Josh and Sam Teskey realized their calling was soul music while growing up on the outskirts of Melbourne. The Australian brothers spent their childhood devouring classic soul hits that they heard from their family and around town, eventually writing their own and starting a band called The Teskey Brothers. In 2017, they released their debut self-produced album, Half Mile Harvest, after recording it in their home studio. It immediately gained attention for its authentic and original soul tunes, and they started embarking on world tours. Their next tour is hitting the States this week and The Teskey Brothers will be playing the Belly Up next Thursday, May 30th (free before 9 p.m.).
I caught up with founding member and the lead singer of The Teskey Brothers, Josh Teskey, while he was packing to leave shortly on a three-month tour of the United States and Europe. I cut right to the chase because I was unsure how much my call to Australia was going to cost…
Time Out: How did soul music enter your life on the outskirts of Melbourne?
Josh Teskey: In the area, here, where we live there is a really big blues scene locally. A lot of the musicians we grew up watching and learning from were doing their version of blues and soul. We were surrounded by it and, somehow, it was all around us.
TO: Are Australians especially into soul?
JT: I was listening to Stax Records even when I was first trying to play guitar as a kid. As a 12-year-old singing and busking, even then I was singing in this kind of screaming, you know, sort of blues and soul voice. It was a way to get your voice across the market, where me and my brother were first playing, trying to project our voices and get people’s attention, to get a couple of bucks in the guitar case.
TO: How did The Teskey Brothers become an internationally-touring band after releasing a self made album?
JT: We never saw it coming. All the music we have ever written and all the music we’ve ever recorded: we’ve done it on our own terms and done it because it’s the kind of music we love. We’ve really done it for ourselves and the local listeners out here.
TO: When you started playing soul music, did you think it would take you this far?
JT: It really baffles us. We didn’t realize there would be such a want for soul but people have really responded to this old style of recording, making a record that is not only influenced by music from the ’60s and ’70s but also recorded that way. It seemed to gel with people and they had a nice response to it and we had the opportunity to play festivals and several things overseas. I guess it’s a small world these days with social media and digital streaming and it’s amazing. It still baffles me that you can travel over to the other side of the world and people know about your music through finding it on the Internet. I don’t think this would have been possible 10 or 20 years ago but for us there has been an amazing response.
TO: Is soul music making a comeback?
JT: There is a resurgence of soul that is coming out. Here in Melbourne alone there is an incredible amount of bands that have influenced us with their blues and soul. Also, we are getting influenced from music on the other side of the world and it seems like it is one big, you know, soul stew going on around the world. It’s fantastic.
TO: Have you played in Colorado before?
JT: We made a bunch of stops in Colorado on our first tour in the States. We played the Belly Up one time on that first trip. We love that venue. That was awesome fun playing up there.
Writing this article was awesome fun for John Zelazny. He appreciates your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.