Paul Andrew speaks to Victoriana Gaye and Jeff Raglus about making music, married life and walking in the wind.
Tell me about the story behind the Five Songs EP concept.
VG – I was growing vegies and roaming around the seashore when suddenly I woke up in a recording studio with a microphone and some men who spoke of strings and things.
JR – These are all Vicki’s songs…I wrote a tiny part of Summer Go and helped arrange the other songs, but at that point she had only been playing guitar for three years and these kooky songs just started pouring out. We had Noel Crombie on Drums (from Split Enz) and Ross McLennan on bass and they were both awesome, a perfect combination of lo-fi and an easy going-lazy feel, combined with great ideas and off-beat talent all round the group.
The songs – it may sound like a silly question, but tell me about your personal fave from the Five Songs EP.
VG – I spend a lot of time walking alone and when something’s buggin’ and you’re out in the wind, listening and witnessing, words and rhythms seem to appear. Summer Go is curious. A fire in Indonesia caused radical sunsets and I was struggling with the new surf culture, the drought and I wanted to write an anti- summer song just out of curiosity. McLennan’s bass line is ominous, Ragee’s guitar sounds like Zorba the Greek. For such serious subject we had a lot of fun.
JR – The Five Songs EP has a more psychedelic feel than Our Pleasure, the album. My favourite songs are Dark Places and Summer Go.
What astonished you the most about compiling your diverse music into a cogent EP form?
JR – The fact that we could do it and have fun, all get along and come out at the end with something we liked. That was amazing.
VG – Most astonishing was the generosity and instincts of the rest of the band. We all had a very strong sense of keeping it real and working for the songs – not ourselves. Recording is hungry work. We ate so much. We’d busk for food at markets and cook it up for the sessions.
Tell me something about the recent music collaborations behind ‘Our Pleasure’?
VG – Like all art it’s about the fine balance of existence. Nothing is perfect but that’s what we like. Again all the musicians involved considered the songs and their integrity foremost. Because it’s low budget, those limitations gave us direction. There was no other way but to roll up our sleeves and do it with love which was unlimited. Biddy Conners viola on Shouldn’t We Tell Her and musical saw on Beautiful View were like adding some beautiful spice to the pot. Other collaborators like Bruce Hames who was pushing all the buttons and slipping in some complimentary keyboard garnished Our Pleasure without overcooking it.
JR – Again the songs are mostly Vicki’s, but this time I co-wrote a few and again had a hand in production and arranging. We co-wrote three songs, which are my favourites on the album. It was a revelation that we could do this together. We have been married twenty-four years but have only played music together for five. That is amazing to both of us.
Tell me something about this Sunday 17th at The Retreat?
JR- Ross McLennan likes chocolate biscuits, we basically got him to do the recording powered on by Hokey Pokey Biscuits and we have lured him to do The Retreat with us by offering same.
VG- Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about.
Victoriana Gaye performs Our Pleasure and Five Songs at
The Retreat Hotel, 280 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
For more info visit www.myspace.com/victorianagaye