The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect Photo: Tony Mott

Kurt Goedhart sounds remarkably cheery for a man who has had his holidaying interrupted by a string of interviews. The Butterfly Effect guitarist is with his extended family, enjoying the surf on North Stradbroke Island. As if to confirm this, a flock of particularly excitable seagulls squawk in the background.

Goedhart says he, bassist Glenn Esmond and drummer Ben Hall are on the hunt for a new frontman or woman. And at this stage, he says everything is open.

Excited? Just remember these are some big shoes to fill.

''We're trying to replace one of the better hard-rock singers in Australia, so it's going to take time and we want to do it right,'' Goedhart says. ''When it's right, we'll let everyone know. We can't come out with anything that's any less than what we've done in the past. We're pumped, we're excited, we're writing some brilliant music and having some great singers get in touch with us. It's the unknown but it's looking to be really f---ing exciting.''

''You never know what it's going to sound like until you find your singer,'' he says. ''Then you start writing together and you start piecing it together and it sort of formulates itself. It's definitely not going to be a pop-rock record, I can tell you that much. Heavier seems to be what we're all enjoying at the moment.''

It has been turbulent few months for the Brisbane band. In February, singer Clint Boge announced he would be leaving the group in what appeared to be less than amicable circumstances. The news came as a shock to fans but Goedhart explains that a split in the group's ranks had seemed all but inevitable for a long while.

''The band's pretty much been on the downward spiral for a fair few years now,'' he says. ''Obviously [it would be new for] the fans, [because] our own affairs are our own affairs and we like to keep them internal.

''Even the last record we did was very disjointed. We haven't seemed to be able to find our swing, our groove or whatever it is that you need to find.''

Given the strained circumstances behind its creation, it is unsurprising to hear that the band remain unsatisfied with Final Conversation of Kings.

''As an album goes, it makes a great EP,'' he says. ''I mean, no one can even agree upon songs we like or whether it's a good record or not, so it's a pretty ambiguous point, the whole record. It's for the best - just get out of there.''

Relations between Boge and the rest of the band have thawed to the point where the original four will embark on one final tour together, as a mark of respect to the Butterfly Effect's dedicated fan base.

Less contentious was the tracklisting for the new album Effected, which is a limited release put together to commemorate Boge's turn with the band. Goedhart refers to it a compilation of fan favourites from over the years.

''I think it's only available at shows. We're only getting a few thousand printed … something I guess the four of us can sign because it's the last time [we] will be together.''

While it's been tough at times, a highlight of the band's past decade for Goedhart was watching the audiences increase after each successive release.

''From the first EP that we released, it was a slow burn of watching the shows get bigger,'' he says. ''When the first album came out, it rose to new heights and then Imago came out and that rose to new heights again. Those release times, the ensuing tours and the increased numbers and increased energy and atmosphere and vibe in the room; the electricity builds each time and that's a really exciting thing to be around.

''[I'm looking forward to] just getting back to converting fans. From people that don't really know you or maybe have heard about you from a friend or been dragged along or heard a song on the internet, or whatever it may be, going in and winning them over for the first time is always very exciting.''

Goedhart is particularly proud of the Butterfly Effect's involvement in Australia's hard-rock movement, where the four-piece and peers such as Cog and Karnivool have ushered prog-tinged guitar music into the mainstream.

''I used to love going to gigs from '94 onwards,'' he says. ''From Brisbane alone, we had Pangea, Regurgitator, Custard, Powderfinger, Ammonia. There were so many bands coming out. I remember seeing this movement of bands come through and that was such an exciting time for music.''

An energy that is building again, with heavy, guitar-based music in Australia going through a renaissance.

''A whole new movement is happening and that's only in the past four or five years and now it's booming. Look at Parkway Drive and Amity. They're playing [a huge Brisbane venue like] The River Stage. I see that and I get very excited,'' he says. ''It's a constant evolution and I like seeing Australia broadening. It's not just Cold Chisel and John Farnham any more, now we've got metal and we've got prog rock. There's so many things happening and it's great to see these new markets opening and booming.''

It's a perfect time, then, for The Butterfly Effect to begin its next phase.

None of us can wait to see what will happen next. Now go warm up those vocal cords.

The Butterfly Effect

WITH: Numbers Radio, Greenthief

WHEN: Wednesday, 8pm

WHERE: University of Canberra Refectory

TICKETS: $47 + bf from oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets or $55 on the door if available

Peter Krbavac is a Canberra music writer, musician and radio presenter with 2XX