Evan & Mischa To Lucy Wise & The B’Gollies

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Evan & Mischa To Lucy Wise & The B’Gollies


I grew up listening to a lot of great songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Bonnie Raitt, and played traditional Appalachian and Celtic music with my family. There is definitely a strong influence from the traditional music I have played, as I like to focus on storytelling in my songs.

How did you bring the band together?

I had previously collaborated with Chris Stone [violin] and Holly Downes [double bass] on my EP Something Pocket Sized. Together with Graham McLeod [guitar], they form The String Contingent, a trio I couldn’t resist having as part of my backing band. Mischa Herman [accordion], who plays with tango quintet Colectivo29 and folk pop group Hannah and Aahron, completes a dream line-up of some of the folk scene’s finest musicians.

Where do you see the B’Gollies as a band in two years?

They’ll have recorded their second album, and would be touring regularly in Australia and overseas, building sustainable straw bale houses and vegie gardens in their spare time.

What do you find most exciting about your new album?

The band arrangements and how they developed with input from the whole band. I feel that collaborating with the band has taken the songs further than they would otherwise have gone in their storytelling.

Many people are wondering: what is a B’Golly?

Our answer is that we don’t really know. As well as being one of our favourite expressions of surprise, delight or fear, “B’Golly” has also been tacked onto the names of all band members at various points, making: Lucy B’Golly, Chris B’Golly, Holly B’Golly, Mischa B’Golly, and Graham B’Golly.

Do you have a method for writing songs? Do the words or the music come first?

Sometimes it’s the words, sometimes it’s the melodies, sometimes it’s the chords. It depends on whether I am writing or playing a lot at any one time. I don’t have any fixed approach, just perserverance.


How did this duo start?

Having been friends at first, we discovered that we both had a history of playing in highland pipe bands. Although most people would be hesitant to admit this, we started jamming tunes on the pipes, and then branched out into our current arsenal of instruments – banjo, accordion, Irish flute, Irish whistle and guitar.

What influences do you each bring to the duo?

We both share a strong background in traditional Irish music. To this Evan brings his knowledge of Old Time, Breton and contemporary Bluegrass music, and I have a background in playing tango and classical music.

How do you draw such diverse influences together in the music you play?

We started with quite traditional instrument combinations and arrangements, but began experimenting by fusing different genres, and being creative with the role each instrument traditionally plays. Sri Lankin percussionist, Niroshan Sathiyamoorthy, who plays tabla, and a clay pot-like instrument called a ghatam really helped glue some of the tracks together with the solid groove he lays down.

Is it a blessing or a curse recording your own project?

It is both. Having both studied sound engineering, it is great having total control of every aspect of the recording, editing and mixing process so that you can get as close as possible to what you hear when you play. It is also a great way to develop your playing, as you really hold a microscope to the sounds you make when mixing the tracks down.

What did you enjoy most about making this EP?

Collaborating with Niroshan Sathiyamoorthy whose playing adds so much to the vibe of the tracks he plays on.