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Far Away Stables

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If I had been given a CD copy of Far Away Stable’s debut release, I’d need a second by now – the first would be scratched from overuse. Luckily for CD players everywhere, my first experience of the Sydney alternative rock group was in a mp3 download, a mp3 with a sound like no other. Between Rage And Serenity is an absolutely sensational debut offering, there’s no other way to put it. A zig-zag of melody coupled with refreshingly poetic lyrics and some clever instrumental manipulation, the forecast for next big thing in rock is this band.

There’s not much money in music anymore, bassist Tim Byles agrees, but to hear positive feedback about their music is currency enough for him. Indeed, the opportunity to speak with a member of such a pioneering group is currency enough for me.

Right up there with the likes of Sleeping with Sirens, 30 Seconds To Mars, and Hands Like Houses, already Far Away Stables have an excellence of sound and professionalism like that of an A-list band. They’ve been together for six years and yet still fall under the banner of a local band. Clear across their social media, they’ve taken an independent direction in producing and releasing their music, but when a band has this much potential, why is it they choose the path of independence? “It’s very much an instance in the music industry where you do have to sign your soul away to a music label and you want to make sure it’s the right person,” says Byles. “It’s bringing another member into the band and you want to make sure they can help you grow where you want to grow, otherwise you’d just be bastardising yourself for an unclear path, as opposed to when you’re doing it yourself, it’s very much easier to have complete control and focus, because nobody’s ever going to work as hard for yourself than you.

“You have to have more faith in yourself and that was a big part of that decision. Not to say anything against the labels that we were talking to, but we thought we could bring something to the table ourselves and still maintain that story of being an independent band.” And indeed, Far Away Stables maintain their mantra without being dictated to by a contract and an ever-changing face in the music industry. Being independent just makes sense for them at present.

But how will a band with such a distinct sound fare past that point? There will come a time where local shows won’t be enough, for them or fans – could they bear to sell their souls at that point, whether they feel a sense of family in their label or not? “It’s not that we didn’t feel a sense of family in the labels we were talking to,” Byles concedes, “It was definitely a mixture of a million different things. For example, with one label, it mostly came down to not being able to find the right dates by which to release [the debut album]; our schedules weren’t lining up. So it definitely wasn’t a ‘fuck you’ to them or the industry as a whole, we just went on our own path. Some days we are like, ‘we certainly did the right thing’; other days, not so much.

“We could certainly ‘sell our souls’ – not that that’s even the right term to use anymore, it’s far too harsh of a term. In the ’90s, it meant writing a song for a Pepsi commercial, but now, opportunities are opportunities. So if a label comes along and all the parts line up, then we definitely will jump on board.”

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There’s a distinct air of entrepreneurialism about Byles – a natural businessman as well as talented musician – taking the path of independence will surely work well for Far Away Stables. How is a local band making a sound this large? “This album was five years in the making so we were learning as we went along and never settled for anything less than what we considered to be as close to perfection as we could get. We spent hours and hours learning what it means to make a big song, what it means for a drum build to complement the next bit, studying bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Muse – more Radiohead-esque stadium bands – to see what they did to make a big sound. We never thought anyone would think that we do that, so it’s great to hear it’s succeeded to some capacity.”

Even though there was a significant complexity to the creation of Between Rage And Serenity, Byles is adamant that their second album won’t take quite as long to compile. The band has learned so much in the run up to this release, the process will be quicker, tighter, and somehow even more refined. “I’ve actually talked to the guys recently about the second album and it’s going to be ten times bigger. We want to do something stupidly ambitious.

“We want people to look at us and say: ‘these guys are doing something different’. In an industry where it’s hard to stand out, we want to stand out. Next album, it will be a lot more involved and we’re really excited about that.

“We were a lot younger, wanted to play shows, had to get our live capabilities up, got to play America, South East Asia – when I say five years, it culminated to this point. We thought of the album title in the first six months of being a band, we wanted to release an album similar to the 2006 era of music, the music we grew up with, but we wanted to put our own stamp on it.”

Far Away Stables has toured with everybody who is anybody, all before the release of an album and only off the back of two EPs. The reception for the band was generally mixed but Byles says playing those shows were not only a learning curve but a massive kick in the butt. “When we supported Paramore in Sydney, we sold 260 EPs in a night – we could see how the industry worked a little bit. A couple of weeks later, we did The Offspring tour and sold maybe 15 EPs in total. We started seeing what our crowd was, what people wanted to hear from us.

“A learning curve like this is an invaluable one.”

In order to achieve and be the best at what they do, Far Away Stables undoubtedly have a methodological approach. It’s not just about making music, it’s almost a business plan. “When you start a band, you read everything you can and everything says to treat it like a business. All it is is thinking logically, how to solve a problem, and getting people to listen to your music,” says Byles.

“We’ve always tried to think two steps ahead: often that’s failed, often that’s succeeded. We’ve always tried to think as opposed to just doing, and hopefully, that’s a recipe for some sort of success – a success we will hopefully obtain one day.”

Written by Anna Rose

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