Her Melbourne launch is at the Spotted Mallard in Brunswick on Saturday February 22. It will be with her full band, with guests used on the album, as well as synthesisers, loops and MIDI-tracked string arrangements. In Brumby’s shows, story telling and humour plays a major role. Expect her to recall what inspired the songs or highlights of her life including writing with Paul Kelly, having a cup of tea made for her by Jeff Buckley, still cringing at how ill-prepared she was when she made her acceptance speech at the ARIAs when The Change In Me won 1998’s song of the year, and how one of the best gigs she did was in Newcastle opening for her ‘80s heroes The Bangles.
“Bringing in some electronic beats is an exciting new sound for me,” Brumby tells Beat. “I set out to fuse my rock pop sound with electronic beats and samples. I think we have accomplished that, and we try to re-create that as best we can in a live format.”
As a writer, co-producer (with Nick Larkins) and arranger, Monique Brumby is easily her best record. While new single All The Ways, Silent War and In This Game are the more instantly accessible, the real gems include Future Gone where she comes into her own as an arranger and producer, and stand-outs The Crown and For You April both about hanging in there against the adversities of life.
“I wrote The Crown in the spare room of my grandmother’s house on the north east coast of Tasmania about 18 months ago. “You’ve got a way to go if you want to wear the crown” just came into my head. It’s a song about journeying through life with dignity, hard work and looking out for other people to give love and support to the community that you live in and to those around you. My grandmother lives her life like that so I think she inspired its creation.
“I work with a lot of young people and I see the struggles that they go through, instability at home, teenage angst, searching for acceptance and so it seemed like an appropriate subject matter for me to write about. Issues around domestic violence, bullying and being on the outside of the norm. All of these things I see every day and some of them I have felt deeply myself being on the outside due to my sexuality, because I’m a woman, because I’m striving to be heard in a world that is dominated by louder voices, sometimes aggression and often ego and greed. This was the premise for the song For You April. In the song I’m saying to this young girl (a runaway) that I empathise and understand all those feelings of fear and sadness.”
The album was made in the home studio of her new Brunswick digs, where recording would have to stop when her dogs clattered into the bare-floored room or it would get too hot to work in because the place had no air conditioning. The “horror” video for All The Ways was filmed there too at her “dress to scare” housewarming party. She explains, “I set up my studio with the camera and allowed our guests to access that room, press the space bar on the audio and film themselves for the duration of the song. Needless to say the viewing of all the video footage the following day was most entertaining. My idea for the video was to capture the spontaneity of people having a great time at a party which is what the song is about, meeting someone and having a great time with them on Saturday night. The costumes of mummies, vampires and skeletons work in well with the other lyrical side of the song which is about the fear that people have going into new relationships.”