16 August 2012
“I had some demos I’d recorded, but no band,” explains Sarah Kelly, former front-woman of sludgy/sweet Sydney trio theredsunband, on how her collaboration with Wolfmother’s Myles Heskett and Chris Ross, Good Heavens, came to exist.
The end of theredsunband in 2009 had given Kelly ample time to hone her songwriting. The split saw the band literally go their separate ways, with Lizzie Kelly, the group’s keyboardist and Sarah’s sister, now living in Toronto. “Our original drummer [John Matthews] had left the band,” recalls Kelly, describing the trio’s exit as a long time coming. “And while we enlisted someone new [Jasper Fenton] to tour the second record, the idea of making another record under the same name with different people was never that appealing.”
The passing of the band's producer Dean Turner of Magic Dirt, was another signal that the end was nigh. “It felt like the end of an era.”
Good Heavens came about quite naturally, with Kelly approaching record label Rice Is Nice for suitable musicians. “I had a little help from my friend Julia [Wilson], from our label,” she says. “I was moaning about how all the drummers I’d ever met were either alcoholics or lunatics, and she said Myles is the nicest person in the world.” Coming highly recommended, Heskett and Kelly started playing the songs together, “with an eye to recording an album.”
“Myles and I had been working together for a number of months before Chris joined the band,” Kelly continues. “I was looking for someone to play keys and bass, and Myles suggested his friend Chris.” Founding members of psychedelic rock outfit Wolfmother, Heskett and Ross were the pieces that completed the puzzle. “It just felt right immediately, first song we played together,” explains Kelly. Noting that her original songs “got a lot heavier” with the bass and drums of the boys, Kelly says there was never a worry that their unity would sound like a blend of their former groups. “We weren't fans of each others' bands or anything like that, we just enjoy playing together,” she says. “And I was so caught up in my own stuff, about getting this record made, that I never thought about their old band.”
Unavoidably, comparisons arose, but with all the focus on the group’s collective pasts, Kelly picks a side. “I think this band sounds a lot more like theredsunband than Wolfmother,” she says. “But Chris and Myles certainly have a very distinctive style and you can hear it in the songs.”
As with theredsunband, Kelly’s writing is personal, while still remaining “very abstract.” Never concerned with revealing too much, the emotional experiences behind the songs are universal. “I love the fact that I might write a song about a situation in my life, but to somebody else listening to it, it becomes about something they’ve experienced.”
Looking forward to recording another album, Kelly says the band is “writing all the time,” in amongst “playing shows and making film clips.”
The band will be playing a free show at the Lansdowne in Sydney tomorrow (Aug. 17) to launch Strange Dreams, with support act Bloods.
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