Preparing to release their latest single Gary Song, WA avant-folk group Simone and Girlfunkle have big plans on the horizon, including the upcoming WAMFest show kicking off the Courtyard Club for RTRFM alongside Verge Collection, Nerve Quakes, The Spring Peaks and more this Friday, November 3. The eclectic six piece group feature all sorts in their live act, from incredible three piece harmonies and lilting folk music to euphoric Spectre-esque crescendos. CALLUM SYNNOTT spoke to frontwoman Bridget Turner to learn a little more about the group and what’s in store.
Can I start by asking who your main influences are? I’m picking up a lot of Belle and Sebastian in your music…
Yep Belle and Sebastian are definitely an influence. How many hours did I spend listening to Tigermilk in the 90s? I could not tell you – it’s a lot. Our new single Gary Song was influenced by the guitar sounds of bands like Alvvays. We just thought their debut album was pretty flawless and the reverbs took you somewhere else worth going. Needless to say our new song has some nice ole reverb [laughs].
How did the band form? What was the drive behind getting something going?
Years ago I was playing in manic avant garde pop band Boys Boys Boys! but I had so many earnest songs that needed an outlet so I formed Simone & Girlfunkle as a serious folk side project. We were a duo that played folk music inspired by Simon and Garfunkel. I couldn’t really play the guitar so well or really sing that well but I did my best to make something that Paul Simon would be proud of. Early SnG had a scrappy youthful charm but fell gloriously short of being anywhere close to Simon and Garfunkel. Now we are a six piece and we know who we are and what we want from making music together. I guess the drive behind getting something going is just to create something we are proud of and to be a part of the music community. It’s taken a long time to realise that with music, the journey is the destination – the real gold is in the making of it, the people who surround you everyday (and we have the best ones) and things you do along the way.
The harmonies are glorious, did you all work really hard over a long period to get them so great, or did you just sing together and find you could all harmonise that well naturally?
We have been singing together for a few years now so it’s likely practice. It’s not a chore, I wouldn’t call it work at all, I think the more you sing with people the better you will blend if you listen to each other. That said, our voices do just work together I think.
Your music has featured a number of times on television on shows such as Packed to the Rafters and Winners & Losers. Was there a particular process you guys had to do to get your music onto these shows, or were you approached by them to include your music?
We got super lucky to be affiliated with Gaga Publishing and they know the music supervisors and pitched our music. Pretty lucky really.
The last album Hurry, Harry is also wonderful, a really good listen all the way through. It was released in 2013, so are there any plans to release another full length album anytime soon?
Yep definitely in March – it’s 99% recorded and it’ll be a goer hey, we are locking it all in as we speak and it has some beautiful songs on it. Cannot wait to share and to hit the road!
You’re playing for WAMFest at the Courtyard Club, are there any big plans beyond that? Perhaps a tour with the new album…
Yep huge plans! Our Sophomore album drops in March and we follow that up with eastern states dates and south-west dates. We are launching our new single this month too, 24th November at the Sewing Room, a double launch with Michael Savage and supported by Joni In the Moon and Darling. We are playing a Southwest date on the 16th November at Settlers Tavern in support of it too and excited about RTRFM Courtyard Club. Pretty pumped about all the things happening, it’s been a long time between releases and we are thrilled to share music.
You’ve played some pretty impressive sets such as at Southbound and St Kilda Festival. How far off do you think you are from performing at the likes of Groovin the Moo or even bigger ones such as Splendour?
Oh man – pretty far. Bunbury will take you at least 2.5 hours to drive to [laughs]. Nah fingers crossed Gary Song is a radio hit or someone at those festivals accidentally autosends an offer. Dear taste-makers, we are up for it.
Tell us a little about your most recent single Fight On? It’s a wonderful tune, where did you record it and who produced it?
Dave Parkin at Blackbird (Tired Lion, Felicity Groom, Jebediah) produced it and William Bowden (Goyte, Emma Louise) mastered it, both pretty amazing guys. They both worked on our new tracks too so you know they are going to be good sounding little eggs.