Two of Melbourne/Naarm's most exciting groups, Folk Bitch Trio and Bones and Jones, celebrated the release of their new collaborative 7" single on Friday night at the Northcote Social Club. To help us explore the new project further, we caught up with Gracie Sinclair and Jeanie Pilkington of Folk Bitch Trio to discuss what sparked this collaboration and how it blossomed into a new friendship.
Born out of a mutual respect for each other's music, two of Melbourne/Naarm's most exciting groups — Bones and Jones and Folk Bitch Trio — came together one weekend to record and produce two tracks for a collaborative 7" vinyl. Across Friendly Neighbour / If I Was a Man, released through Bonsai Records, which both artists are signed to, Bones and Jones' gleaming garage pop synergy is a perfect match with the intimate, angelic three part vocal harmonies of Folk Bitch Trio, truly reflecting a beautiful partnership turned friendship. On the delicate ballad, "Friendly Neighbour," Folk Bitch Trio bring their distinctive raw and honest songwriting that's beautifully paired with Bones and Jones' soothing acoustic melodies, while the cheeky, Nick Lowe-inspired, "If I Was a Man," bristles with a greasy guitar hook that cuts straight through the folky twang.
According to a press release, both groups worked over one weekend to record and produce the two tracks at Bones and Jones' frontman Jasper Jolley's state of the art studio, Big Fridge Sounds. Before the launch of the new 7" single at the Northcote Social Club on Friday night, both bands performed previously together at The Curtin back in November, debuting the live renditions of the two new tracks alongside a stunning cover of Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)."
Ahead of their performance next weekend at King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's recently announced Return of the Curse of Timeland show, we caught up with Gracie Sinclair and Jeanie Pilkington of Folk Bitch Trio to discuss what sparked this new project and how it blossomed into a new friendship.
Paperface Zine: What sparked the idea for this collaboration and what made you want to work together?
Folk Bitch Trio: We all met back in April 2021 at the Bones and Jones album launch. We supported and we had an ace time hanging out in the green room and watching each others sets. We got a DM from Bones with the idea to collaborate (have a playdate) and we all got very excited about the project pretty quickly. It's quite easy to make music with people who you feel relaxed around and the project just felt very uncomplicated because we enjoyed each other's company as much as we enjoyed each other's music.
Since you're fans of each other, was there a particular vision when coming together to record these songs? Also did it turn out way different from its initial idea?
Retrospectively it seems that this project was mainly an excuse for us to hang out and become friends. We didn't go in with any preconceived notions of what we were going to make, or how it would sound, just the idea of "We do a song, they do a song, we all play on both of them, and we have fun." Because of our similar ages and tastes in rocking, rolling and folking, we just jammed the ideas in the Big Fridge Studio down in Melbourne and they turned out how they did. I think we are all pretty pleased with what we made. And we are friends now, too.
What was the recording / mixing process like for this new project?
The split 7" was recorded up at Big Fridge Studios which Jasper [Jolley] of Bones and Jones
runs. He tracked and mixed both songs as well as singing and playing on them both. Big Fridge is down near the Surf Coast so most of us stayed the night and camped out and it was a very relaxed environment. We got screwed around by COVID several times so finally getting up there to record was a relief, and the process was also made quite easy by Jasper being very clever and good at multitasking.
What inspired the songwriting across these two tracks and are there any lyrical themes attached to them?
The summer we finished high school, I watched Heide [Peverelle] finish writing "Friendly Neighbour" under grapevines in my backyard in about the time it took to sing it. They took a voice memo and then we probably went to the pool or something. On the phone to Heide just before, they said: "I guess it's a summary song of that hot summer. Where I was falling in love, but we were also getting news of the 2019-2020 bushfires."
Jasper said of "If I Was a Man" just now, probably finding the time to type this between driving or working: "It was inspired by the absurdity of gender stereotypes and ingrained cultural nuances that you begin to notice becoming an adult. Kinda just about the plight of growing up and discovering where you fit in and how crook a lot of shit is."
"Friendly Neighbour" and "If I Was a Man" were already written separately before we came together to work on them, but I suppose you could draw some lines between the themes of
figuring out how to walk through both the beauty and the shit in the world as a young adult.
What are you most excited about playing these songs live? Also what's it been like playing live music again now that Melbourne has opened back up?
Our last show together at The Curtin was super fun, it was back in November when full capacity was back and we sold out the room so it sort of felt like a post-apocalypse celebration. It was such a relief to get to play that show live, in front of a real audience and I think everyone in the room just had a lot of fun. Playing live again is a mixed bag though, the lead up to a show is exciting and also anxiety inducing because there's every chance it might not go ahead, but that does make finally getting on stage quite special.
You're both currently signed to Bonsai Records, so what has it been like working with them, especially with this new release?
Working with Bonsai has been fantastic. Ella Jefferies (The boss and close friend of Bones) is an organized and enthusiastic powerhouse who has given the project life and it wouldn't have happened without her. Bonsai have pushed the promo on the release with interviews for magazines and radio, and made the 7" vinyl and merch a reality. Bonsai worked through COVID-19 setbacks, geographical differences as well as the usual difficulties that happen when making a record to bring us the final product. They're a movin' and shakin' kind of label and we couldn't be more grateful or have imagined a better outcome for the release.
Aside from this new 7" single, can we expect more collaborations from you and Bones and Jones in the future?
We're both pretty busy for 2022, so as for new recorded music, we don't have anything penciled in anytime soon. However, we are sharing some festival bills in the coming months and hope to be sharing the stages there as well. Notably, we'll be playing together for King Gizzard's "Return of the Curse of Timeland" show on March 5th alongside so many great artists and can't wait to rock out. Though we are all busy bees, this collaboration has blossomed a new friendship and it's only the beginning of us rocking out and keeping it real.
Friendly Neighbour / If I Was a Man is out now through Bonsai Records.
Stream and purchase the new 7" single below.