When you think of Australian country artist, many music fans would think of Keith Urban, Morgan Evans and Seaforth. Having recently signed a worldwide recording deal with Broken Bow Records and BMG, The Wolfe Brothers are looking to add their name to the list. Hailing from the island of Tasmania, the brothers recently completed a headline tour of Australia and their new single, No Breaks, which was released at the end of April, has become their 13th number one on country radio in Australia. The upbeat song doesn't want the dating good times to end any time soon as you go along without a care in the world has also already picked up over 400,000 stream on Spotify.
With them making waves at home, we caught up with brothers Tom and Nick, to find out a bit more about them, the new track and what we can expect from them now they have signed their new deal. You’re at home in Tasmania at the minute TW: That’s right, on the farm. Of all the places to be it’s probably one of the better ones.
Does the tour seem a long time ago already? TW: Yeah, that finished in March We had basically 3 or 4 months of festivals in Australia before going over to the States and Canada, we had some really cool stuff lined up. NW: Not happening now, I’m sure we’ll get to do it at some point. Everyone’s in the same boat.
Is the day job slightly different at the minute? TW: We are still so busy. With No Brakes out at the minute there has been a lot of promo for that and a lot of interviews. We’ve just tried to make the most of the time as we’re never usually at home this long so have done a lot more writing and listening to demos of songs that have been on the back burner. NW: The surprising thing has been that there have been a few songs come up that were written three of four years ago. Fortunately, I think we really overlooked some gems, so we’ve gone back and looked through the catalogue and thought that was actually alright. You released No Brakes at the end of April, an interesting time to release a track. NW: It was due to coincide with the CMC Rocks Festival, which is our biggest festival, and we were going to announce the record deal. The week before we were thinking this whole virus is pretty crazy and then the Friday of that weekend everything just rammed up and by the following week everyone was locked in the house. TW: Because we signed the deal with BMG and Broken Bow, the team were going to come over, we were going to play a headline show at the festival to show them what we do in Australia. Had all these plans in place and overnight it was like, bye.
The song has done very well since its release and it has become your 13th number one on country radio in Australia in five weeks. TW: It blew me away, is it that many. We’ve had a lot of support here in Australia and our fans and the industry have really grown with us. From our first album to No Brakes, our writing and everything has come such a long way and they’ve been behind us supporting us the whole way. I think this is the quickest number one and the first we’ve had without a music video. Here the music video really helps push it along. NW: This is actually the first day we’ve seen each other since lockdown so we haven’t been able to shoot a video. TW: The track is a new sound for us, and its great people dig it.
Being your first new track since 2018, is it nice to get music out there? NW: Yeah, with the last album, Country Heart, there was a lot of heavy, serious topics. When we were creating that album we were going through a lot of intense stuff with our father passing away from cancer, taking over the farm, we dealt with mental health too and there’s nothing wrong with all of that but it is also great to have a good fun song. At this time, we all just need a bit of good fun and entertainment and No Brakes is just about going full steam ahead.
Had you been able to play the song on the tour? NW: We played it at two or three gigs, it wasn’t out then, so we were just road testing it to see what people thought. TW: It went over pretty well NW: It will be great to go out and play it live soon, especially after it going to number one TW: It’s been such a weird time. When doing promo for a single we would normally go to Sydney and do radio and TV. All I’ve done is sat at home and done face calls or sat on the phone. My wife even says that we’ve been locked down together but feels like she hasn’t seen me. It’s great we can still push this out there
You picked up three Australian Country Music Awards last year. TW: 4 actually!
How much of a boost was it, especially knowing you had the tour and this project coming? NW: It was great, you don’t get into this thing to win awards, but it’s always been a goal of ours to wain a Golden Guitar, which is Australia’s highest country award. We lost 13 nominations before we won one TW: Keep in mind Country Heart was our fourth album. There’s a lot of people discovering our music around the world for the first time, but it’s been four albums and years and years of growing over here. It came to that night and we thought if we don’t win one tonight then maybe I need to go back and build houses! It was incredible and the whole industry got behind us. I think it was the most awards won by a group in one night. Very proud of that. We took a lot of risks on that album and challenged ourselves with our writing. our sound and where we wanted to go. NW: Even though the sound may have changed a bit, I think the writing was more honest and real. Looking forward to exploring the different sounds a bit more and seeing how far we can push it. It’s always been a goal of ours to push over into the mainstream and a lot of the country artists we admire have done that crossover where the mainstream embraces it.
You have been doing a weekly online live session, how important has it been to make use of social media? NW: It’s been the only way we’ve been able to do it but it’s been really fun. I actually find myself getting more nervous for those Friday night live streams than actually gigs. TW: There’s something about the crowd there. Even now with the two of us being here we can bounce off each other but we haven’t had that opportunity till now. You’re playing these songs and sell it while looking at the screen and reading the comments come up thinking is this good. It’s been really important for us to keep connected with everybody and we realised early on in this lockdown that our job is to entertain people and that’s what we’ve been trying to do. I think over the last four weeks, we’ve really got the hang of it as it’s a completely different mindset. NW: A lot of the time, you get into a rhythm when you are out on the road as you are playing a similar set every night and with the live stream we have been throwing out what do people want to hear and you get the requests from the back catalogue that you’ve never played live. It’s really cool because so many songs on an album get forgotten as they weren’t singles. It’s been nice to visit some of those songs and know that people appreciate the songs that are a bit deeper.
When you released the single, you set up a TikTok challenge. How are your dance skills going? NW: We’ve had some issues with the TikTok challenge. I’m not sure why but they took down the video. The sound remains so people can still do it. All we can surmise is it was the bikini the girl was wearing must of violated some guidelines. I have secretly learned the dance myself TW: I’m not doing it NW: I think I’ll have to take one for the team TW: If you do it, I’ll do it – maybe. Having recently signed the record deal, what’s the next step? TW: We’ve been very lucky in our career and have always been pretty goal orientated. There was a time when our goal was to play in Irish Murphy’s in Hobart. Once upon a time, we though if we could play there, we had made it. I remember the day we got there, and we moved the goalpost back a bit NW: Lets try and get a gig out of Tasmania. Now our sights are let’s try and get on the charts in America and other parts of the world TW: I want to come and play in the UK. I went in 2018 with my wife and absolutely loved it and didn’t want to come home. It’s amazing to see in the last five years how popular country music has grown across the UK, Germany and Europe. Hopefully, with the new team that’s something we really want to do. Tour more and get over there and play. Signing a deal and then there being a global pandemic probably isn’t ideal NW: It is what it is TW: We’ll get passed that soon enough
Did it take long to say yes to a deal like this? NW: There were a lot of things we had to work through behind the scenes. TW: We’ve had our team here in Australia for a long time and we had to get out of that deal to get into this one which took a bit of time. NW: It felt like a step into the big leagues, not to take away from anything we’ve done before, but I get blown away looking at the Broken Bow artist roster and there we are. TW: We went over to Canada and met the team. They were so excited while we were just like we are just country kids from Tasmania NW: We are extremely grateful for the amazing team and the belief they have in us TW: They love what we are writing, and they want us to write for other artists too, so I feel like we’ve found a really good home
Now you’ve signed the deal, do you start to think why you didn’t do this earlier. TW: It’s something we have tried for many years. Our first trip to Nashville was in 2013, we lived there for two six months periods in 2015/16 and love it over there. The signing of the deal has been one of our goals that we’ve been working towards. NW: They always say Nashville is a 10-year town, you have to live there and be engrained and be part of the city while what we are doing is kind of new and a sign of the times. TW: The team said it’s catch 22. The big thing for us is coming from a different place with different influences which will work in our favour while the worst thing if that you’re not here in Nashville. We will work through it and the response we are seeing from streams of No Brakes through the States and Canada is really exciting.
What do you think has click with Australian artists making that move to Nashville? NW: Keith Urban has been a massive factor and influence on us. I don’t think there would be as many artists as there are now without him. Keith used to come and play in Tasmania back in the day to 8 people. To see where he is now is amazing TW: I know someone who saw Keith Urban play on a Monday night in Hobart to like 20 people and they said it was mesmerizing even back then. Recently we’ve seen Morgan Evans do it and it wasn’t that long ago he was opening shows for us so good on him. He’s made the move and back himself. He sent us a message the other night to say congrats on the deal and the next time we are over there, the beers are on him NW: There has been a shift in radio in Australia. It’s not on the mainstream radio in Australia but are seeing the likes of Dan and Shay, Kane Brown, Keith Urban, Morgan Evans creeping into the mainstream. TW: A lot of the mainstream stations are now picking up No Brakes and spinning it. There has been a mindset in Australia that country music is rednecks out in the desert, when it’s this incredible art form with so many different incredible writers, different sound and sub genres within it. Country music is the best genre in the world without a doubt.
Now you are starting to come out of lockdown, what’s coming up next? TW: As soon as we are allowed to tour around Australia, we are going to hit the road hard and that will probably take up the end of our year. We don’t want to release our next album until we can fully tour. If we have the opportunity to promote it in Europe, Canada and the States that will be our opportunity to release NW: This lockdown has forced a lot more DIY style recording, so we’ve sent files that we’ve done at home to be mixed elsewhere around the world. There’re no real restrictions anymore that we have to be at a studio to do stuff so there’s nothing to say we can’t keep making music from here and put new stuff out till we can be there in person. TW: It’s forced some cool stuff to happen. We’ve been able to write with people that we would see around on the road on the touring circuit and say we would write sometime and do a Skype write knowing you will never do it. Everyone has now had to get on board with that, so we’ve been writing with people from the States, locally in Tasmania, it’s not the same as writing in the room together but good stuff is coming. With change comes opportunity.
Hopefully we can have you over in the UK and Europe very soon and the fans can embrace The Wolfe Brothers. TW: I’m just going to come live there one day! According to our Spotify stats last year we grew over 300% in Germany NW: It’s really interesting to see where people are listening to us around the world TW: I just want to know are they all sat around a speaker or is it at parties, it’s special that we have the technology to see this. With lockdowns being eased we will be back on the road soon and it is a bucket list of ours to go play in the UK.
Be sure to check out No Brakes and keep an eye on the Country in the UK socials for the latest news from The Wolfe Brothers as we hope to welcome them to these shores very soon.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks