Interview with Monique Brumby
added: 14 Jun 2014
interviewed by: Cate Altamura
Australian singer and songwriter Monique Brumby has just released her latest single, “Silent War’ in conjunction with her self-titled studio album. “Silent War” is a politically driven song and deals with the injustices same-sex couples face.
Brumby states, “For the Australian Government to recognize same-sex couples as equal and to be legally recognized as "married" would make huge steps towards ending discrimination”.
As well as taking steps towards ending discrimination, Brumby has been busy writing and recording. The ARIA winner is well versed in various elements of the industry and is hands-on with the engineering and production side of her albums.
Music News recently had a chat with the multi-talented musician to discuss the importance of remaining humble and the incredible steps she is taking towards eradicating homophobia. Music News - When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
When I was 14 I was asked by the music teacher to be in a musical production of Jesus Christ Superstar. From this experience I realised that I liked to sing but it wasn't until I started guitar lessons at 15 that I developed a passion for song writing. Music News - Which artists have influenced you?
I have been influenced by the emotive songwriting of Tracy Chapman, the production and lyrics of Suzanne Vega; Rickie Lee-Jones' debut album was big for me when I spent 1993 in the UK. Peter Gabriel, Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper's quirky style, Prince, Patti Smith Group - iconic woman in rock, Emmy Lou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Shawn Colvin, Marianne Faithful, Ron Sexsmith, Radiohead, Stone Roses, Wally De Backer, Aussie artists - Rebecca Barnard, Kerri Simpson, Nick Larkins, Maryanne Window, Sophie Turner, Jodi Moore, Petra Salsjo, ACDC, Paul Kelly, Chris Wilson, Jeff Lang, Liz Stringer, David Bridie to name just a few. Music News - Where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?
I draw inspiration mainly from my observations of the human experience, being in the world, feeling so much, having so much to overcome, to be grateful for, to strive for and to learn. When things get tough I have a lot to write about. I am perplexed and inspired by other people. I write from stories told to me by an older generation. My maternal grandmother is turning 90 this year. She has been a constant source of inspiration and support. She has taught me to be strong when faced with life's hardships. I write about love, inner turmoil, and my observations of the world, long roads, the celebration of love and the heartbreak of loss.
My favourite part about the songwriting process is weaving melodies and grooves to enhance lyrical content and then carving that out with different production approaches. So I might put down a synth part and then rework the vocal and bass lines to create the mood I'm after. When the song is near completion I like playing the song through from start to finish to find the moments of strength within each section and highlight those. I know the arrangement and performance is captured when my chest and arms tingle during the vocal take and my head feels light and fluffy. Music News - I understand that you just released your self-title fifth studio album. What can you tell me about that?
My self-titled album was written over four years 2010 - 2014. I wrote some songs in Tasmania on trips to visit my family. Track 9 'The Crown' was written at my grandmother's house on the east coast of Tasmania about her life growing up on King Island surviving floods and bush fires and the strength she has shown in her life. I work with a lot of young people, some feel like outsiders and I can relate to that and so tracks 2. 'For You April', 3. 'Hang On Babe' are messages to young girls not to give up and to know that they are not alone.
I strive to be a positive role model for young people because I know how desperately I needed a mentor when I was younger. Many of the songs are autobiographical but also interwoven with people's stories around me. My experiences working with all sorts of different people, communities in the desert, in rural and in urban settings. Some songs just fell from the sky and are deeply connected to my innate knowing - Track 4. 'In This Game' & Track 6. 'Quicksilver'. Most of the album was recorded and mixed in my home studio Silver Dollars in Melbourne with the drums tracked at Thirty Mill. I have been very hands-on with the engineering, production and mix engineering on this record. I did a sound course in 2011 at NMIT and I've had brilliant sound engineering mentors in Colin Wynne, Nick Larkins and Angus Davidson, not to mention the dozens of great engineers I have worked with over the years, men and women. Music News - Your single Silent War is politically driven. Can you tell me more about that?
My current single 'Silent War' is about my support of marriage equality. I am very passionate about increasing awareness and tolerance in society for people who are different from the norm, to spread the message of acceptance of diversity.
Homophobia is a big issue on the world stage with some eastern countries seeing homosexuality as a western way of life and in actual fact the divide seems to be greater now than ever before and this is concerning. I feel that I wanted to write a song about the celebration of love that I feel from my partner of seven years. We got married and had a commitment ceremony in Hobart three years ago. It was a testament to how far we've come to see my family and my wife's family and friends embracing our union.
My 90-year-old grandmother also attended and is very supportive. I think love between two people shouldn't be defined by gender but should be defined by the fact that we actually have love and care for one another. For the Australian Government to recognise same-sex couples as equal and to be legally recognised as "married" would make huge steps towards ending discrimination. Music News - Considering that the music industry can be fickle. What advice would you give young musicians?
Become educated in multiple areas of music industry. In business, in communication and ask questions and listen to different opinions before jumping but always be humble. Humility and integrity will help you to rise above the knock backs, as it is an industry tough on sensitive souls. Overnight success can't be sustained; you must work hard and with commitment, dedication and selflessness to become a better artist and person. Giving to others will make you a well-rounded person and in turn will run positive practice through your life and work. Play hard, play well and help others along the way. Music News - What is you favorite song to belt out at the bar/in the car/for karaoke?
My favourite song to belt out at karaoke is Heart's ‘All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You.’ Basically the end chorus' can just go on and on and on even when the music stops. Music News - Anything you would like to share, from upcoming shows to albums?
I have been rehearsing with my band for several months for these shows. We have some great support artists playing with us too. Lively, spontaneous and heartfelt shows are in store playing songs from my back catalogue of 5 albums and 4 EPs. We will also play the new album in its entirety. AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
Sat 28 June | Wheatsheaf, Adelaide (all ages)
Sat 12 July | Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (all ages)
Sat 19 July | Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (all ages)
Sun 20 July | Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs | 4pm (all ages)
Sat 26 July | The treehouse Belongil, Byron Bay | Sun 27 July | Dowse Bar, Brisbane (all ages)
Sat 2 Aug | Brisbane Hotel, Hobart (all ages)
Sat 16 Aug | Flying Saucer Club, East Elsternwick
Monique Brumby’s self-titled album available is now on itunes: www.itunes.com/moniquebrumby
Monique Brumby’s Pledge Campaign. http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/moniquebrumby
'Silent War' music video can be seen here: www.moniquebrumby.com
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