If you're yet to experience the sensation that is the swirling hurricane of unmitigated soul put forth by Saskwatch, then you've only got yourself to blame. The Melbourne-based nine-piece have been a consistent force to be reckoned with since their inception - so much so that it's gotten to the point where it's rare to find a calendar week devoid of a set from these fine purveyors of soul. This omnipresence on the scene is made all the more impressive considering the logistics of synchronising the schedules of all nine bandmates, especially when picturing the amount of rehearsal time required to work their show to such a infallible pedigree. So I guess the tardiness of tenor saxophonist Will Morrisey this Saturday morning is the exception, not the rule, as I wait with keyboardist Olaf Scott in a quaint Northcote coffee shop. After mine and Olaf's wait reaches the two coffee-deep mark, Will makes his arrival.
"It's ridiculous," Will declares on the process of rounding up the populace Saskwatch crew. "We've managed to organise regular rehearsals so people know when to expect to be available. Everybody's so busy as well, playing with other bands. Liam [McGorry, trumpet] is overseas with Eagle And The Worm," he states. "Then we have two other horn players, Sam [Boon, sax] and Nic [Glenie, trumpet] who play with WooHoo Revue, who are this gypsy band who are also pretty busy. Then our rhythm section, Sal [Aidone, drums] and Dunc [Millar, bass] play in this, I don't know what you'd call them, this emo, metal band, also a little bit indie, called Closure In Moscow, and they're doing plenty as well, a lot of touring. It's getting pretty hectic at the moment," adds Olaf.
"We're all super busy, but I think for all of us Saskwatch is the one we enjoy the most," Will muses to Olaf's agreement, "Everyone's made sacrifices here and there, but when we get last minute calls for gigs it's always really hectic. So we try to book everything way in advance."
"We're pretty much one of the strictest bands I know. If you're late to rehearsal, you're gonna cop some shit," Will laughs. "Well it's not so much that we're strict, but when we rehearse, we rehearse properly." "It's business time," Olaf adds.
Saskwatch are gearing up to unleash their brand new 45 at the end of the month, which follows on from the release of the stellar debut single I Thought This Was Love. "We did that single earlier this year, around March. Then we went into the studio midway through the year and smashed out a whole album, which was cool. So this single we're about to release will be off that album, which is all being mixed and mastered at the moment. We're looking at probably launching it early next year," Olaf reveals.
"Which is annoying in a way, because we have this album in the bag but all these new tunes coming in, so we just want to get back in the studio already. So we can't wait to release it," Will beams.
The first airing of the upcoming single couldn't have been in a more appropriate setting, with the reciprocal love triangle of Saskwatch, community radio and Cherry Bar forming a climactic whole. "I was at Cherry Bar on Thursday just to hand Vince [Peach] and Pierre [Baroni] from PBS our new single," Will recalls. "So they gave it a spin for the first time. It was just me and Rob [guitarist] rocking out on the dancefloor to our own track," Will recalls. "Some might just call that arrogance," chuckles Olaf. "We were just enjoying it because it's not I Thought This Was Love anymore, it's the new single," Will says in defence.
The rise of Saskwatch can be charted concurrently with the contemporary soul explosion originating in New York, led by the likes of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Menahan Street Band. Along the lines of those groups, Saskwatch came into their own with the addition of dynamo vocalist Nkechi Anele.
"When we started in 2009 we got together and started out as an instrumental group, then we got some gigs with one singer for a few months. So we ended up finding Nkechi [Anele], who's singing with us now. So I think it was around six months after we started that we did start playing with Nkechi. That was around the time we started to get our shit together, because it all started pretty loosely," recalls Olaf.
"Yes, there were definitely a few loose, loose Cherry gigs," Will laughs.
Saskwatch perform as part of Australasian World Music Expo alongside Graveyard Train, Direct Influence and a whole lot more at The Arts Centre, APRA stage at Curve Bar on Saturday November 19. For full details on AWME, head to www.awme.com.au. Saskwatch will also be launching their new 7" with two nights at Workers Club, happening Thursday November 24 and Friday November 25.