The Buckleys are an Australian, sibling trio band deeply rooted in country music. They started their careers busking at the Tamworth Country Music Festival where they ended up being in the top ten qualifiers of the busking competition. This launched their visions of their futures and they set out with dreams of coming to Nashville. Since they’ve been in Nashville, The Buckleys have been reinventing country music, producing their own version that’s blended with all of their favorite artists and genres. In early November, they played the final set at Whiskey Jam, hosted by Winners. I had the opportunity to get to know the family band on a more personal level under the neon lights of Velvet Taco.
What are your favorite spots to grab food around here?
- Sarah: We love Frothy Monkey in 12 South. When we were recording our EP last time, me and Molly literally ate there every day. This trip, we’re in Hillsboro and there’s this great taco joint…Taco Mamacita. It is so good. I’ve been having tacos every day.
What’s something you miss eating in Australia?
- Sarah: Oh, Kangaroo.
- Lachlan: That is savage.
- Sarah: I know, but it is really good though. It’s pretty nice.
- Lachlan: I miss kangaroo and sourdough bread…is that weird?
- Molly: I miss our breakfasts. We have really good breakfast in Australia. It’s just so fresh.
- Sarah: It’s so weird being in America and saying we eat kangaroo because to us it’s just another type of meat.
So your first trip to Nashville was back in 2016. Was it everything you ever imagined? Did it meet all of your expectations?
- Lachlan: I’d say it was definitely more than we expected.
- Sarah: We learned a lot that first trip, we didn’t even know what a publishing bill was when we first came. So yeah, it taught us a lot, taught us how to co-write. Overall, it was a pretty awesome, eye-opening experience.
- Lachlan: We’d never experienced something like Nashville before, even though it seems so normal for everyone that lives here. We’re from country town—
- Molly: I’d say we’re more from coastal but—
- Sarah: It was more so how music is happening all around here all the time, like literally every day of the week. And you know, the songwriting community has been so welcoming to us, and the live music scene around here is amazing. It’s just music, music, music.
When you were considering starting music and making your plans to come to Nashville, had you already decided country music was the genre you wanted to break into?
- Sarah: We grew up listening to and surrounded by all types of music, but country music was of course a big influence on us growing up. That was kind of the first thing we started playing when we were starting to become a family band, but then as we grew we started experimenting with other styles that we had also grown up listening to. You know, we started blending influences and writing things that were really authentic. It ends up coming out a bit of country, rock and roll, and blues.
- Molly: We’ve never had the mindset of like, we play country and only country. That’s where we found our home and our base, which is amazing—we love it. But we’re definitely not narrow-minded when it comes to genres; we love everything.
In the future, do you see your style changing over time?
- Sarah: I feel like it evolves, but we’ll always have all the flavors of country. I mean, we listen to everything, so it’s kind of impossible to narrow our sound down to one thing.
- Molly: As far as the roots, it will always be in country.
How do you compete while being authentic to your sound?
- Sarah: The most important thing to us is trying to stay authentic. All of our favorite bands were always true to themselves and honest. Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, even Taylor Swift or Queen, whoever it is, I feel like don’t really have a defined genre necessarily. But its all about being authentic to who you are and who you are at that specific moment because it’s always changing.
Is there a specific artist that you’ve dreamed of collaborating and working with?
- Sarah: Honestly anyone.
- Lachlan: I think mine would be the Black Keys or Silverchair.
- Sarah: Or like Greta Van Fleet. That would be sick.
- Molly: I’m just going to put it out there in the world, but Leon Bridges. I just love him.
What is it like writing music and working together as a family band?
- Lachlan: Even though we’ll always have different answers, we all love the same artists.
- Sarah: We respect each other’s takes as well.
- Lachlan: I’d say you could split it up. There’s artists only I like and I listen to. Then there’s artists me and her [Sarah] listen to that she [Molly] doesn’t but then me and Molly share similar artists and it just keeps going. It just constantly changes. But we can also tell eachother, “alright your idea sucks”.
- Sarah: We are brutally honest with each other, sometimes lethal.
Have you changed at all since the beginning of your band’s journey?
- Sarah: I sure hope so, we were pretty young when we first started. I feel like our style has definitely improved and our taste.
- Lachlan: Literally everything has changed, everything about us, especially our mentality.
- Molly: We started when we were like 10. So it’s sort of inevitable to grow up and change. A lot of good lessons, some hard ones but mostly good for us.
- Lachlan: Especially in the music industry as well, it’s constantly changing too.
What has it been like splitting your lives between Australia and Nashville?
- Sarah: I mean our first challenge was just getting here. I came here for the first time when I was 16 and then again when I was 18. I stayed here, like just by myself, for a few months and was just writing. That was like a really big growth moment for me. I had never been by myself anywhere and was just kind of finding my feet, making friends, really growing as a young adult. That was a massive time in my life.
- Molly: I think a big thing was leaving [Australia], and then going so far away and trying to keep momentum. So we come back and forth a lot because we think it’s really important to be on the ground and working in the scene. We don’t want to be ‘from Australia’ we want to put in the work in the actual community.
- Sarah: And also the vocabulary sometimes. With the Australian slang, sometimes people do not understand us.
What is your absolute dream venue or stage?
- Sarah: I’d love to play the Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman one day.
- Lachlan: I wanna be in the Fillmore. That would be a dream of mine. The Fillmore East or West, whichever one.
- Molly: Any, I like them all. Bridgestone for sure.
- Sarah: We were actually supposed to see the Black Pumas at the Ryman, but then I accidentally bought fake tickets. It was like second hand and then I went to get them and they were like ‘oh we actually don’t have your tickets’. And I was like okay, but I still definitely want to see a show at the Ryman.
Is there a specific moment you’re waiting for in your career that would make you say “I’ve officially made it,”?
- Lachlan: I’d say a stadium of people singing along to our songs. I feel like that would be peak for me.
- Molly: If that happened, I would be on my deathbed like, ‘ahh now I rest’.
- Sarah: I don’t feel like I necessarily have a certain moment. I feel like just being able to do what we love every day and be able to write, tour, and record. Having all of those experiences and being able to do something like that would be happy, ya, just happy.
When I was listening to your latest EP ‘Take It As It Comes’ I noticed it had introduced some new sounds and styles we didn’t hear on your first album ‘Daydream’. What did you do differently for this one?
- Sarah: I think a lot of it has to do with the songwriting. When we’re talking about ‘Daydream’, I mean those songs were written what, three or four years ago? So, we’re in a much different place than what we were at 16 years old. We’ve experienced a lot more things and you know, have a bit more of a story to tell as individuals. We have a bit more to say so that’s probably made it a bit more emotional.
- Lachlan: We tracked it in a different studio, had a different drummer, bass player, and it was a rough set up for the guitar as well. I had a cabinet door that I had unscrewed from the Airbnb that I had to use as my pedal board. I needed a different board, mine were all scattered everywhere so I really did just unscrew it and set it on the ground. It was just a whole other experience.
How are each of you involved in the music production side of things? What roles do you play?
- Lachlan: It just changes and alternates between songs. Either we’ll all be writing a song or it’s just us [Molly] two or them two, or sometimes just me or individually.
- Sarah: Ya it really changes but it’s always nice to come back and make it something that’s representative of all three of us, regardless of whether it was written by one of us or two of us or all of us.
What can we expect from your music in the future?
- Sarah: We’re at the very beginning stages of where it’s going to go next. So ya, we’re just kind of going about it right now, we don’t even know, we’ll see!
- Lachlan: There’s so many songs we’ve already written, I mean we’re not going to stop writing. But we’re just going to see where it takes us.
- Sarah: I’m really excited for the next project.
- Lachlan: We just keep on, keep on chooging!
- Molly: What? Chooging?
- Sarah: No one says that, don’t know that word.
Which song resonates with each of you?
- Sarah: One of my favorites is ‘Love Me Wrong’ on the new EP.
- Molly: It feels like a warm hug. We all wrote that one.
- Lachlan: And it just came out in that one day, just like that, so naturally.
- Sarah: It was just us three in the living room the day after we landed in Nashville and it felt like a hug or like watching a novella.
- Lachlan: Or ‘Breathe’, that was a very personal song, even though Sarah wrote that one. It hits super close to home, because it was about our home.
- Molly: And ‘Take It As It Comes’. I don’t know all of them really. We’ll take them all.
Is there any band you aspire to be?
- Sarah: I mean we look up to a lot of bands but I wouldn’t say we aspire to be any of them directly. We kind of want to just make our own route, you know. But we look up to a lot of them like of course, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Eagles, Debby Harry, Shania Twain, the whole lot.
- Lachlan: We want to be a mixture of all these people.
What is the greatest piece of advice your father has given you when it comes to being a musician in this industry?
- Lachlan: Be happy. Try your best just to keep happy.
- Sarah: Everyday he’d be like, if you’re not enjoying what you do then change something, don’t just always be focusing on a goal that you want to reach. Of course you should have goals and ambitions but when it comes to the day to day you should be loving your life and doing what makes you happy.
- Lachlan: If you’re not happy at the end of the day it’s not worth it.
- Molly: I think too, he’s in music on his own and he’s been in the scene for a long time so he’s kind of seen people who don’t really enjoy the process of getting to where they want to go and then they never do reach that point. Then they just end up being very sad human beings for the rest of their lives. He’s seen a lot of people like that, so he really implemented the idea that if you’re not enjoying it now, just don’t do it. It’s a pretty cutthroat industry.
- Lachlan: Positivity, it’s all about positivity.
What would you be if you weren’t doing music?
- Lachlan: I’d probably just be a surf bum.
- Sarah: He’d be like Chicken Joe, you know, from Surfs Up.
- Lachlan: He’s my idol.
- Sarah: It’s hard to say, because I’d hope I’d still be doing in the music industry. Songwriting or like anything really but that could be super cool.
- Molly: Hopefully still music, but if not something in the fashion world would be fun. Or a lawyer. A criminal lawyer. I could be a lawyer, I win all of our arguments.
Do you have any weird hobbies?
- Sarah: I got into learning how to play the accordion for a while. I love it, I just wasn’t very good at it. It was like, really hard.
- Lachlan: Foraging was a phase of mine ya. I was younger though, I was younger.
- Molly: Remember when everyone was doing DIY? They were just making all of these ridiculous things. That was my weird phase. I started stitching my dog’s leads with random patterns, it got so bad.
I heard you guys were in a ‘busking’ competition. Can you tell me a little bit about how you went from playing on the street to a stage in a matter of days?
- Sarah: It’s not a huge thing, busking competitions. It was a small festival. We didn’t even know there was a competition; we were just busking in the street.
- Lachlan: We were all super young too, like nine and ten.
- Sarah: Since the festival had it, if you were busking you were automatically part of the competition. And then we ended up making top ten and going to play on this massive stage in front of a couple thousand people.
- Lachlan: I was up there bare foot, bare feet. It was so overwhelming I was not into it at all. I hated it, I was a negative little kid. But it is now one of my best memories. I mean think about it. We’d only played in a few country clubs here and there and then we were on the street busking. And then all the sudden we’re on the biggest stage at the festival playing for everyone.
- Sarah: It definitely kick-started our vision of what we wanted to do and how we ended up here now.
- Lachlan: Ya, now we’re musicians.
Photography by: Stephanie Swart