Like a Chevrolet hitting top gear, Something For Kate are rejuvenated and ready to go

Like a Chevrolet hitting top gear, Something For Kate are rejuvenated and ready to go

Image by Daniel Boud
Words by Tammy Walters

The beloved rockers are co-headlining Summer Sounds Festival alongside Bernard Fanning on Saturday February 27.

After a successful run in Adelaide, Summer Sounds Festival is making its way to Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl for a bunch of COVID-safe shows starting later this month.

The festival boasts major Australian talent for dual headline shows, but a welcome surprise to the list is a double dose of classic ’90s Aussie alt-rock with Bernard Fanning and Something For Kate.

In 2020, Melbourne’s own Something For Kate defied the COVID odds, repositioning themselves at the forefront of Australian music with their seventh studio album, The Modern Medieval.

Keen for more music reads? Subscribe to Beat here and we’ll send them straight to your inbox.

Speaking with bassist Stephanie Ashworth about the band’s 2020 resurgence, Something For Kate were initially conflicted about releasing new music last year.

“It’s been challenging as I suppose everyone would say. There was that decision about whether to release during this period or whether to wait and see, and I think we felt that people needed music – it was the one thing that would get people through.”

Led by charming singles ‘Situation Room’ and ‘Waste Our Breath’, The Modern Medieval was the first taste of new music from the trio since 2012’s Leave Your Soul To Science. You would be forgiven for thinking the band were on a second hiatus, but they were always plotting away behind the scenes.

“We never actually stopped. It was eight years between releases, but we were doing festivals and tours and random things the whole time and we were writing on and off sporadically. But we were sharing Paul [Dempsey] – he kept going away all the time and getting offers he couldn’t refuse doing the David Bowie stuff, so we had to be patient and wait to get him back to have a slab of time in front of us to finish an album,” Ashworth says.

That extended period also allowed for further exploration into Something For Kate‘s ever-evolving sound. Whilst a thread of consistency has remained from their scene debut in 1994, their music has continued to evolve, whether it be by the grace of experience, life-lessons or aging in general.

“I think there’s a lot more playfulness now and a lot more experimentation and a bit of a ‘who gives a fuck?’ kind of vibe in what we are doing now. Maybe we were a lot more careful with what we were doing 20 years ago in terms of sculpting and building and being really conscious of every single note… There is a freedom in making records in this point our lives.”

In fact, 20 years ago was when Something For Kate released their third album, Echolalia, a platinum-certified record that stands as one of the most iconic Australian albums in recent memory.

“To be honest, we didn’t even realise it was 20 years until someone told us earlier in the year because we’re so focused on the present and the future,” Ashworth continues. “There’s a bunch of bands who started up around the same time as us … who thrive on the nostalgia side of things; we’re not really one of them. We’re not a looking back kind of band. We’re more about the present.”

Whilst The Modern Medieval didn’t get the royal touring treatment it deserved off the back of its November 2020 release, the band have made up for it with a run of recent performances, including Sounds Better Together and the Australian Open.

They’ve also recruited the remarkable Olivia Bentley, aka Olympia, and Adrian Stoyles to bring the record to life, both of whom will be joining Ashworth and co for Something For Kate’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl show on Saturday February 27.

Melbourne’s Summer Sound run will further be littered with badass female bass players with Ball Park Music‘s Jennifer Boyce and Peppa Lane of Spacey Jane also gracing the stage for headline shows.

“It’s how it always should have been and how it should be,” Ashworth says of the female presence on Summer Sound’s lineup. “It should be normal, and I’m not surprised by it. Slowly our industry is becoming more approachable and there is less stigma attached to being a female in this industry.

“When I first started, I was partly treated as a bit of a circus freak. I was always careful not to perpetuate the idea of women as a novelty in music and just tried to normalise things. I’m really pleased to see more women coming up and doing so well! It’s how it should be and now it’s less lonely on tour for women because there are more of us out there.”

Something For Kate hit the Sidney Myer Music Bowl stage alongside Bernard Fanning, Didirri and Mia Wray on Saturday February 27. Grab tix here.