The Casady sisters; Bianca ‘Coco’ and Sierra ‘Rosie’, have spent the past decade producing one of the most delicate yet formidable styles of contemporary music in existence. Renowned for their infusion of freak folk, electronica, opera and pop, the sisters’ whimsical musical exploration is underpinned by heavy layers of fantasy, innocence and detachment from society and social mores. Reflecting on a year which marked the release of their fourth studio album Grey Oceans , Bianca discusses some of her fondest memories of 2010.
“We did a really expensive tour and had a really great time in Mexico City,” shares Bianca warmly. “We played in a beautiful old theatre and had a very extensive band with us for the first time, which was pretty incredible. We only had a really short rehearsal so we were sort of winging it. We played some slowed-down versions of our old songs; it was quite special.
“We also had a pretty interesting trip to China. We played a really funky festival a few hours outside of Beijing near Inner Mongolia where we performed and then spent a lot of time taking in the music around us. We’ve also done several film projects over the past year mostly in the South of France…” she pauses before laughing, “we’ve been everywhere.”
As the fanciful duo continued to explore and develop as artists, the evolution reigned undeniably present following the release of Grey Oceans . While their unadulterated passion for fantasy remains unyielding, the sisters continue to expand and develop their music and artistry, which Bianca figures is neither an advancement nor a regression.
“It doesn’t feel as if we’ve had a linear evolution in a forward direction exactly. We tend to circle back a lot,” she tells. “Even though we’ve got quite a bit more hi-fi, we do tend to end up using quite a lot of the techniques we acquired from when we were doing our first record; doing things in a very basic way and by ourselves.
“I guess part of our musical evolution is about carrying along the techniques from the beginning and implementing those techniques into a more hi-fi studio environment. One of our favourite tracks from this record is Undertaker, it’s the only song from the album that we created entirely outside of the studio and back in the farm environment where we had recorded a lot of our previous material. We’re finding ourselves to have made a full circle and I can only imagine our next musical project sticking to this trend.
“We tend to work in isolation,” she adds before pausing momentarily. “Well, certainly [when it comes to] all of our writing. We don’t have the internet and generally aren’t very contactable, we actually share a telephone, but most of the time we don’t have one. Most of the time when we aren’t on tour we are very isolated and that’s very influential towards our music and our creativity. We don’t take in much stimulus from the outside world like music, television, movies and such.”
As both musicians and visual artists, the importance of their live interpretation of art is imperative. Revered worldwide for their wholesome and poignant performances, the sisters artistic development is highlighted through the construction of their live show.
“In our live performances we have evolved on stage and this has been something that’s been on our minds at the moment,” she shares gently. “We’ve got the desire to strip back to just the two of us. That’s a bit challenging at the moment because we’ve always had five on stage whilst doing this record. That doesn’t have so much to do with conformity as it does to our natural evolution that has happened in our approach to live music.
“The video projections are a pretty important ingredient of our live show,” she adds. “It’s a way of taking our fantastical environment with us and putting it into all of the different spaces that we play. Our costumes also often reflect quite a lot of the imagery of the video; they’re very expressive of what aesthetic period we’re in. It’s part of the ideas and imagery that have came out of the record.
“We’ve been on tour for most of the past year so we’ve got more familiar with the bodies of the songs on the record but they’ve also transformed a lot. I’ve had the luxury of being away from tour for the past month and a half so I have had the opportunity to revive a lot of our costumes and our visuals. I’m preparing an exhibition in Japan which will be just before we tour Australia, so even though we’ll be playing the old songs and those from our record, the imagery will all be brand new and we’ll be presenting it for the first time.”
Returning to Australia on the tail end of their world tour, the duo must soon look to their musical future and continuing evolution of the project.
“It really continues to be a mystery and I think that’s what keeps us going and keeps us attached to the project,” she humbly shares. “We are thinking of stripping back everything and returning to our roots with just the two of us live. I think the visual aspect of our shows and our music is going to continue to get stronger and stronger and crossing more over to performance art.
“We’re also thinking of exploring a lot more of the possibilities with our music. We’ve been fortunate enough recently to perform with several orchestras that have really inspired a new chapter in our project.”
COCOROSIE play The Prince Bandroom on Thursday January 27 – tickets from princebandroom.com.au, 95361199, Polyester Records (Fitzroy and City), Greville Records and in person at all Moshtix outlets. Their delightful fourth studio album Grey Oceans is out now through Sub Pop.