Most of us would recognise the unique sound of the duo that is Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou through their recent tracks on the Australian charts. Or perhaps the official theme tune for the 2018 Commonwealth Games? Maybe the official song for Channel 7’s cricket coverage is familiar? And there is also their involvement with the Queensland Tourism campaign. All these combined are absolute proof how relatable their music is and how much Australia loves them.
But there is so much more to these guys than just epic tunes.
This week we had the privilege of catching up with one half of the Ozzie music legends Busby Marou as they take the music charts, our hearts and yes, our mental health, on a journey with their incredible knack of story-telling through their music as they gear up for their Gold Coast concert this Sunday.
We caught up with Tom Busby for a quick chat in between rehearsals.
Tell us a bit about how you guys hooked up and started performing together:
Jeremy and I were both born and raised in Rockhampton but didn’t meet until after school. He was playing in a band with a friend and realised his talent and swooped in when the time was right.
Have you both always been musical? Were you brought up in a family where music was a factor in your upbringing?
We both come from big families and all musical. Our backgrounds are very different, but the combination of the two have helped with our unique sound. Jeremy was brought up with traditional Torres Strait Islander cultural song and dance from an early age and you can hear this influence in our music. It’s beautiful and we are very proud of it!
Tell us a bit about the title track of the new album The Great Divide and why you chose that as the name of your new album:
The track and the Album title are about two very different things. We lost a friend to mental illness a few years ago and the track is loosely inspired by him. He was a very talented music producer and engineer and he taught us everything there was to know about creating an Album. He was going through his own journey and battling and none of us knew to reach out. The song is a story about a similar journey filled with pain but the key message is hope. The Album title is based on the relationship between Jeremy and I. We are different - appearance, culture, beliefs, and it’s about recognising that there is a Great Divide between the worlds we have both come from and celebrating how those differences combine to create a unique and colourful story.
You guys write your own music and there is a common thread with a lot of your songs that is storytelling and even sharing a greater message. Is that an important part of your music?
Definitely. We love telling stories about people and places and things we know. It was never our intention for these stories to have a greater message but it seems they do. We get so many comments that our music helps people through the toughest periods of their lives and to us, that is everything.
Where is your favourite place/town/space to write and/or record your music?
It changes from time to time. We are both very attached to Great Keppel Island on the Capricorn Coast. We always write, rehearse and sometimes record there. But when I need full concentration, I write at my caravan in Fingal Heads. No phone reception and the morning session is spent in the van creating and the afternoon is on the beach writing.
How important is self-care to you and your family and what do you guys do to relax?
The older I get the more important it is. Being on the road is a lot of fun but it can be mentally and physically draining. It’s important to me that I am a good person to be around when I am home with my young family. That means that I exercise a lot more than I used to and make better decisions around food and alcohol - both at home and on the road. If I can sustain that on the road, I have more energy to burn with the kids. Most of that is energy is spent at the beach in our caravan in Fingal or on the tinnie in Currumbin.
Would you say that your music is also a creative outlet and, in some ways, helps your own personal mental health?
I always try to use the song writing process as a medication for tough times. Song writing makes me feel proud and I love that. I always feel a sense of achievement after finishing a song and this empowers my mental state. The hardest part is making the decision to write.