Interview: Tully On Tully

On female-fronted bands, song-writing and launching Two Birds.

Being hungover is one thing, but being hungover and doing an interview promoting your new music is another. Luckily for the gorgeous Nat – frontwoman of Melbourne five-piece Tully On Tully – loveliness just so happens to ooze out of her pores. As much as her post-races hangover may have been making her feel like absolute shit, she still managed to take the time out of her Sunday to give us some words prior to her band’s single launch last Friday at Shebeen.

Firstly, congratulations on Two Birds. It’s absolutely, absolutely beautiful. You have to be pretty excited to be launching it?

Yeah, so excited! We’ve been waiting over the last twelve months, counting down the days. And now it’s in like a week…less than a week. It’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be really good! A little bit nerve-wracking, just ‘cause it’s such an important show. Such a big deal being the headline.

Had you guys had this date planned, is there any significance to it? Or did it just so happen to fall on this date?

We were looking for around that weekend, but there was no particular reason why…I guess we could say that it was for Halloween.

Are you expecting people to dress up?

Not expecting it, but it will be very welcome. I’d love that for sure.

With the Weightless EP, that was released in 2013. And you’re getting set to release your new EP next year, in 2015. Is there a release date yet that you know of?

No…it’s pretty ambiguous at the moment, but early 2015. Probably in the first four months.

And if there is any difference, how will the new music compare to the older stuff?

Well, I guess there’s already a shift from the Weightless EP to Two Birds…We’re kind of pushing more like an 80s sound – big drums and driving synths, which is kinda cool. I feel like [the new stuff] is just gonna be bigger in every sense.

Do you have all of the songs prepared for the new EP?

We’ve written so many songs over the last six months…It’s getting to the point where it’s like ‘I don’t wanna not use that one!’ But yeah, we’re still writing. Just seeing if anything else jumps out at us, screams at us and says that it has to be on this EP. But otherwise, I reckon we’ve got it going in the right direction.

Considering EPs generally don’t have that many tracks on them, is there a specific process of elimination for picking and choosing which songs end up on the end result? Because obviously there’s the five of you in the band, so making decisions like that must be difficult…

Yeah, well we went to record two tracks recently. We had about ten songs, and everyone had to rate them all from 1 to 10. But that didn’t really work out…I think we’re generally thinking in a similar way, so it’s often we’ll choose five tracks or something, and then it’ll just go majority rules.

If there’s three people that aren’t digging one song for the EP then it just won’t be on there.

In regards to the songwriting process – because obviously there are the five of you – does every member have equal reign, or mainly one or two members?

It’s pretty even, to be honest. What generally works best for us is when someone kinda writes the initial idea, or one or two of us writes the initial idea, and then we’ll start demoing it. Then we’ll bring the rest of the band in and start working it from there. I do all the lyrics but everyone does their own thing. So, we’ll have the general idea and then everybody else just brings their own part.

Noticeably, you’re the only female in the band. Do you prefer that? You don’t have to share your make up or clothes with anybody else…

I hate sharing my make up! I actually used to be in another band with another girl, and I wasn’t the frontwoman. I guess [now] there’s more pressure on dressing the part [as the frontwoman], but I like that.

You prefer being the frontwoman?

Yeah, I like being the frontwoman. I can’t see myself as not being the frontwoman.

Well, I suppose you couldn’t really go back, could you? It’s kind of like if Mick Jagger decided to be a back-up vocalist, it just couldn’t happen. And he’d just be doing his dancing in the background…

[laughs] That would be the best!

I just had this mad vision of this random band playing, and Mick Jagger just pacing up and down doing his dance.

I was picturing him in a dress…with like another two girls, all singing into one mic.

And he’s got delicious big lips, so some nice red lipstick would be down a treat, I reckon.

Oh, yeah. He’d make a great girl.

Now I know that you’re super sensitive from the races, so I’ll go easy on you. But I just need to ask, on a serious note; the music industry is considered to be quite a male-dominated industry, do you – as a female frontwoman – find this? Being in the industry, do you see any bias towards females?

The females in the industry…have they gotten there because of themselves?

I don’t know. I mean, I get taken seriously. But like, I don’t personally like getting compared to people like Florence and the Machine. It’s like this real obvious comparison – like, ‘Oh, you’ve got red hair’. I don’t even have red hair, I’ve got kind of red hair. [laughs] But yeah, when people say that I have a strong voice and red hair that I must be the same as Florence Welsh. And you’re just like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’

I feel like there’s a lot of, with the whole female frontwoman thing, it’s easier to be compared to another female frontwoman than being compared to a band. Only being listened to for the female voice. And, I suppose, when you’re only being compared to one other person who’s current at the moment, it’s like, how the fuck are you meant to break into the industry when you’re supposedly being exactly the same as this other person? We’re completely different.

Two Birds is out now.

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