Indie folk-pop band, Women in Docs are back after taking a break from touring for a few years. They will be showcasing material from their forthcoming album, ‘Carousel’ which is due for release in February 2014.
“We have spent many years performing live,” says Chanel “and that’s been how we’ve built our following, by travelling around Australia and travelling around the U.S.A., playing to people. Our live show is very entertaining and upbeat. We have a few stories that go along with the songs that we’ve written that are kind of funny or are about the people and places that we’ve been and that we’ve seen so it is a very entertaining upbeat show. We’re pretty flexible. Depending on whether it’s a big festival or just a small festival, we do some gigs with just the two of us (Chanel and Roz) and then other times we will just have a violin player or a keyboard player with us. And then other times it will be a full band, and we’ll add a drummer as well.”
The girls have just had a couple of years off the road to spend some time with their families. “Both of us had family members who were unwell who we needed to look after and we also needed a break from touring. We’d spent ten years touring hard around Australia for nine months of the year so it’s been really nice to have a bit of a break from the road and spend some time writing songs and focusing on the creative side instead of just constantly touring.”
But while they have had a bit of a break from constant touring, they haven’t been completely off the road. “We’ve done some one-off festivals and one-off gigs,” the singer tells me. “We have caught up regularly and this album has been written backstage at gigs. We get together and go ‘Ok, we’ve got an hour together, let’s write a song.’ We’ve been sending files to each other on email or Dropbox, things like that. It’s been quite a creative time, even though we haven’t been touring.”
Chanel says that she draws inspiration from her experiences on the road so travelling has been quite an important part of her song writing. “I write about the people that we meet and stories that other people tell us,” she shares. “So you do have to be careful around us or you might end up in the next chorus if you tell us too much. That’s where I get my ideas from; watching the news or reading something that will spark an idea and that will create the songs for me.”
The singer recalls singing in choirs at school and doing musical theatre. “And then when I was in university, I started playing in a rock band in far north Queensland, playing a lot of covers and we did the pub circuit, went out to the islands and played and went out to play at some of the mines in western Queensland. That was great fun and really good money. I met back up with Roz in Townsville after finishing uni and after we both had been travelling for a while. We decided to focus on our voices and song writing and playing acoustic instruments and I think it just went from there.”
Musically, Chanel credits an Australian band called Things of Stone and Wood as one of her biggest inspirations. “I saw Things of Stone and Wood at the Townsville Showground,” she recalls. “And I was completely blown away that they could have this massive sound and be playing acoustic instruments, an acoustic guitar and mandolin and things like that so I think they were a big inspiration for me.”
Over the last few years, the girls have spent a lot of time in the U.S.A., touring and doing lots of festivals and gigs and have earned themselves quite a following over there. “I think that just came from touring,” explains Chanel. “We did a couple of showcases. One in Austin, Texas and we’ve also showcased at the North American Folk Alliance concert a couple of times which is more our genre. Gradually, over the years, we built a little touring circuit and a festival circuit and built up a following. On one hand, it’s difficult because media want to know ‘what are you, exactly? Are you a pop band or a folk band?’ But on the other hand, it’s made us really flexible and it means we get bookings in a wide range of festivals and venues. We don’t really fit into one particular genre. We call ourselves folk/pop with a little bit of country so we do tend to get away with playing at a wide variety of festivals.”
According to Chanel, the name of the single ‘Carousel’, comes from a baggage carousel at an airport. “Initially the song was written about an airport carousel,” she explains. “The thing your bag comes out on at the airport. The song is actually about that, and missing your flight and just having to pack the car and get on the road but the other side of the song is the idea of the fairground ride, the merry-go-round. And I guess the sense of playfulness or freedom is the common theme that comes through for us. Taking the chance to follow your dreams and do what you want to do. That symbol of the fairground carousel.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © 2013 Sharyn Hamey All Rights Reserved
Last updated by Sharyn Hamey Oct 28, 2013.