“As Red Sea, I think we’re about a year old, so it’s pretty new. Three of us were in Dominos prior to that, which Simon (guitar) and I started when we were flat mates one drunken evening,” says Erica Bowron, lead singer of the band. “Then we found Atilla, the bass player, about this time last year. We just thought the whole band was going in a different direction and he brought a totally different vibe to it, so hence the rename.”
Much of their meteoric rise, from not existing a year ago to playing at the Sydney Opera House, is due to being signed to GuitarBaby, the opportunity for which arose through a slice of luck. “That came about because Alex Hermes, who runs GuitarBaby, actually had an office above the rehearsal space that we had, and so we just sort of got to chatting on breaks,” says Bowron. “He said that he loved our sound, and kept coming in more and more to have a listen, he really liked our sound but thought that we needed developing. This is when we were Domino originally, and he finally got the chance to come and see us live, he kind of lost his mind. He said ‘wow, you guys are fucking amazing live!’ And from there he signed us on the spot. It was really exciting to have a fresh perspective and for someone to believe in you like that.”
Hermes’ belief in Red Sea is obviously to such an extent that he is taking them on tour with his own band, Dirty Wolves, when they take on the country and our eastern neighbour in September. “So it all kicks off [soon], the first gig is September 10 in Newcastle… It’s going to be fantastic actually. We’ve got the highlight show at the Sydney Opera House on September 18, so that’s gonna be pretty special to be bringing some prog rock and metal smashing through the walls of the Opera House,” says Bowron. “It’s like a GuitarBaby showcase, so it’s Dirty Wolves, us, Simple Stone and James Davies.”
Before the band takes off for the tour, their debut EP Battlescar is set to be released, and as Bowron explains, it’s the sum of five songs, which the band is really comfortable with. “I remember Simon saying that the concept of Red Sea is in its very early stages, so five songs are what we felt were ready. I think your songs are ready for the studio when you’ve done what you can in the rehearsal room and then you start imagining how you’re going to tweak them, how you’re going to tease it out in the studio. So it sort of just felt natural with the five that we’ve got to go in.”
The sound of the EP is hard to explain, even for Bowron, with influences coming from a whole range of places, and the different backgrounds of the band members playing a big role. “It’s kind of interesting, Atilla is well and truly a heavy metal man, he’s previously been a front man as well as a bass player in the past… Pete has quite a heavy metal history as well, but he has this encyclopedic knowledge of music, of all sorts of music. He was originally a classical pianist as a kid, so he’s got that sort of classical ear as well. Simon grew up on The Pixies, and his first gig that he ever went to, in Ireland, was AC/DC, so he’s into rock and alternative. I’ve definitely always been a rock girl, but I actually sang in music theatre shows for yonks, so it’s this crazy mix, and I don’t know if we would actually sound like who we’re inspired by.”
Despite a huge tour being just around the corner, Bowron is looking further in the future, and holds further international touring aspirations. “I’d love to give Europe a crack at some point,” she says. “I think Europe enjoys a bit more of a heavier, more dramatic sound, which I think perhaps we have. For now [though], we’re super happy to tour Australia and see if we can reach as many people as possible.”
Battlescar is out now via Guitar Baby HQ/MGM Distribution. Red Sea will be touring nationally later this month alongside Dirty Wolves. For more information, visit redseaband.com.