Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interview: FI CLAUS - Is Rad!

Friday, July 27, 2007 

One thing that Miss Claus has over other flowering trees in the thickly forested landscape of female folkie-types (besides some of the more impressive tresses to have fallen beyond a coquettishly angled chin) is her self-learned multi-instrumentality. While some may be content to strum and sing, Claus wrote, produced, played guitar, violin, cello, organ, glockenspiel and train whistle on her forthcoming album Bijoux. Odd name isn't it? "I just love the sound of that word, and the meaning of it. It's a bit full-on for me to call the songs gems, though I am really happy with them, so if I call them gems in another language, maybe I can get away with it!"

Before it's 2008 release, Claus has released the iTunes-only track Come Home which has already garnered flowery prose from reviewers and playlist-addition the country over. "It was more the novelty of releasing it on iTunes than anything else, and they featured it as a Single of the Week, which was cool. The next single will have other tracks on it, and that will be hard copy as well as on iTunes. It's a matter of getting it out there and building things up. I'm really excited about these songs, it just feels like the songwriting I've always been heading towards doing."

Does songwriting come easily? "Yeah I guess. Especially if I'm alone for a while. I tend to do a lot of it though I only really started when I was 21. Music has been there since the year dot, but I only picked up the guitar three years ago. In [previous band] Gorgeous, Emma did most of the guitar parts so I just did vocals and other instruments when they were needed."
Gorgeous is what she may be best known to Melbournians for, and their splitting up in 2006 may hold the record for most amicable parting of the ways the music world has ever seen. Was it all as pretty as the music? "Pretty much yeah, it was just a gradual process over about a year, we were both writing a alot more pop stuff. Gorgeous was always 50/50, but we had both written so much over the year or two we were together, it would have taken us 10 years to get it all out there. I have got two and a half albums of songs now."

Did you feel brave going solo? "Not to begin with! I was quite scared initially. I had always been a part of something that was bigger than me and it took a while before I finally had the guts to put my name on it. It is exciting to really have free range over the songs and turn them into what first I envision them to be." Being able to do that betrays a great affinity for communication, and the band Claus has constructed shows the great regard with which she is held in by musical peers. Pete Murray sings backing vocals on the album, his drummer Andy Sylvio does the same with Claus, and James O'Brien from The Boat People plays bass. Is their gelling all down to the fluid nature of the songs? "There is a funny kind of natural affinity between the three of us. We just had one weekend in Melbourne working out the parts, then a weekend in Brisbane recording them, so it really works."

Do you forsee yourself doing this forever? "Absolutely. It just keeps happening so you just keep doing it. Last year was an interrim year while I was getting stuff recorded so I was playing violins with other projects, and when you meet up with people and you perform together and it feels really right it's just so special and it really sinks in how you much you are doing the right thing and that you're on the right track. I just feel really compelled to do this."

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