Sexy, sultry and never boring – Newcastle 4-piece Kira Puru & The Bruise have got a big future ahead of them. We chatted to sophisticated front woman Kira Puru about the local music scene, winning Song Summit 2012 and the late, great Etta James.
By Meghan Player
First of all, we’re a bit chuffed you’re on the lineup for BigSound 2012 – are you looking forward to attending and performing?
Of course. There’s only 120 of Australia’s emerging acts playing and it’s an honour to be in such good company. We’ve just been on the longest break we’ve had since our inception almost 3 years ago, so as you can imagine we’re busting to perform. This is also our first tour with our new drummer, we’re excited about breaking him in.
Do you think conferences/showcases like these are an important part of the local industry?
Yeah. Anything that supports and exposes the vibrance of our local music scene is important to the industry.
There’s a great line up of speakers and musicians heading along this year – is there anyone that you’re looking forward to seeing? Either speaker or musician wise?
Sure. I’d like to see Courtney Barnett, Fantine, Kirin J Callinan, Oliver Tank, Phebe Starr and Winter People. We’ll also try and get along to see our friends, Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes, the Snowdroppers, the Preatures & the Gooch Palms. I’m interested in catching Beth and Heath from Warner Music, Bill Cullen from One Louder, Ben Swank of Third Man Records and any other things jump out at me between now and then. I’ll be cramming in as much as I can over the two days.
Recently, you won Triple J Unearthed Song Summit Competition – what did that win mean to the band, and moreso on a personal level? Has it changed the way the band approach writing a song etc?
It’s obviously great to get that kind of acknowledgement from Triple J, they have a massive influence over what people are listening to. Sometimes you need a kick like that to remember that people are actually listening. It meant a lot to the band to win that competition in particular because it’s judged on the merits of your songwriting and arrangement and not on how congruent you are with a ‘scene’. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people and compare notes, talk shop and such. I saw Pat Pattison speak and he’s definitely influenced the way I have written since then.
“When All Your Love Is Not Enough” was your most recent offering – a stellar song with an equally gorgeous video – are you working on anything new at the moment? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yeah, we have a handful of new tracks that we’ll be recording very soon. We’re leaning more towards pop than we ever have. We’re listening more to Lana Del Rey, Kanye, Jay Z, Britney, Destiny’s Child, JT, MJ, Dangermouse and Kylie Minogue and less to Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen…you know? Maybe I’m just less depressed than I was last year.
Our new release will be available later in the year but you’ll be able to catch the tunes live at the shows for the time being.
You’ve been added to the Drunken Moon lineup, as well as announcing a couple of extra dates around Brisbane – any plans for more touring to round out the year?
Yes! We have at least one more tour booked and some stuff over the festival season. I’m not sure how lippy I can be about all of that yet, but you can hook up with us on Facebook to get all the news and perv on the guys.
It’s no surprise that you have been compared to the late, great Etta James – is it humbling to hear such comparisons, and especially to someone you admire?
Obviously. Etta is one of the greatest singers of our time. It’s clear she has had a heavy influence on the way I sing, the heart with which she performs is undeniable. I think that’s what I love most about her. I’m not a very technical singer, and my pitching is terrible, but I’ll sing with every last ounce of energy I have, and I think that’s Etta’s doing. My influences are predominantly more contemporary though.
Newcastle has a thriving little music scene at the moment, are there any local acts that people should check out that you love?
Totally, the latest band I saw that kicked ass was a two-piece called Hells, they’re like a dirty, garage Black Keys with less blues and more ball-tearing solos. There’s so many awesome bands that people should see. Start with Kit, Boatfriends, FK Sampler, Benjamin Fraser, Post Paint, Alps of NSW, Shanna Watson, the Gooch Palms & the Dukes of Erlington. And if you’re really keen, you should check a bunch of peeps that were in Newcastle and left us for the big smoke, like the Understudy, Mojo Juju, the Book of Ships, Ballads, Lander Configurations & Ellen Kibble. There’s probably more, but I’ve killed the brain cells I used to use to remember stuff.
Finally, apart from being wickedly awesome, why should people come along to your set at BigSound 2012?
If you come, I’ll give you five bucks.
Kira Puru & The Bruise play at BIGSOUND Live 2012! With 120 killer bands on 12 stages taking place over two nights in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, the festival has become one of the most widely varied and highly regarded festivals in Australia. Tickets are available through oztix ( http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=27717 ) for $45+booking fee (one night) or $69+booking fee (both nights).
You can keep up to date with the band at: http://www.facebook.com/kirapuruandthebruise