BEL Air have only played in Melbourne once, but their second gig will be at the hottest show in town – the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
The Ballarat band – comprised of bassist Josh Knight, guitarist Cam Swanson, guitarist and vocalist Dylan Young and drummer Edan Strachan – was put on the Laneway bill after winning The Very West competition.
The competition was presented by Footscray Community Arts Centre and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in a bid to support emerging musicians from Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Bel Air will take to the stage on February 1, alongside other singers and bands including Adalita, Cloud Control, Lorde, The Jezabels and Vance Joy.
Knight said the band members were still coming to terms with the fact they were performing at the festival.
“It’s pretty surreal really. We haven’t even been playing as a band for a year yet, so it’s surprising and we’re pretty stoked about the whole thing,” Knight said.
Formerly known as Death by Snu Snu, Bel Air changed its name in last May and has since seen a rise in popularity.
The band won the local FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands competition late last year before going on to win the Northern Country regional final and qualifying for the grand final, set to take place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in March.
"Half our members are doing Year 12"
This year the quartet also hopes to release an EP while expanding its reach beyond Ballarat, even though two of its members will be completing their final year of high school.
“We’re always writing music and hopefully we’ll be able to put our name out there and be seen as a fresh new band,” Young said.
“Half our members are doing Year 12 this year, but we’re going to try and move away from the stigma of being a high school band.”
Knight said his band was lucky to have had the support of co-managers Lachie Anderson and Shaun Adams as well as live music venue Karova Lounge.
“Over the last year, Lachie has really pushed us out there and got us to shows while putting everything in the band and it’s been really good for us,” he said.
“Without that, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Bel Air will perform a Laneway warm-up show at Karova Lounge on January 25. The Melbourne leg of the festival has sold out.