Thursday, December 10, 2009

Royalchord, Melbourne


Current band rollcall?
Eliza Hiscox, Tammy Haider, Tim Piccone, Ben Butcher.
royalchord has been around since …
We (Eliza and Tammy) started playing music together in 1997 and got serious in 1999. Ben and Tim have started playing with us this year.
Let's play Six Degrees of royalchord. What are some interesting musical links you could come up with?
Tammy: I recorded vocals at a house that Jarvis Cocker owns and, by pure accident, met him in the kitchen one morning whilst he was making toast for his son.
First song ever written?
Tammy: Gosh, I can't quite remember, no doubt it was about a guy, how it went wrong.
Eliza: First real song I wrote that doesn't make me cringe was on our first album, it was called Notion of Invisibility. It's about losing in a relationship, and learning to live alone, after your first heartbreak. There were some strange songs that I've written before which I, to this day, cannot make sense of.
Music making for you began when …
Tammy: I was in The Sound of Music at age six; ever since then, there's been no turning back.
Eliza: piano lessons when mastering A Whole New World, the theme song to Aladdin.

Most unusual sound/instrument you've used in your music?
Bottles on The Good Times, or the creaking door on Mr Light.

Strangest gig you've ever played?
We played a gig in New Orleans where a couple started dry-humping while we were playing our cover of Etta James' I'd Rather Go Blind; it wasn’t really that the gig was strange, more that we'd never thought of ourselves as making music to get down-and-dirty to (not that we mind this, of course). Probably even stranger was playing in Aimes, Iowa, at a Christian arts collective (we didn't know this beforehand). We ended up playing most of the show unplugged, and on the last song wearing wigs, standing in the centre of the room – it was surreal, beautiful, beyond words.

Do you pin up images when recording to help inspire your songs? (Or put up other things in the studio for the same effect?)
We like to pin lyrics up and tend to have pieces of disassembled equipment scattered round, empty beer bottles, pictures of dogs, trees, and always incense burning.
Unlikeliest thing to influence your music?
Tammy: I feel like my nieces' reactions to our music influences me just because, right now, they are really into it, which I think is so sweet.
Eliza: Timbaland.
Most unconventional topic you've covered in your lyrics?
If you had to offer any of your lyrics as love advice (or life advice), you would offer …
Life advice: “I will go go go, where my body will take me, I'll surround myself with the hope that’s left in me”
Most useful lyrics you've heard in a song?
Tammy: I'm sorry there are just too many to give one.
Eliza: I don't like songs with useful lyrics, or I don't take note of them at least! I love songs which have lyrics that hit you to your core, tell a story or express something so sad but is made beautiful in a song. I think pretty much everything Bill Callahan writes would fit that criteria. Also D.C. Berman of the Silver Jews: "You're a tower without a bell, you're a negative wishing well."

Do you think the country/city/town you live in affects your music in any way?
Definitely! For us, it's almost the opposite, I guess, as we are shifting around every couple of months, so the city we are in tends to have a transient effect on our music; it really takes us into our own world and mixes up the flavours.
You would love to record with …
Anyone from Hot Chip, Timbaland, Danger Mouse (dream on!).
Favourite person you have performed with/recorded with …
Tim Piccone and Ben Butcher, Andrew Spencer Goldman, Andrew Bencina – all such good, fun, creative, brilliant people.
Outside of royalchord, you spend your time …
Right now, pushing paper, daydreaming of travelling once more, playing tennis, walking the dog, playing with my friend's two-year-old daughter, walking, drinking, sleeping.

Next for you is …
A Sydney and Brisbane album launch, then U.S, U.K and European tours.
If record stores had to come up with a new genre name to file your music under, it would be called …
Fauxtronica Romantica.


Royalchord's album The Good Fight is full of quiet surprises, and contains one of my favourite songs this year (Mr Light, creaking door sound and all). You can catch the band launching the record this Friday at Serial Space in Chippendale. For more details (and general up-to-date info about the band), head to their MySpace.

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