Australian Airbourne was formed in 2003 by brothers Joel and Ryan O’Keeffe. There’s something about the kind of potent rock and roll fury that Airbourne cranks out, all cylinders firing, that makes you want to chug a beer or two straight down your throat … Their music, like new album No Guts. No Glory (2010, released via Roadrunner Records), is a perfect soundtrack for drunken debauchery, and “that’s what we’re here for, mate” says rowdy lead guitarist and vocalist Joel O’Keeffe. But today my chat-mate is the bands drummer, Ryan, and with a neat Aussie dialect, he greets me… knowing that we’ll have only a short time for this interview, so lets go for it …
Hi Ryan, and welcome to Italy! how’re you today?
Hi Tarja! I’m good thanks, it’s good to be here.
Tonight you’ll play in Milan, how are you going to prepare yourself for it?
Umm, I guess, you know just have a beer and get ready, grab my drum sticks and head down and what happens after that is always something different but exotic. Just easy going now, you know, and saving the energies for the stage.
Really good, basically we’ve made the sets 50/50, so 50 percent from “Runnin’ Wild” and 50 percent from “No Guts.No Glory” and they’re standing up next to each other quite well. But yeah, it’s been going down really well and we’ve been playing just as many songs as we can, to fill just as many people as we can, and it’s just picking up really well.
I’ve read somewhere that while recording this album, you actually slept in the studio. Why so?
Yeah, we sort of slept behind the drum kit, it allowed us to be closer to the album and really work on it the way we wanted to, ummm, I guess we could have just recorded it at 3 am if we wanted to. Working like this we were in studio for 3 months.
No Guts.No Glory includes 13 songs, is there a connection between them? How you came up with the album title, which is not a track name…
Yeah, the title track… It’s just a presentation of what the band is and this presentation we take every night to the audience and will be doing so for the next 20 to 30 years, it’s an album with experiences taken from the road, experiences taken from the beginning of the band, the beginning of Australia. There’re no stories. The songs are all part of our lives. What we see, hear, drink and love and more.
What are the main differences, if any, concerning your last full-length “Running Wild”?
Yeah I guess we have couple of faster tracks, couple of slower tracks, so it expands a little wider in a way, but it is sort of the same.
All the Airborne songs are written by you and your brother Joel, How you two actually do your writing together?
Well we do a lot of work on the road and eventually we find a place to sort of knuckle-down and get writing on the lyrics and the songs… basically, so while we’re on the road we just gather the material and eventually when we get off the road we get in to a room somewhere and set up a gear and start playing and getting the songs together. Doing the best we can.
Stand up for rock and roll and have a good time! And that’s what normally happens when people have few drinks they have a good time, they jump around. That’s always good to see and makes us have a better time on stage.
Now you’re touring in Europe, and as said, tonight you’ll play in Milan, how has it gone for far?
It’s been great. We spend majority of our year over here in Europe touring and it’s always fantastic, the food’s great, the crowd is fantastic and we always get many memories from it, all the time, so we’re gonna continue touring I guess until mid next year and then hopefully we’ll start making our next record late next year and have it done hopefully around mid 2012 and be back on the road.
I guess you’ve played already in Italy and in Finland… do you see some differences between these countries?
Yeah we’ve played in both countries few times and they’re always good to come back to. I guess in a way all the countries are similar but in a different way, the crowd’s always the same, and they really get in to it, but the food is always different which is great. It’s adventure of different tastes.
While not touring or having gigs or rehearsals, what are you doing normally?
Well, we’re pretty much at the pub really, so when we’re not on the road, we rehearsal for the next album, so few days here and there that we have off, we like to have few beers really, haha!
Haha, yeah you can say so… Umm, Umm, can’t really remember much, haha!! yeah I couldn’t pick up only one concert, but each of them has been good so far.
Two years ago you won many “newcomer of the year” awards. So how are things different now that you are not a new band anymore?
Yeah, I guess everything is more established now and we’re not a newcomer anymore. We’re now playing more and doing lots of touring. We just hope to keep continue doing it, yeah.
A big part of Airbourne’s growing success has been gained through several video games… can you tell us about this?
Yeah, this is for us another media, people are listening our music in a different way, while playing the games on our songs. It gives a different kind of feeling, and it kind of works, yeah.
I’ve heard that you’re often compared to AC/DC… do you agree? How would YOU describe your music?
Yeah, AC/DC is a fantastic band, also they’re coming from Australia and are playing good rock’n roll. There’s probably no other better band to be compared to! And how would I describe our music… well, it’s honest pub rock’n roll that we do, yeah that’s it.
I know that you’ve opened concerts for Mötley Crüe, Motorhead and The Rolling Stones! How was it? and who was the best act you’ve toured with?
Well, it was fantastic to play with all of them. It’s hard to say which one was the best one, but each of them were fantastic in their own way. Working with these guys, with big productions and see how they put a 100% on what they do, it makes you really appreciate what they do. It’s been really an honor!
What are your next plans, after this tour?
Yeah, we’ll be basically touring still up untill the mid of next year, and playing in several festivals, and then there’ll be the summer season, and stuff like that. Yeah, then we’ll start working and writing on the 3rd album next year, and get the thing done.
…and maybe also a holiday, a couple of days?
Well, we don’t really get that, haha. We just love touring and being on stage.
The last question, a must… what would you like to say to your fans?
Yeah, that we just have fantastic time, each time we come to Italy and to Finland. It has always been memorable. We’ll be back as soon as possible, we’re looking forward to it. Keep rocking!
Ryan, now I let you go for preparations, and maybe … for a couple of beers, lol. Have fun tonight!
Thanks Tarja, will be done!