FOR a band from the Sunshine Coast, it's natural that The Floating Bridges have such easy-going, sun-drenched music.
So it's surprising to learn they started out life as a metal band.
"We all met in high school and were playing in metal bands in our younger days," guitarist Jimmy Haseler tells Weekender.
"We found that playing heavier music was a bit of a niche market and thought it was time to play something that was a bit more widely listened to."
The result is an uplifting brand of chilled reggae-rock, including latest single Eloquence, led by Haseler and bass player Cale Fisher. The duo experimented with an acoustic drum project before The Floating Bridges was formed, but now collaborate on songs with Dale Mallett (vocals/percussion), guitarist Johnny Curran and drummer Dan Taylor.
"Usually me, Cale end up writing, like, the bass format for a song and then we just bring that into the rehearsal room and go from there," says Haseler, pictured far right. "Songs always take shape over time, as well, when we start playing them live."
The transition from studio to stage is an easy one, Haseler says, because they don't use elements of production that are difficult to reproduce live.
Their live style will be on show when they perform at The Cambridge on November 28, recently honed by a stint supporting roots legends Katchafire on the Queensland leg of their national tour.
Haseler says the experience has been an incredibly motivating one for the band.
"It's been great getting a taste of playing in front of the crowds those guys are sort of used to all the time," he says.
"Having that opportunity has helped us immensely: we know where we wanna be and where we wanna go, so yeah we can feel good about the fact that we've had that opportunity and hopefully we get another one."
The Floating Bridges' tour, which will take them down much of the east coast, will be a chance to gauge the reaction to their most recent song, which they say has been a slow burner so far.
"Eloquence is actually a song which I wrote," Haseler says.
"It's a love song, sort of finding that dream-weaver, that person out there, you know they're out there somewhere but you can't quite find them.
"The reaction's been going well, it's sort of taken off slowly I think. Hopefully once we do this tour run down to Sydney and Melbourne that'll help give the song a bit more of a boost."
Though the band are releasing an album early next year, Eloquence is not a taste of things to come: Haseler says they'll be sticking to their traditional roots-reggae songwriting style.
From their earlier days as a metal act to their current incarnation as a roots band, Haseler says he and his bandmates have always been interested in exploring deeper issues, such as social justice.
One particular focus is the local indigenous people of the Sunshine Coast, who they have been working with for some time, including at a local indigenous festival which is no longer run.
"We're in touch with local elders and people that are involved with the Gubbi Gubbi tribe, which is the tribe around this area on the Sunshine Coast," Haseler says.
"They've had a lot of influence on our sound and we really like to try and focus on issues and making people aware of issues . . . It's all a part of our vibe and our energy that we like to put out there.
"We've had a couple of close friends who are members of the tribe and I think a lot of that came out through our music when we first started - we were spending a lot of time out at the Woodford Folk Festival."
The band have also forged a connection with Newcastle, where they say they have a small group of devoted fans who can expect an "all-round good time" when the band take to the stage.
"You can expect a high-energetic show, we'll be looking to get the crowd dancing, feet moving, and expect some serious rocking out as well," Haseler says.
"We've played a few times in Newcastle before, so we've got a little local following down that way - really we're hoping to start stamping our territory a bit more down there."
With the release of their new album in February or March of next year, the band will embark on another tour through Melbourne and Sydney, before heading over to Europe mid-year. They hope to make a name for themselves in the UK, Ireland and Germany, after a successful New Zealand trip last year paved the way for international performance.
"It's all uncharted waters for us, so as usual we're always learning as we go."
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