Hailing from Byron Bay, Australia, sibling trio The Buckleys recently launched a virtual North American Tour, presented by Live Nation on its Live from Home platform. The Buckleys perform virtually for American audiences on Thursday, April 9, Friday, April 10, and Saturday, April 11.
Each day of shows is customized for a group of US cities, and DC is included in the April 11 performances.
A young band, The Buckleys have immersed themselves in country songwriting via Nashville. Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah Buckley (lead vocals, guitar), Molly Buckley (vocals, mandolin), and Lachlan Buckley (guitar) via Zoom. They discussed their experiences in Nashville, their upcoming album, and their web documentary series.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
Mickey McCarter: The Buckleys are setting off on a virtual tour with Live Nation! Can you tell me what that looks like?
Sarah Buckley: Well, we were supposed to be going out on the road this year, but with everything, with the virus, and that pushed everything back. A lot of people are rearranging what they’re doing, and working out how to go about things, so we come up with this idea of a virtual tour.
Molly Buckley: It’s the next best thing, for sure.
SB: Yeah, we’ve set it up, and we’ve fully taken over our house from our parents. “So guys, we’re going to push you out.” It’s basically a production house right now.
We have our little brother, Dylan, on drums. We usually have our musicians play with us when we go out on the road.
Lachlan Buckley: Make do with what we got.
SB: Yeah, I’m learning how to play bass.
And, it’s been really fun. We’re learning a whole bunch of new songs, and yeah, touring virtually, going through all the different parts of North America. So it’s really cool. The people at Live Nation are awesome to work with.
MM: I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, but I’m sure we’ll all entering new territory, where virtual touring is concerned. So it’s pretty interesting. Your tour day in DC with a bunch of other east coast cities in the United States is Saturday, and you’re doing different shows for each day, is that the idea?
SB: Yeah, yeah, we’ll have a brand new show for each day of the tour. And yeah, we’re learning a whole bunch of new songs, and reworking everything.
LB: Different vibes and different shows.
SB: Yeah. So it’ll be fun.
LB: It *is* going to be fun.
Watch the official music video for “Money” by The Buckleys on YouTube:
MM: Your single, your first worldwide single, “Money,” I first heard it last week, and what a fun song. What a terrifically catchy, fun, summery song. And I thought it was something perfect for lightening the mood right now. Can you tell me a little bit about it, and how it came about?
SB: Well, I wrote “Money” over in Nashville with some good friends of mine, Phil Barton and Dave Thomson. I go over there a few times every year.
Then these guys came over to Nashville and recorded it, and made this fun video. We’re inspired by these different ’60s vibes. So really taking this just another direction, and inspiration, which we haven’t explored yet, and we were just experimenting and having loads of fun doing it. We hope it does bring a bit of light and positivity into everyone’s world as well.
A bit of a distraction! Everyone needs it, for sure.
MM: Obviously, in the United States, when we think about big recording centers, Nashville is really hot, and country music and Americana music is pretty hot here right now. And so could tell me a little bit more about the experience of going to Nashville. You were going there just personally, or were you sent there specifically to write songs? Can you give us some background on that?
SB: Totally. Well, we’ve been playing music for as long as we can remember. And our goal when we were little was to get to Nashville. Me and Molly had this teamed up, and we would save up everything. I think I was about 11 years old when we started saving.
MB: I would’ve been nine, and we would busk, play shows, any way we could make money. We put it all the money we made in a tin jar.
SB: And the goal was to get to Nashville by the time I was 16 years old.
MB: Yeah, and eventually we got enough money to get the airfares and all that. So we lugged the entire family over, and did a couple of shows, met some amazing people, one of them being Debbie Throckmorton, who was the band booker at Douglas Corner. And she introduced us to so many amazing people.
SB: So amazing. That’s how I started writing songs. She’s a songwriter, and her dad is Sonny Throckmorton, who is one of America’s most famous songwriters, writing for George Strait, Willie Nelson, and others. And so, that’s how we started writing over there. And we’ve just been going back and forth ever since then, and it kind of grew from there. And then, we met Ted Carlson, our producer, who obviously worked with Taylor Swift and all that. He’s just an amazing producer. We started recording and recorded our first two singles over there, came back, and then got our record deal, and then we went back over and did our album.
SB: It’s pretty crazy. I love being in Nashville. Just the energy is so buzzy, and exciting, and music all the time. Have you been to Nashville?
MM: I have, just a couple of times in recent years. It’s amazing to me how much it’s exploding. It’s growing. There is so much construction and so much stuff going on there right now. It’s fantastic.
SB: Yeah, even from our first trip, which was like in 2016 or so, to the last one last year, the city’s changed so much, and that’s in a very short amount of time. It’s growing really fast.
Watch The Buckleys livestream performance captured from their North American Virtual Tour presented by Live Nation on April 4:
MM: Did you play in Nashville when you were there?
SB: Yeah, we played in Nashville before.
LB: We did three shows.
MM: Oh yeah?
SB: Yeah, we played Music City Roots with Jim Lauderdale.
SB: So that was pretty special. That was about three years ago now I think. And our very first show was at Douglas Corner, where Debbie Throckmorton booked us.
MB: We were invited to play the Bluebird as well, which was a really big deal for us, especially because Bluebird’s such an iconic place in Nashville. So, that was amazing.
SB: We can’t wait to get back. And yeah, we can’t wait to get back when this whole thing blows over, and play as much of America as we can.
MM: Tell me about the upcoming album. You’ve got some songs in your pocket, I assume, and you’re looking at a next album where “Money” will be the lead single?
SB: Yeah, totally. The album will come out later this year. We’re really excited about the whole sound and everything. I went over to Nashville a week before these guys did and wrote a bunch more songs. We had all the songs picked out, and then rewrote like half the album a few days before we recorded it. And we’re super, super stoked about it.
We’re super, super passionate about. And we approached it almost like we were making an album in the ’70s, where every song isn’t a single, like not every song is just single, single, single. It’s really like a journey, and a body of work, and captures every bit of us, where we are right now. And that was the priority, just to be really authentic and see where we could go. And our producer Ted is just awesome on that level, and making it cohesive at the same time. We’re really, really excited about it.
MM: I love that you said that like it’s supposed to be a journey, because I feel like so many people concentrate on just putting out singles now instead of the whole listening experience of an entire album. So it’s very encouraging that you say that, in my opinion.
SB: Oh, thanks. Yeah, well we love listening to records like Carol King’s Tapestry and Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Those albums are some of our favorites, so we just love that when you put on a record and it’s *the whole thing*. And some of the songs might not be singles, but some of those will be someone’s favorite songs on the album. So there’s a bit of something, and it’s all the colors of the rainbow.
MM: I have to ask you guys, since it’s so recent in the memory of Australia, you guys had a horrific wildfire season, and now the pandemic obviously, so it’s one disaster to another. But did that affect you, or was that on the other side of the country?
LB: There were some pretty close fires, it was maybe 30 to 40 minutes away from us, and our whole area was covered in smoke.
MB: Luckily, we’re in a very safe part. We’re up on a massive hill, so nothing really reaches us. But yeah, you go 30 minutes inland, and it’s really devastating, and the smoke builds up in the air as well.
SB: It was really, really scary.
MB: We missed the first half of the really bad part because we were in Nashville recording, but it was very, very scary.
LB: We did do a series of fundraiser shows for the fire zone. I think we raised at least $20,000.
SB: We did one show that raised about $25,000. We played for the Country Music Association of Australia. That was really good, and we tried to help out wherever we could. And yeah, it was just really devastating in a lot of ways.
Watch Part 1 of Meet the Buckleys on YouTube:
MM: I’m glad you were OK! Are you guys working on anything else we should discuss?
SB: We just put out the first episode of Meet the Buckleys, or one part of the series, which is our documentary!
We worked with Travis Smith and his team on it, and it really documents our journey through the music industry, and from when we were babies because we’ve playing music our whole entire lives. So we have so much archival footage of us playing when we were little, and it just shows our journey to now. And it’s really special to us, and we’re super excited about that.
A part of the documentary series comes out every Friday. The first one’s out. The next one will come out this Friday. So, with the virtual tour, there’s lots going on. We’re definitely keeping busy.