I recently caught up with Jamie Hutchings about his new project Infinity Broke and their upcoming final home show before heading over to France for their first international tour as a group.
In your new project Infinity Broke, you are joined by Jared Harrison also a member of Bluebottle Kiss, your brother Scott Hutchings in addition to your brother-in-law Rueben Hills, all members which you have collaborated with over the span of your solo projects. How did this new project come about?
Pretty naturally. We’ve played in various configurations over the years. Scott and I did a duo tour through Europe in 2010, Reuben, Jared and I did one with the three of us the year after. Given that we were all in the same city we thought it’d be the course of wisdom to create something chunky and percussion heavy with the four of us.
How would you describe Infinity Broke’s sound and how does it differ from your previous projects?
It’s kind of hypnotic and guttural. The aim of my solo work was to shy away from anything bombastic and suck the listener in via more naked arrangements. With Infinity Broke we wanted to fence the songs in with this industrial strength polyrhythmic approach with Scott and Jared’s double drum/percussion line-up. We’d taken that approach to an extent with my last solo record, Avalon Cassettes, but in a way more subtle, minimalist way. With Infinity Broke that element is amped up, as is pretty much everything else, repetition and noise figure a lot in the brew.
With this new project, creatively, what new opportunities has this allowed you to explore?
Personally it’s allowed me to take my guitar playing in a more absurd, free-form direction. I like to let my guitar act like it’s a bird trapped in a room where Jared and Scott are big fat security guards.
Creatively, how do you work together as a group? What are the elements that work well and what are some of the challenges?
Originally, I’d cut some basic demos with more of a traditional rock group approach and Jared, Reuben and I had been working on the tunes with that approach. When Scott came back we thought it’d be interesting and challenging to have him add counter rhythms with assorted drums and found percussive bits and pieces. We then had to cater the material to what would work best with that approach. Standing in front of that clatter really set things off. I should also mention that Reuben’s bass playing adds what I think is a ’70’s soul element to things as well. He plays with his fingers a lot of the time. He’s a black man stuck in a Hungarian’s body.
What are some of the band’s musical influences?
There’s definitely that angsty noise-rock base coming from listening to bands like Crow, Come and even older stuff like Beefheart but the main influences on River Mirrors were more rhythmic/psychedelic records like Tago Mago by Can and On the Corner by Miles Davis. I was also being inspired by a lot of unconventional guitar players like Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey and Keiji Haino. In the end though, I still write all my songs on an acoustic guitar so it’s always going to have that singer/songwriter element with the lyrics and melodies I come up with.
After many years of playing acoustically on the majority of your solo projects, you have returned to your electric guitar. You mention on your website that you have enjoyed picking up your ‘battered’ Fender Jazzmaster again. It sounds like your guitar might have some stories of its own.
My guitar is a bit like a cabbage that’s been left to its own devices in a fridge for a year or so. It’s developed its own ecosystem due to my lack of maintenance/guitar hygiene. It’s also been hurt very very badly, many many times at shows. Which explains why it screams every time it gets plugged in.
You had the opportunity to record the debut album in a former shearing shed in Western NSW, how was that experience?
It was beautiful as you’d imagine, particularly given that we all live in the city. Outdoor showers, nothing for miles. Clothes were kept to a minimum, the temperature in Bathurst in January is very unkind. Despite the way the record sounds we felt very dopey and peaceful.
The band released their debut album earlier this year, followed by your first national tour. How did you find your first touring experience together as a band?
Well we’ve spent plenty of time together over the years. Everyone pretty much has the open ended attitude of turning up and being open to whatever experience the show offers, good or bad. No diva has emerged…yet.
The band is about to head to France for it’s first overseas tour as a group, what are you most looking forward to?
The usual culinary delights of course. Playing a lot without having to drive ten hours…if only we could shrink Australia somehow when we tour! All the characters, little towns, bays, churches. And playing the Binic Folk Blues Festival is always a total blast. It has very little to do with folk or blues.
You are playing one last show in Sydney before you head overseas, what can we expect from your bon-voyage show?
We had originally planned to fire Reuben out of a cannon mid performance as he’s the most robust member of the group. However on checking the venues capacity we realised it was simply not possible on this occasion. Which was disappointing. We do however promise punters an epiphonous, transcendental rock and roll realisation if they attend our farewell extravaganza.
Originally written and published for the Au review- http://www.theaureview.com