On the Road with The Preatures

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Sep 02, 2015

by ANDREW P. STREET

They’re one of Australia’s hottest bands but The Preatures are fast becoming citizens of the world.

The life of a band – and the travel it involves – isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “We were in Omaha [in Nebraska] for five days,” says guitarist Gideon Bensen with a laugh. “Omaha! What are you going to do?”

Touring is one thing for The Preatures – being tourists is another. “You know that musicians on tour barely get to see anywhere, right?” says singer Isabella Manfredi. “What sort of recommendations can bands make? ‘Don’t miss the gorgeous backstage of this club…’ ”

The past two years have been something of a whirlwind for the Sydney-born pop/rock quintet – a five-album deal with Universal Music, the worldwide release of their debut album, Blue Planet Eyes, major airplay for their breakthrough single Is This How You Feel? (for which they won the prestigious $50,000 Vanda & Young songwriting prize in 2013) and, not surprisingly, a lot of international travel.

It has been a period of adjustment for all, especially Manfredi, who is not only the frontwoman but also plays keyboards, writes all the songs and nailed down the album’s sound with her boyfriend, Preatures guitarist Jack Moffitt.

However, the band – now on the road until October for their Australian tour – seem to have managed the transition with ease. They all declare their most recent international tour to be the easiest yet, having learned a thing or two from their first, hesitant overseas jaunts: pack light, look after your health, never miss the chance to eat, sleep or use the bathroom and if you’re in a place for a few hours, use that limited time well – which means a lot of eating at the same places.

“You can’t risk it,” says bassist Thomas Champion. “Even just getting your bearings where you are staying takes a day and you’ll still get lost on your way to grab a coffee.”

“A lot of what we know about cities is based around eating or washing,” adds Manfredi. “We know a lot of pubs, a lot of restaurants and a lot of laundromats.”

So life as a rock star isn’t quite the whirlwind of exciting travel that it appears? “No, we’re always just missing stuff!” she exclaims. “Like in Amsterdam, we get into the city and are told about the Rembrandt exhibition and the Van Gogh Museum. So we rush in and, of course, they’re closing in half an hour. We ended up just watching kids skate out the front.” Of course, even that outcome is kind of rock ’n’ roll.   

Photography: Simon Lekias