Super Wild Horses make me dance. All swinging shoulders and bouncy knees. Make me open the windows wide. Drink cheap booze and bomb hills on cardboard boxes. Make me think of my sweetheart. Make me sing along. Make me feel like I’m 15. Just drive-ins and scraped knees and fast guitars. Tappety drums and tambourines.
I sent the Melbourne duo questions about their music and their American tour and their friendship.
Could you both paint a bit of a picture of each other?
Five things you should know about Amy:
1: She can dance like Elvis,
2: She makes a mean soup,
3: She volunteers at an Orangutan charity,
4: She’s never been on a roller coaster; and
5: When she get’s nervous she gets really sleepy.
And five about Hayley:
1: She hates spearmint,
2: Is unable to point in the right direction, so when she says “look at that!” and points, you end up looking to the left instead of straight ahead,
3: She has a bit of an English accent still (after 20 years in oz),
4: Was named after a Disney Character; and
5: Bakes the most amazing cakes and cupcakes
What do you do when you aren’t playing music?
Hayley: Apart from hanging with mates, I bake cakes to relax…which is actually work but also fun. Other than that I just started to surf. The first time was when I was in Hawaii this year, since then I’ve been out near Bells Beach. To be honest, I’m pretty shithouse. I’ve stood up on the board once … but it’s fun to be out in the ocean.
Amy: I enjoy hitting the dance floor. I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like, but I’d really have to say that’s one of my absolute favourite fun things. Listening to other people’s music is right up there too and I’m lucky that I get to do that a lot.
What did you do for fun when you were 15?
Hayley: Lots of house parties when the parents were away. Memories of gangs of guys and girls walking through the bush to get to camping spots for night swimming and mischief.
Amy: We had a big group of friends that would get together most weekends – it would often start at Stirk Park where we’d get a longneck or bottle of passion pop ($2.50 in those days) and pool our money for some KFC. There were lots of all-ages gigs on, lots of parties, lots of trying to walk home drunk and having a nap in the bush, riding cardboard boxes down steep roads (we grew up in the hills) and nicking baguettes in the early hours of the morning from the delivery at the door of the local patisserie. We made our own fun – there wasn’t much to do in Kalamunda!
What has been your favourite show and why?
Hayley: My favourite show recently was Leonard Cohen at Hanging Rock. When he recited ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’, I thought my heart and head would implode. There was a full moon and 20,000 people deathly silent hooked on his words. I don’t know how that will ever be beaten.
Amy: For sentimental reasons, it’d have to be seeing Ray Charles play about a year before he died. He’s one of my heroes and someone I never thought I’d get to see live. He was so vital and charming and you know those songs came straight from the heart.
Who are your favourite bands?
Hayley: Right now I’m enjoying White Fence, Royal Baths and Thee Oh Sees … plus reliving old time favourites like The Shirelles, The B52s and The Church.
Amy: Ray Charles, Etta James, Ike & Tina, Smog, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Love, Big Star, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Lemonheads, Super Eagles, New Season, X, The Darling Downs, The B52′s etc
Who were your favourite bands when you were 15?
Hayley: I got into jazz around that age and started to discover Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. I still have a real soft spot for their songs. I also really dug The Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction, Stone Roses and The Lemonheads.
Amy: At that age I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Stooges, The Lemonheads, Radio Birdman, Parliament, PJ Harvey – a strange mix but I grew up on Elvis and jazz and Rhythm & Blues records so I guess I was finding popular representations of different kinds of music and that was a starting point to exploring new sounds.
Who/what do you feel inspires your music?
Hayley: Our first record was inspired by our time growing up together in the hills of Western Australia. We’re certainly absorbing sounds from all the bands we’ve played with and watched live this year and we both listen to a wide range of music styles. So we’re overflowing with new ideas for songs. It’s really exciting. We both write separately and bring semi-finished songs to each other to complete, or we sit down in rehearsal and jam out some ideas or song themes. The songs I’m writing are inspired by an idea of trying to create ‘doom pop’ … bittersweet summer pop with an ominous, gloomy layer. We’ll see where that goes!
Amy: For the last album we were definitely reflecting on our time growing up together. I think we both feel that we’ve expressed those sentiments now and we’re onto new lyrical territory. Stylistically, we both listen to and absorb elements from a lot of different styles of music, I don’t know if any of it is noticeable as an influence to outsiders but I think there’s a bit of everything from Amazonian children’s choir chants to us seeing The Lemonheads again recently and being smacked in the face by how brilliant those songs are.
Could you each pick a song off Fifteen and tell me what it is or isn’t about?
Hayley: I’m really proud of all the songs on the record, but for me ‘Degrassi’ stands out becasue I think it was the first finished song I brought to rehearsal. The guitar part, lyrics and melody were complete before Amy and I started jamming and that was a really great accomplishment for me back then! It’s about that moment when something clicks and you realise the person you’re with and the situation you’re in has run its course. That rosy veil gets lifted and you see a broken reality instead, but you don’t know how to put the brakes on.
Who is the best band in Melbourne?
Hayley: Depends on your style. There are some great bands around right now. 2010 has seen some awesome releases from bands like Zond, Scott + Charlene’s Wedding, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Boomgates.
Amy: I don’t know how you can answer a question like this. It’s kind of pointless – music isn’t a competition. We’re lucky to have so many great bands in Melbourne, all adding something different to the musical culture in Australia.
How was America?
Hayley: Highlights were definitely playing GonerFest in Memphis and also our San Fran show at Hemlock with The Mantles and Royal Baths. Royal Baths blew our minds. I also really enjoyed a Philadelphia band called SOARS. The whole tour was a total high. The audiences were great. Especially in Chicago. It was really surreal to have US crowds cheer to ‘Golden Town’ or sing along to ‘Mess Around’.
Amy: Same. Royal Baths were the highlight of the tour for me. I felt a really immediate connection and response to their music. The whole tour was a highlight – the people and bands we met were amazing the whole way through, feel pretty lucky about that!