Interview: Monique Brumby

Monique Brumby is back with a new album, one that has taken years to create, and we were able to find out a little about it.

Hi Monique and welcome to Beauty and Lace
Can you tell us a little about your start in the industry?
After learning guitar at 15 and busking and playing gigs every week in my birth place of Tasmania from the age of 16, I made my first album when I was 20. That album was recognised at the 1996, 1997 and 1998 ARIA Awards. The highlight for me of that time was being nominated for ‘Song of the Year’ for my original tune ‘The Change In Me’.

What made you want to pursue a career in music?
I loved songwriting. I had a quirky guitar teacher at my school and we used to play songs by The Kinks, Paul Simon and Prince. I’d sometimes perform in my school assembly and school musicals and loved the adrenalin buzz of live performance.

Silent War is the new single, can you tell us a little about it?
Silent War highlights the struggles and inner turmoil that marginalised groups in society can experience. It is semi autobiographical and about the love between two women. Marriage equality would be a wonderful thing. It would send a clear message that all people are equal and should not be discriminated against because of their sexuality. The song is about the celebration of unity between two people that is steeped in sincerity, love and integrity.

The latest album is self titled, what can you tell us about it?
The album was recorded over 3 years in Melbourne at Thirty Mill Studios and in my home studio Silver Dollars. I was very hands on with engineering, production and mixing, having studied sound over a number of years. The album is self titled because this album is the most “me” of all my releases in terms of the way it sounds.

How did you come to be working with Nick Larkins on the album?
Nick Larkins co-produced and mixed the album with me. He approached me in 2011 to work on a project he was doing to record 25 artists over the course of a year. I agreed to be one of the artists and tracked a vocal on a brilliant disco/pop tune he and his colleague had written called ‘Superfine’. We had instant musical connection so it wasn’t long until we started writing and Nick started playing in my band. We have collaborated on a number of projects since then. Originally from Tassie also, Nick and I joke that we are probably related.

Can you share a little about your songwriting inspiration and process with us?
Writing comes about in different forms for me. Usually I write around a strong melodic idea. The key of the melody will often dictate the lyrical content. The two kind of go hand in hand. I usually write on guitar and vocals. For this album however there were two tracks that I wrote using electronica and developed the lyrics and main vocal melody later.

What’s been your career highlight to date?
Career highlight to date would be the launch of the 2013 Aardvark Sessions EP ‘Kaleidoscope’ at the Flying Saucer Club in Melbourne last year. I am the creative director of Aardvark Worldwide and we run music therapy program’s for young people with chronic illness. The launch was very moving with hundreds of friends and families of participants shedding tears of joy and pride. It was a great feeling to be part of something like that.

Monique Brumby colour horiz

How would you describe your sound?
The sound is pop rock with an injection of synths, electronic loops and samples. All the vocals were tracked in my home studio and this was a relaxed environment that meant we could take the time to get the vocals on tape that were the most emotive and melodic as possible. The songs have themes of overcoming diversity, striving to be better, searching for a sense of belonging, family, love, escapism and what it means to be human.

What’s your favourite album to listen to at the moment?
The last month or so I’ve actually been exploring music from my past – albums that I love but haven’t listened to in ages. Dirty Lucy’s ‘Dark Green’ has been on high rotation and Liz Phair ‘Exile In Guyville’ has had some spins. I like Sia’s latest music and Tegan & Sara’s current album. Some days I delve into my alt country collection and some of my faves there are Dolly, Emmy Lou and Lucinda.

You have just kicked off a tour, what can audiences expect from a live show?
Storytelling, interaction, connection, high energy, engagement, songs from my new album and requests from back catalogue. I rarely write a set list. I go with the energy of the audience and play what I think will connect the very best in that moment.

What’s next for Monique Brumby?
I’m touring Australia in July, August and then heading to the US to play some shows there in September. I am in the process of trying to get Aardvark Music Therapy program happening in Hobart 2015. I’m running the current program in Melbourne this year.

What does being a woman mean to you?
Strength, innate knowing, wisdom, longevity, beauty, empathy, mystery, getting things done, life with purpose, hope, hardworking and optimism eternal.

Thanks so much for your time.
Thank you!

Monique is heading out on tour so if you want to catch a live show the details are below.

Monique Brumby Shows
Saturday 14 June
Fresh on Charles, Launceston

Sunday 15 June
MONA, Hobart
free admission

Saturday 28 June
Wheatsheaf, Adelaide

Saturday 12 July
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Saturday 19 July
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne – 8.30pm

Sunday 20 July
Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs – 4pm

Friday 25 July
Sound Lounge, Gold Coast – 7.30pm

Saturday 26 July
The treehouse Belongil, Byron Bay

Sunday 27 July
Dowse Bar, Brisbane

Saturday 2 August
Brisbane Hotel, Hobart – 9pm

Saturday 16 August
Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick

To keep up to date with all things Monique you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and her Website.

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