainland according to Busby. “Nope. Never has it once been considered. What I say is, if we play a show at the Corner Hotel In Richmond, for example, what difference does it make if we flew from Hobart or got a taxi from Fitzroy? It makes no difference at all. I understand why younger bands might do it, totally. It makes sense for a lot of bands because Tassie misses out on big support slots for big touring bands. We’ve just had to carve our own path due to missing those things and do our own things for a few years. We’ve got lives, families, children, jobs and mortgages here and we love it. Tassie forever, mainland never!”
Whilst their local domination is in full swing, the topic of playing in the USA and other overseas markets comes up as it seems to be the next logical step for most successful Australian bands. “We had a discussion about it. We decided to cane it in Australia, enjoy that and see what we can achieve here and then go overseas maybe once a year and treat it like a bucket list holiday type of thing instead of a ‘career move’, which doesn’t really interest us.” This pragmatic attitude combined with the genuine charm of the band will surely see Luca Brasi climb to the pinnacle of Australia’s punk rock scene if they aren’t almost there already. “We’re trying to look after each other, look after ourselves and look after the band so we can do it for as long as possible. Make records, go play giggies, eat parmys and have a good time!” We’d all be happy for them to keep doing that, but maybe watch the cheese consumption.