Tim Wheatley (Melbourne) on returning home from the US with new single “78 Benz” & the challenges of living abroad as an artist

Ahead of his much anticipated “78 Benz” single launch tour in Sydney tomorrow night, we snag some of Tim Wheatley‘s time to find out how the Melbourne native is enjoying being back in Australia. The troubadour has been on the grind making music and delving in and out of other artistic projects in LA for the last little bit, but is now eyeing up a run of shows outside sunny Cali, with Europe and another Australian tour on the cards.

 I saw on Facebook that your flight home from overseas was a bit of a drag – how are you holding up now?

It was a preverbial nightmare! I spent the day before I embarked on this tour at hospital trying to figure out what’s wrong with me (thought I’d been bitten by a bunch of spiders!) but I’m doing a lot better now, just trying to stay warm and dry here in Australia is a challenge though.

The shows that have been set up for fans in Melbourne and Sydney in June must be pretty special for you, especially seeing as they fall so close to you coming back home – how has the preparation for these gigs been treating you?

I have to be honest and say preparation has been limited, but that always makes for a good show. I’m looking forward to jamming with the band when I get to Melbourne because I have been touring solo for so long now. Coming home means more to me with every year that I’m away. It’s always more fun when there are familiar faces in the crowd and people to share a drink with when it’s all said and done.

We’ve been loving “78 Benz” lately – you mentioned that it’s your favourite song on the album, was it an instant favourite for your or was it one that worked its way to the spot over time?

I love the song because it came from a dark time and place for me personally, and only became my favorite song once I was through it. I have always really appreciated ‘self deprication and honesty’ in songs from my favorite singer/songwriters, that make no bones about their flaws as humans.

The album has obviously done really well for itself since its release; how much anticipation lay behind its release for you and what have you come to release about the album making process now you’re on the other side of it all?

From its inception to the point of release, it took two and a half years, so to say I was anticipating its release is an understatement. Funnily enough, I had all but given up getting it released twice, but the nature of the way in which it was recorded is somewhat timeless, so it never really ‘dated’ in my mind.

Is there anything about the album making process this time round you would’ve done differently/anything you learned that you’re set on taking into future recording and writing sessions?

Not so much with regards to the way it was recorded or written. I realise it says debut album, but I have recorded with different bands and labels over my time in the business. So I guess Cast of Yesterday was the one in which I applied the lessons learned over the years. Although, I will say that as I start recording in LA, it is another beast entirely. The players, the producers, the studios and methods of recording are all new to me.

You’ve been in the position to live in Australia and abroad in the US – what are some of the things that have stuck out to you in terms of differences in artistic industries for creatives such as yourself?

There really is a distinct difference for folks still attempting to establish themselves in their chosen field(s), but only if you are willing to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone.

Also, I can only assume it’s because the town is built on entertainment and understand the game – but Los Angeles embraces ‘hustle’. Being between jobs and looking for work is part of the game over there, so you can keep yourself as busy as you like while you look for the next thing. I don’t think I’m explaining this well! I can’t seem to put into words why it’s better to be in LA over Australia when your career path is not paved. There are more options and a community of like-minded people doing the same thing.

What has been exciting you the most about returning home with the album and in particular, “78 Benz”?

It’s always about seeing my family!

As a musician, who have you been excited by in terms of new music, and are there any particular influences that are driving your current musical path?

I’m excited by Americana. Even though I dislike the name, they have given this new genre between Folk, Country and Rock. It’s actually been around a long time – I’ll argue The Eagles were among the first, but now it’s being recognised and happens to feature in my mind, the best songwriters in the world. Some of these folks are Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, John Fullbright and former ‘Drive by Trucker’, Jason Isbell.

What’s the rest of 2016 looking like for you at this point? Can we be seeing you on the road further throughout the year?

I’m heading over to Europe for some shows immediately after Australia, which I’m very excited about. It’s been nearly eight years since I last played in London with my old band The Sparrows. Then I’ll be back in Australia in late August for a tour starting at the Gympie Muster. 

Tim Wheatley launches “78 Benz” tomorrow night in Sydney at the Marlborough Hotel. He then heads back to Melbourne for his second launch date at the Grace Darling Hotel on June 10th!