Steve Hensby, defining his own sound


Supplied by Steve Hensby

Sharni Hamann, Reporter

Steve Hensby is one of Perth’s favourite original artists.

Hensby is well known for his solo work, his band The Steve Hensby Band, touring in duo mode with his partner Elysia and joining local cover bands.

Like many artists, Hensby’s musical influences stem from his childhood in a household that played a diverse range of music, with iconic artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles and INXS, as well as a global range of sounds shaping his taste in music.

However, Hensby is also a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and said that his six or so years spent studying shaped him as an artist.

“Some of my professors and lecturers toured with the Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin in the ’70s.”

Hensby and his band have a distinct sound that can be challenging to describe, even for the man himself, thanks to his worldly exposure to music. However, he describes his latest project as “funk, soul and groove orientated”.

For new listeners, Hensby recommends listening to Times Up from the band’s latest album Chase the Sun. The song is a collaboration with Optimus from Downsyde that “kicks off the album and encapsulates what we are doing”.

Rather than aiming for success by producing the kind of music that is already popular, Hensby aims to produce new music that challenges him as an artist and allows him to grow. In taking this path, he cites artists such as David Bowie and Joni Mitchell as inspiration.

He explained that if they did a record in a particular way, once they had done it, they didn’t repeat it or do something super-similar. It was done, and they’d put that into the world and then they would move on and try to do something different. “That’s something I try and strive to do instead of pumping out the same songs,” said Hensby.

The Steve Hensby Band not only consists of Hensby and his partner Elysia, but also a five-piece horn section comprising of three saxophones, a trumpet and trombone.

Every artist has a defining moment in their career, whether it be their first single or their first concert but when I spoke to Hensby, he cited a few memorable moments.

Hensby and his partner toured the UK in duo form in January, with Hensby organising the entire tour himself with no managers or booking agents.

“I just wrote a load of emails, over a thousand, to folk clubs in England.

“It just shows what you can do with a bit of grit and determination and hard work.”

He also notes playing local festivals like Nannup and Fairbridge with large crowds as incredible experiences, but going into the studio and creating music is also his passion.

He speaks highly of his band saying, “the musicians that I have the absolute privilege of playing with are incredibly inspiring, definitely as a writer, to do new songs but then just also as a musician.

“I’m very lucky to have them not only as musicians, but as friends.”

Hensby is working on new music with a new album anticipated for late this year or early next year.

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