The Girl Folder
IT has been a fair while since I featured…
an Australian band on my blog. The New South Wales clan, The Girl Folder, talk to me about their new single, One More into the Night, and the story behind that. Given the fact their singer is from England – I ask how the band got together and whether it was an instant bond. The guys, Matthew especially, discuss their work and the sort of artists/sounds that influence them.
I wonder whether there is a big scene where they are and, whether, we can catch them in the U.K. anytime soon. I ask The Girl Folder about the artists they all grew up with and whether they get any downtime - to chill in the surf and sand of their homeland…
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hectic but enjoyable. Lots of interviews and live radio sessions.
Plus; rehearsals for upcoming gigs.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are a five-piece Indie-Rock band from N.S.W., Australia.
Matthew, the lead singer, is from England, originally - and relocated a few years back.
Scott Clayborough is on Lead Guitar and Backing Vox; Adam Gathercole on Drums; Dave Evans on Guitar and Keys; Dan Cordrey on Bass.
Can you tell me how the name, ‘The Girl Folder’, came about?
Matthew: Literally…folding girls!
My young daughter and I had a game where she would lie on my lap - and I had to try to fold her in half. A game of strength and endurance! Haha. Anyway...after a while, she started calling me ‘The Girl Folder’.
It sort of suited the feel of the band in a really strange way.
Tell me about the single, Once More into the Night. What is the song about and how did it come together?
We have two processes for writing.
One is where Matthew writes and records the track and brings it to rehearsal - where we thrash it out. The other (in the case of Once More into the Night); Dave had the music and gave it to Matthew to work on the vocal line.
Dave: Once More into the Night has some Dave Gilmour-inspired chord-phrasings - but played, rhythmically, in a way that Icelandic band Agent Fresco might do. However, the greatest part of this songwriting process was giving this idea to the rest of the band with no context - and seeing where they took it.
Hearing their own X + Y = ? influences and interpretations - that’s what makes it less of a formula and more of a collective art work.
Matthew: As soon as I heard the music for Once More', I literally dropped everything and started work on the vocals. It consumed me for a week or so. I loved the uplifting epic feel to it and wanted the vocals to match. The song has two defined parts but the feel is similar. I felt it was my job to marry the two together.
I didn’t want it to get too above itself until the last passage - where the music allows me to push a little harder. I’m pleased with the result.
I’ve always had a fascination with the night - otherworldly things and undercover acts coming to life when most people sleep. Films like Eyes Wide Shut and After Hours, especially, convey this for me. I tried to couple this with a failed relationship: trying to play it straight for a partner and failing; knowing that normality isn’t for you.
Hence, Once More into the Night: back to the shadows where you feel at home.
There is a video for the song as well. What was it like filming that?
Yes. This is the first film clip that features the entire band.
It’s our third clip, filmed at Sawtooth Studios, Newcastle. The song has so much life and energy - we wanted to put that on the screen, so made the decision to film the band performing the song. It’s always an enjoyable experience creating film clips. Usually, we spend months planning and storyboarding it. The actual filming and editing seems to be the easy part. The planning takes the time.
I’m sure, after our tenth film, we might be a little jaded… but, at the moment, we love it!
Newcastle is the band’s base. Is there a good music vibe there? What is the local scene like?
Really good and always growing.
The venues there are always willing to give new bands a go. There are so many new bands: it makes going out really interesting. Also, playing is great, as we get to hear a couple of new bands play. We can honestly say we have not played with a band we have disliked. Alt-Blues is popular in Newy but there’s also a cool Indie scene (which we love).
There’s, also, little festivals popping up all over the place which we have been lucky to play a few. It’s a good city – plus, bar prices don’t cost the earth.
Was it easy getting the band together? How did you all find one another?
Matthew: Not at all.
I relocated from the U.K. and it took a while to get to know likeminded musicians. People mean well but, sometimes, it’s not always the right fit. Initially, in Forster N.S.W., I started on open mic. night to meet musicians. It was there that I met with Scott - who came along to play and sing. From that point, it sort of snowballed.
I first saw Dave when, for some reason, he popped up in my Facebook feed. He did (and still does) occasionally post a ‘guess the song’ - where he would play a fairly obscure riff. I can’t remember the song but the style and sound really impressed me. I said ‘hi’ and sent him a link to our first single, Call a Halt. Luckily, for us, he jumped on board.
After a couple of changes; we met up with Adam and Dan (the rhythm section). They knew each other but had never played in a band together.
It seems like you all grew up with a wide array of artists. Who are the groups and acts you all fell for growing up?
For me, growing up in the U.K, I was that kid dressed in black; writing lyrics in my room - and my music reflected that.
I listened to The Cure, Pixies; Ride, plus, other not-so-miserable stuff such as Guns N' Roses, The Rolling Stones; The Beatles, Prince…
The rest of the band was listening to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC; Sigur Rós, Red Hot Chili Peppers; Silverchair.
How important is melody when it comes to your music? It seems like an ethos and philosophy you all live by…
Yeah; It's an unwritten rule.
I mean, we have sections where there are huge waves of sound - but the vocal melody is still there. Growing up listening to The Beatles - which is like an institution in the U.K. - ingrains their melody and approach into a lot of bands; just reinforces the whole melody thing. We always try to write every track like it’s a single.
We don’t always succeed and those tracks will still make it onto the album.
Melody is what the majority of people gravitate towards when listening to music. But, we try to avoid clichés wherever possible - musically, lyrically and melodically.
What comes next for you chaps? Is there an album or E.P. in the works?
Well. We’re not done with singles just yet...
We are three singles in but, literally, have at least another five potential singles. The issue is that we are quite prolific: we recorded fourteen songs. During that recording period, we wrote another three, so, we recorded those (also). Then, another two arrived!
I’m pretty keen on the very latest song, Our List of Demands: a politically-motivated, call-to-arms – but, it’s always that way with songs. The very last you wrote is generally your favourite.
So...they’ll be at least two-three more single releases before the album sees the light of day.
Are there any tour dates approaching? Where can we see you perform?
We are always playing the N.S.W./Newcastle/Forster area so check out the Facebook page for listings. We would love the chance to play the U.K. and U.S.A. and are looking to head overseas next year.
How do you all chill away from music? Is there a lot of time to detach from the day-to-day demands of music?
Luckily for us, we live in a beautiful place - so we spend a lot of time in the great outdoors surfing, swimming; walking etc. But, to be honest, any spare time we get feels like a wasted musical opportunity: always trying to get in the studio. It’s how we relax.
Maybe we should get a hobby!
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would it be and why?
(After some discussion….)
Disintegration by The Cure.
For me; it’s their best album. I love the synths being used as an orchestra. Plus, it has some of their best songs on there: Lovesong, The Same Deep Water as You; Plainsong, Lullaby etc. Robert Smith wrote (pretty much) the whole album and at the time whilst suffering from depression - so the whole album has that tone…which I love.
Adam: Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin
Due to the sheer size of the album. There’s so much going on: it never gets boring.
Scott: Freakshow by Silverchair
Not only did the lyrical content resonate with me. I liked the music and riffs so much I sat down and learned them all without any musical knowledge at all. It’s how I learned to play guitar. I still love to play through that album today.
Dave: Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós
Because it made me realise that there was more to music than bar chords and straight rock beats.
Dan: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I didn’t get the band until this album was released. I was fifteen and started playing bass around that time. We were playing a lot of songs from that album in my first band - which opened my eyes to playing music for enjoyment and passion.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
There are soooo many bands and sooo many platforms: it’s difficult, sometimes, to stand out in the crowd. Hopefully your material will help but it’s not enough just to release a single to friends and family. Make a noise!
Get help with promotion if you’re not good at that - whatever it takes. Persevere. Every band takes knockbacks…
Sometimes, bands don’t make it for decades. So don’t stop.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
We had a gathering after a gig recently and we were all singing this at the top of our voices - even though a couple of us hadn’t heard it before. Live...they’re exceptional…
Ride – All I Want
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