It’s been nothing but bells and whistles lately for Brisbane trio Avaberée having travelled the length of Australia and back from their incredibly successful, new EP called, “In Your Arms I Found My Secrets”. Two thirds of the group – Aimee and Genevieve – sat down with Rabbit Radio on the last day of BIGSOUND to unwind and talk about everything that’s been happening.
Have you played BIGSOUND before?
Genevieve [Bufalion (vocals)]: We played a showcase last year but we weren’t as prepared.
Aimee [Cavanagh (vocals)]: We applied and were stocked we got it because we didn’t think we would play. Back then we didn’t really have a team behind us but now we’ve got a publicist, management and the right people around us. We’ve definitely been getting the most out of it this year.
You’ve got these past 12 months to compare off. What’s the progression been like for Avaberée ?
Aimee: It’s been huge! Especially with our live set we’ve really worked on it to be more interactive. We used to just ride off the uniqueness of our harmonising vocals with acoustic guitars. Although, in the studio, we’ve delved more into an electronic territory.
Genevieve: When we went to LA last year, we really focussed on how to expand our sound by making it more diverse and more appropriate to bigger venues.
Aimee: Yeah, so this time last year we were still working out how to get the live show really going. Before we were more reliant on our drummer playing his samples and a lot playing through backing tracks. But now we’ve got more interactive samples, more synths done by us and live drums. It’s a lot more engaging rather than just three girls singing to their aunt, karaoke style.
Talk me through the new live set up. Who plays what and how it brings a more vivid live show?
Genevieve: We all swap positions, in terms of who plays what, during the set. So we have a Roland SP-404 which is where we load our samples on. We also have a MicroKORG which plays a lot of the bass lines. Michael, our drummer, plays live drums but also has a sample pad that goes in and out of.
Aimee: We usually have a “lead” for each song. Not necessarily a lead as in their the more dominant voice but more in terms of that person playing a percussive instrument or just dancing away (laughs).
Usually bands who take a more electronic approach to their music find it hard to transition from studio to stage. Did you guys have any issues?
Aimee: For us, yes, because we were all learning the technology. We weren’t completely new to the equipment and software but we had never played them in a live setting. Rather than just messing around with the technology in the studio, we had to be fluent with it.
Genevieve: It’s always a process to get a product live ready. You can’t just go from being in your bedroom to being BIGSOUND ready.
Avaberée can easily be categorised as pop music. But where do you see the genre boundaries and how do you like to push them?
Genevieve: We have shame in us calling ourselves a pop band because that’s the umbrella genre that we fit in. I think it’s always good to be pushing a musical boundary. With us, it’s not often that you come across vocally focussed, lyrically driven pop music. When it comes to the electronic side of the spectrum, you can notice and appreciate how hard they’ve worked on the music side of the track but the vocals appear to be more of an after thought.
Aimee: People think pop music needs to be the ultimate catchy tune with other people writing for you. We’re all open to collaborations and working with whoever is available but we still want to be in control of the Avaberée sound; three part harmonies, strong vocals and lyrics.
You’ve mentioned before your work over in America. What did that trip actually entail?
Aimee: Yeah, it’s really exciting. We signed to an indie label [Other People Records] over in the States.
Genevieve: They really opened us up to a lot of different contacts which included our producer [Tommy English]. He’s been doing a lot of stuff with Borns and Ladyhawke and really fell in love with our sound. We’ve also applied for CMJ showcase in New York and the Culture Collide showcase. We’ll have some downtime after BIGSOUND then straight over the LA for a few Culture Collide shows then New York for five-or-so CMJ performances.
Aimee: It was awesome that we could find that connection with the US and explore that market. Australia is great but it’s a tough market to break.
Genevieve: Having the pull of a US market can influence what happens here in Australia too. These upcoming shows will be our first shows in the States so we also want to return in maybe March or April of next year to keep something growing over there. We’re just really fortunate of Other People who believed in us from the beginning!
Avaberée’s “In Your Arms I Found My Secrets” EP is out now.