RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN DUO PIPERLAIN
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and that naturally progressed to songwriting. As soon as I could I picked up a guitar, taught myself how to play and started writing songs
Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history.
Rebecca Voorn-Knight – singer/songwriter, guitar player. I have no formal musical training but have an ear for music and coming up with interesting melody and harmony lines.
Benjamin Knight – composer and plays guitar, drums, bass, keyboard and any other instrument. He also has a degree in music, music engineering, music production and went to the conservatorium majoring in drums and percussion.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums.
Rebecca – Blind Melon (Blind Melon), The Doors (LA Woman), Pink Floyd (The Wall)
Benjamin – Pink Floyd (Animals), Tool (Enima), Pink Floyd (The Wall)
What’s the music industry like in Australia?
The music industry has suffered recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic and floods. A lot of festivals and touring acts were cancelled, however, it seems like this is turning around and there are opportunities opening up. Having said that a lot of smaller venues have closed over the years, although digital channels present options for live performance. I think the opportunities are available if you are persistent and just recently there is more focus on the arts and grants for music and artist development.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
We are still emerging artists, even though we released our first track in 2015. It’s difficult being an independent artist as budgets are tight for promotion. We rely on channels like yours to get the word out. When we release music, it tends to receive positive feedback from fans and the industry, so I can only imagine that this will improve as we keep releasing tracks.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
I’m sure women and even some men don’t feel safe at music gigs. There’s always the risk of drinks being spiked etc. Go in a group and look out for each other – it should be a safe space for everyone to enjoy.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I experiment with different promotional and digital channels. We used to play a lot of shows with different artists and then we’d listen to each other’s music that way and build a following. During Covid when we had a lot of lockdowns, I turned to placing ads on Facebook and Instagram and using those channels more to connect with potential fans, as well as community radio promotion.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
I have a degree in Psychology
I am from a royal lineage
I speak five languages
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I used to think it was sad and annoying, but it’s our now most successful channel in terms of reach and revenue. I do wish they would pay more in royalties so that musicians could be paid appropriately, but if you have a song that takes off, then it’s paid for itself plus more. I think it’s important to keep going and find your audience.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
Not really. I used to get into a bit of Roswell, Alien conspiracy, but then why are they so obscure and hiding? Why not just reveal themselves and be done with it – what are they waiting for??
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
A few things like eucalyptus oil because everyone was talking about how bad the cough and breathing were. I thought I could use the oil in a diffuser. Even when I got Covid, I never used it and still haven’t.
What was the worst experience on stage?
We had a really great opportunity to support a big act and our guitarist couldn’t make it. So Ben hopped on guitar instead of drums and we used a drum machine instead. We didn’t have time to do a proper sound check and it all just sounded less than impressive.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Rebecca – I have two university degrees, including a Masters
Benjamin – I see music as pictures in my mind
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
We have been described as ‘emotive’ as we tend to write songs with universal themes and stories that are emotionally driven. The delivery is either emotional and passionate or vulnerable in a lot of our songs. We have an eclectic sound that can be described as genre defying. It can be a strength or weakness, but it makes us stand out.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
‘Shine on You’ is our new EP. It was recorded at MusicPro Farmstay Studios by engineer Paul Iannuzzelli, at a secret studio location near the Warrumbungle national park, in western New South Wales and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London by engineers Frank Arkwright and Geoff Pesche.The theme of the EP is about being “lost and found”. It starts with ‘I Feel the Sun’ which is about coming out of the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, when people could move around freely again. It combines acoustic beach vibes and folk elements with dreamy rock pop influences.‘Shine on You’ and ‘I Don’t Miss You’ are dramatically poised and purposeful rock pop songs about feeling loss, through a lost relationship and lost by the pressures of social media and society. ‘Bloom’ was inspired by people moving away from the city to rural areas following lockdown, rediscovering something special in nature as well as perhaps something forgotten in themselves. It’s an enchanting track, with rhythmic percussive elements embraced by elegant piano and lofty honest vocals.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
Ben and I have different writing processes and influences. Generally I’ll come up with a chord progression on guitar and a vocal melody line. Ben will then work with me on it to add more elements and instrumentation as well as work on the structure and dynamics. When Ben writes something, it can be on a guitar or keyboard or on a computer. We’ll then flesh it out together and I work on a melody line and lyrics. We both write and co-write the music and the lyrics. Sometimes we’ll have a jam and come up with a song together.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was amazing as we headed out to MusicPro Farmstay studios, about a 6-hour drive west of Sydney in western New South Wales. The studio is near the Warrumbungle National Park, surrounded by farmland and countryside, so it really inspired the recording and is central to the finished product, which captured a more organic sound. We recorded onsite over a week, but before we headed to the studio to record we did weeks of pre-production and passing the songs back and forth between the producer to select the right ones and make sure we had them ready.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
For me, it was a vocal learning curve – to try a different expression and use a different technique then what I was used to doing. For both of us it was also important to trust the process with our producer and tease out ideas together, in particular around the use of percussion, drums and different effects that were used.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No, we wouldn’t change anything. We were involved in the whole process and working with our producer to ensure that we were happy with the final product.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I think it’s important to have realistic expectations and a plan for what you want to achieve with music in both the short and longer term. If it’s what you love, then never stop making and releasing music. We are musicians and songwriters at heart and it’s important to us to keep doing it, but success in music comes in different forms and levels and it can take time. I think it’s important to be persistent and enjoy successes like feedback and comments from fans and gains like being played on radio, recommended for a project, or collaborating with an industry professional.