Years roll by, but rock legend Seymour looks to future
Mark Seymour's 10th album Slow Dawn marks a milestone - he's now released more solo records than albums former band Hunters & Collectors made.
"Years roll by," Seymour says.
"Hunters were together about 18 years - we made a lot of records very quickly. But making music is also what I do."
Slow Dawn, with his new band The Undertow, is full of travel tales, from taking a train across America last year on Applewood Road to observations from South Africa (Kliptown Mud) and historic Australian tales.
Johanna is written for, and named after, his wife - capturing them driving across New Zealand in an unroadworthy car with a "lazy clutch" - marrying a road song with a love song. "I've had an obsession with car songs for a while - people don't write them anymore - this is my third car song now. I've written so many songs about Jo, I've never actually put her name on one before."
When the pandemic hit, Seymour didn't move his album's release, but did swap the record's first single. The radio-ready Night Driving (co-written with his mate James Reyne) was put on hold in favour of stunning ballad The Whole World is Dreaming, about the full-circle "comforting" moment of his mother singing to him as a child, and him singing to her in her final moments.
"We decided to release a lullaby," Seymour says. "It has this really strong reflective feeling. It felt like the song that matched the times we're in. I'm not that particularly good at Zeitgeist, but I went there."
The COVID-19 crisis has seen Hunters & Collectors' reformation shows for Red Hot Summer Tour put on hold, hopefully to take place later this year, while Seymour's Never Again tour with James Reyne has been bumped to start in June next year. The two play one solo set each, then combining for a joint final performance.
Punters who buy tickets get a CD of Slow Dawn - "I hope it counts for the chart!"
Seymour spent the summer touring with Hunters & Collectors, the band's second major reformation since splitting in 1998.
With much-loved anthems Holy Grail, Do You See What I See, Talking to a Stranger, Say Goodbye, When the River Runs Dry and Throw Your Arms Around Me (recently performed by Seymour on Music from the Home Front), they're a perfect fit for festivals.
"Hunters is this massive machine, it lives in its own space," Seymour says. "People just want to hear those big songs. You just have to make sure you're fit because it's so full on."
He has always said there are no plans to ever make new Hunters music. Has that changed? "I'm not trying to find some artistic sweet spot between the two bands, it doesn't exist. I don't really have any interest in new Hunters music, but then again, there's no one approaching me about it either. I haven't worked out what I would say if that happens."
Slow Dawn is out now. Tickets for the Never Again tour in 2021 available from markseymour.com.au
Originally published as Years roll by, but rock legend Seymour looks to future