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Boy & Bear Biography

Within weeks of finishing work on 2011’s award-winning, internationally renowned debut LP,
Moonfire — months before it was even released — singer / songwriter Dave Hosking was hit by
a creative tsunami. Boy & Bear is a band that likes to follow their muse — and the new songs
were flowing.


The cocoon-like existence of working together in a strange new environment — Nashville, in the
case of Moonfire — generated its share of magic, but Hosking and his fellow Boy & Bears
wanted to bring it all back home, to get back to where their musical journey began in 2009. His
band mates Tim Hart, Killian Gavin, Jon Hart and new(ish) addition, bassist (and table tennis
ace) David Symes, agreed. ‘Good art is personal,’ says Hosking, ‘it comes from a really personal
place. These new songs started in my living room, and it made sense to keep this local, and let
our personalities and experiences filter into the record.’


The record in question is Harlequin Dream, their bold and brave new album, conceived and
‘birthed’ in their hometown of Sydney. And they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate venue
in which to make the magic happen: the legendary Alberts studio, the spiritual home of AC/DC,
the Easybeats and many, many other homegrown legends. It may no longer be in its original
CBD base, but Alberts remains Oz music ground zero, a sacred site. The perfect place for Boy &
Bear to make their new musical statement, with the able guidance of ARIA award winning
producer Wayne Connolly, who the band first met when they worked together on a cover of Neil
Finn’s ‘Fall at your feet’, a live favourite and a hit single. ‘Once we got home from Nashville,’
Hosking continues, ‘we thought, “Bugger it, let’s do it more effectively next time.” ’ Alberts
proved to be just the place.


Drawn from a number of sessions dating back to October 2012, recording Harlequin Dream was
a totally different sensation for the band. No longer was their only escape from the studio a late
night trip to the convenience store for chips and beer, as it had been in Nashville. This time they
worked almost regular hours and went home to family and friends. Lived a real life. Their music
only went offshore when takes were sent to Phil Ek in Seattle, who’s worked with such bands as
Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes and Modest Mouse, to be mixed. It was the perfect arrangement for
this very Sydney band.


‘With Moonfire,’ says Hosking, ‘we were trying so hard to not sound like other bands; it was
such a driving force, trying to find our identity. This time around we just followed what we felt
was musical and embraced more pop structures.’ Guitarist Killian Gavin feels it’s an ‘older
sounding record’ than their debut. The lead single, ‘Southern Sun’, has a powerful urgency, not
unlike the best of Bruce Springsteen or Fleetwood Mac, while a sprinkling of strings and brass
— played by living, breathing humans, not machines — brings life and colour to such standouts
as ‘Back down the Black’, ‘Old Town Blues’ and ‘Stranger’. There’s even a swinging sax solo on
title track ‘Harlequin Dream’, a first for the band.

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