The Council – the name conjures up the image of a looming panel of power hungry individuals, wielding their authority with a calculated intensity, but the local outfit bearing the namesake are but a two piece partnership. While at first the notion of multi-faceted, multi-member group seemed like a good idea, The Council soon learned their band was a two-man affair.
"Well it's kinda like being married but being in any band is kinda like being married, at least this is only being married to one person – which is a bit healthier!" drummer Derek Anderson agrees when the notion of bands being like relationships is touched on. "It came about as a necessity more than anything else and we just found that it worked a lot better, we’ve been in five pieces, four pieces, three pieces and the worse thing about those things are pulling in different directions plus now we find when it’s time to go across for a beer, it’s like, ‘Wanna go across for a beer?' It’s like 'Yeah, hell yes' rather than 'Hang on I just gotta finish working this riff out,’ that plus you get twice as much rider. Then there’s also twice the pay but then again also twice the expenses."
As with any band, irrespective of how many members, there's bound to be positives and negatives but one of the definite highlights that only a two piece could have pulled off would have to be The Council’s debut on what was dubbed the 'toilet stage', at Cherry Rock in 2010. "We got put on the bill right at the last minute, they had multiple stages happening and one of the very last stages that James put together was for us, playing on the stairwell between the very back stage and the main stage, and it was literally a stairwell about one metre by two metres and the main entry and exit point to those stages,” Anderson explains. “We played two sets there with another two piece called the Patron Saints and I don’t think you could fit anything else besides a two piece in that space. We started off being like, 'I'm sure that we can’t do this, this is a fire hazard of some sort!' turned out to be one of the best gigs we’ve played and loads of fun."
There's a versatility and sense of freedom that two pieces and solo artists enjoy but even while reduced members often means a more harmonious band relationship, they aren't without their share of disruptions. The righteous path to rock‘n’roll nirvana can oft be rocky and the eight year journey of The Council as a band has not always been smooth sailing. "We actually broke up about halfway through the eight year stint, had a hiatus of about a year and decided that it was better off that we weren’t playing in a band," Anderson recalls. "But as time went on we realised we kinda had too and it just started happening again, we’re good mates from highschool days back in NZ and we kinda live in each other’s pockets so we really know each other and that really works well musically. The other side of it that’s great as well is you can kinda read what the other person is thinking, which is awesome."
Putting the break up four years ago down to merely being “younger and dumber”, Anderson seems more inclined to focus on the here and now rather than what's been and gone. With a shiny new album on the cusp of being launched, which comes off the back of a recent seven-inch split with Bunny Munroe, The Council are moving full steam ahead. The self-titled album (nicknamed the beige album, but is anything but!) was recorded to tape with Brett Punshon at Headgap studios and fuses blues, gospel and good old fashion rock'n'roll together staying true to the band’s high energy live show.
"We like to keep the overdubs to a minimum and don’t do anything that we aren’t gonna play live on stage. We try and keep that raw live energy, so that pretty much makes it basic as far as recording goes, you just go in there and play as you would normally." For their launch this weekend at Cherry Bar however, The Council have taken the opportunity to invite some special guests to the party, including Ryan Kemp (Rock City Riff Raff, Uptown Ace) on harmonica, Paul Donoghue (Schematics) on slide guitar and Brendan Charlie (Bitter Sweet Kicks) on trumpet, backed by a full horn section. This will be a Council gig not to be missed and considering the band are notorious for their verocious live shows that emulate a much fuller band, the addition of these special guests is likely to blow the roof off Cherry Bar.
BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD
THE COUNCIL launch their self-titled album with support from Bunny Monroe and Sheriff at Cherry Bar this Saturday October 20.