When you’re striving to produce your best work as a band, you can forgive the occasional delay. You also can’t be surprised when not all of your ideas are met with the enthusiasm that you have for them. And that this might result in a raised voice or two in the studio.
Just ask The Butterfly Effect. During the three-and-a-half years that have passed since the release of their last album, the successful Final Conversation of Kings, the Brisbane band’s creative output has been minimal, to say the least. So, as the natural course goes, lead singer Clint Boge departed to pursuer other music projects (a solo career and his new band, Thousand Needles In Red).
In a brave move, the band will be performing final farewell shows across the country with Boge at the helm, which could well make for some awkward silences on the tour bus. Drummer Ben Hall shines some light onto the dark times that have riddled the band recently.
It seems that writing new material has proved difficult this time round…
Writing has always been torturous for us but we’ve always got a result at the end of the day. But after three-and-a-half years of trying to put this next record together we were getting absolutely nowhere. That was one of the catalysts for what would eventually be Clint saying he was on his way.
Were you happy with the last album?
I think we rushed it a little. We lost our manager of nine years so we were self-managed running into the year we recorded the album. Where we should have taken our time and not panicked we went, "Ah shit, we’ve got to get something out!" We left half the record up to chance. In hindsight, we should’ve waited until we’d got our ten or twelve songs together, rather than hoping that it would come together in the studio.
Was this rushing on your part or record company pressure?
No, it was ours. I look back now and I don’t know why we panicked because we were in a fine position. I guess when you lose someone who’s an integral part of steering the ship for so many years, it throws you off a little. We did what we thought was right at the time, but we definitely could’ve waited at least another three or four months and got it right.
Was Clint’s departure really amicable?
When we say it’s amicable we mean that now we’re fine and talking; we can do a tour together and stand to be in a room with one another. But for the last six months before he decided he was leaving it was hostile. You try to get results and you’re not getting them. We had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted to do this time round but were at loggerheads with Clint about the process and we didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere. We wanted to find some compromises about who we were going to work with to get the best out of him and the rest of the band, but we were just struggling the whole way through it. He was really adamant that he wanted to do it himself, and that he had everything under control, which led to arguments. We’ve sat down three or four times over the last couple of years to try and piece things back together because it’s important to us and our fans that we put another record out. But in the end we couldn’t really come to any agreement on the right direction for the band and moving forward together. Three of us are still very happy to keep writing music together and Clint is doing his other projects now.
Do you feel you owe this final tour with Clint to the fans?
Most certainly, yeah. They’ve been very loyal to us over the decade that we’ve been together so I think it’s very important that we say "Thank You" to them in this way. A lot of them might choose not to continue with the story once Clint leaves, but we’re grateful for what they’ve done whilst we’ve been the Butterfly Effect as this line-up.
Despite things being "amicable", could the tour still raise some problems?
We’ve always had a fairly tricky relationship as a band. There is a little bit of bitterness around Clint leaving but I think we’re past that now and realise that it’s for the best. We spent many years trying to write a record which didn’t happen, and it’s caused us many headaches, so now we’ve cut our losses – he can go and do his thing and we can seek out a suitable replacement.
Was his departure ultimately necessary in terms of progressing?
There are things I feel I’ve learnt in the last ten years with regards to him stopping things from happening, and from us moving forwards. He’s decided to do his own thing and the three of us that remain are very happy and confident in songwriting, and in looking to find a new vocalist to keep us going. I thought him leaving was negative for all of as it wasn’t at all how I thought things would turn out, but the positive was that we’d hopefully get rid of that obstruction and get the record finished. We’ve got plenty of ideas for songs and I’m very happy with them. I just want to get it out there and get touring with it; not out of spite, just purely out of a love to play and bringing new stuff to the fans.
Why did you put up with these problems for so long?
Because things always ended up being good. As much as the relationship was difficult, we could always record an album with amazing songs; the outcome was always good. But when you’ve been writing for three-and-a-half years and you listen to your demos and think, "There’s nothing here!" you’re clearly not getting anywhere. Still to this point, I don’t think we got any songs out of those sessions.
It seems you’re eager to get on with things as a three-piece pretty soon.
Most definitely. We’ll let Clint enjoy this tour, and we also want to enjoy this tour, because for all we know it could be the last tour we do. I know a lot of people have problems with bands that change frontman and that sort of thing, so we have to be careful when we choose the next guy. So the focus for now is to just rehearse the set, have a great time and enjoy what we’ve achieved over the last ten years together.
Do you expect that the sound of the new line-up will change?
We’ve always tried to evolve and move forwards, particularly after the disappointing parts of the third record. It’s great being in the position of being surrounded by our peers, who we admire a lot – it makes you want to push the envelope as much as they are and make sure that we stay relevant.
What will be the first task post-tour?
I think we’ll be straight on with locking down a vocalist and getting in the studio. It’d be great to get an album done by the end of the year but we also don’t want to rush it because we’d end up in that same situation again were you don’t like it. And after all this time since the last record it’s going to be important that it’s good.