Thursday, April 14, 2016

Second Album!

Exciting times here in Finchland

We are in the middle of recording our second album. Thanks to a grant from the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program we have been able to work with an amazing producer by the name of Nick Huggins. He has worked with lots of Melbourne musicians who we love, including Rowena Wise, James Kenyon and Domini Forster. It's been two years since we recorded "Home" and we have written so many new songs. We are also excited about having more time to record strings, piano and even a touch of Banjo (Ivy's newest love!!).

We are about to start work on the album artwork with an amazing young local photographer named Emma McEvoy. Check her our here!
To help us fund the artwork and actually pressing of CDs we are running a crowdfunding campaign on POZIBLE.    Here's the link here: 
or you can click on the image in the side bar on the top right of this blog.
 the little movie we made for it featuring cameos by our little bro Percy and our mum.

And here's Ivy frying an egg for Mabel to smother in chilli sauce in the video!

And, as is the way with independent musicians, we are simultaneous producing a music video for what may be the first single on our album, "Lost Girl". We travelled up into Mallee country past Mildura, (actually into NSW just over the Murray) and found some astounding sand hills.

and finally, we had the utter pleasure of going into the ABC radio studios and recording a song with Clare Bowditch. She asked us to choose a well known song for us to sing together. We chose Simon and Garfunkel's "El Condor Pasa" or that song about rather being a sparrow than a snail! We were inspired by the version our mum always plays on her favourite album of mainly murder ballads by the Wainwright sisters. It was such a treat to sing with Clare around one microphone in three part harmonies, and Ivy got to strum the banjo which made her smile a LOT!
You can listen here:

xx Mabel and Ivy

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Winter times

We hope this post finds you warm and happy or cool and happy, depending on which hemisphere you are in!
Right now, we are in semi-hibernation and song writing mode, after the very busy and fun summer/autumn of festivals! We are busy polishing a bunch of new songs ready for our up-coming show at The Spotted Mallard next month. see poster below!

We did play The National Celtic Festival a couple of weekends ago in the beautiful seaside town of Portarlington. It was such a beautiful festival, and aside from playing four very fun shows over the weekend and meeting lovely people, we also had the opportunity to spend the previous weekend rehearsing (playing big and little fiddles - aka violin and cello) with the visiting Scottish musicians from the Highlands, brought out to collaborate with Australian musicians by Feis Rois and the festival. 

The chance to play with Fraya and Gillian from The Duplets was the absolute highlight of our festival. Make sure you check out their music.
Here's a couple of pics: the one on the right is us kicking up our heels at the "Super Ceili".

Charm of Finches and Domini Forster

6.30pm doors/dinner, show 8pm, $5 entry
(under 18s with adult welcome)

We are playing a double headline show with the divine Domini Forster, who played at our launch last year. We all have a swag of new songs to share and excited to be playing an early show where under 18s are welcome and the atmosphere at The Spotted Mallard is lovely! Perhaps come early and grab a bite! We play 8pm and Dom is at 9pm.

After our "folk festival summer of fun", we noticed the popularity of "Songwriters In The Round" concerts. This seems to be catching on in a big way here in Melbourne town, and we are actually playing at a couple soon! 

*TUESDAY 7th JULY Songwriters in the Round at The Gasometer, Collingwood 8pm (18+ event)

We will be part of a songwriters in the round show featuring 12 different songwriters each playing three of their songs as part of the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival. You get a chance to hear the stories behind the songs.

*FRIDAY 7th AUGUST Songwriters in the Round @ The Wesley Anne, Northcote 7.30pm $15/ $10 Melting Pot members.  Another songwriters show featuring six songwriters this time! Presented by The Melting Pot.

And finally!!

In October, we will be travelling north to play at the inaugural Murwillumbah Country Roots Fest. We cannot wait! What delighted us though, was discovering that we have been sandwiched on the main stage between Kasey Chambers and her dad Bill Chambers! A Chambers sandwich! We are both big fans of "Rattlin' Bones", the album Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson made and Bill played on. We used to sing a song from it, "Rusted Shoes" , in three part harmonies when we performed as The Highway Sisters with our friend Bel. 

 Cheerio! x Mabel and Ivy

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Spring is a busy time for finches...

We launched our debut EP "Home" on the 23rd August at the Northcote Uniting church!
It was as perfect an CD launch as we could ever have imagined. The church filled with the most wonderful audience: family, friends, new fans, authentic "punters" taking a chance on a couple of school-aged songstresses....the result was a magical atmosphere we will never forget.
photo by Peter Cahill

As you can see, the Northcote Uniting Church is a very special place to have a concert. It's very  beautiful, has incredible acoustics and is in the middle of the Northcote live music hub. 
We were so lucky to have one of our all time favourite musicians as our support act! Domini Forster enchanted everyone with her glorious angelic voice and incredible songs.  It was also very special because Dom has seen us progress from busking outside the veggie shop where she sometimes works to launching our own EP, and has been encouraging and supportive all the way. Having mentors and meeting musicians who inspire you is a huge part of developing as a young artist.

photo by Peter Cahill
In the photo above we are playing "Home" with Domini on glockenspiel and Mabel's most excellent cello teacher Vince Ward. What a band! And below we are taking a bow, looking very, very pleased and excited! Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all those who came along,  our family and friends for all their support, our Pozible supporters and of course to Michael Johnson and Evripedes Evripidou for helping us make such a beautiful debut EP!

photo by Peter Cahill

and now....on to making video clips!

In September we were awarded a Grand Grant from Deakin Uni's Arts Participation Incubator to make a video clip for the title track of our EP, "Home". We chose this song because there is a lot of interesting imagery and it's dreamy! Here's us singing at the awards night at the Sofitel in Melbourne.
The first step in this project was visiting two classrooms at Collingwood College and Thornbury Primary School in order to perform our song and inspire drawings to use in the film clip. The drawings surpassed our expectations completely! Check out this photo!

Then we planned the shoot! Our lovely filmographer/animator, Kim Deylen (who we found through Umbershoot in Preston)  enrolled cinematographer  James Alexander (who is actually a unicorn: the photos will explain all!) and they found the perfect beach for our needs. We had the challenge of procuring a row boat and ended up making one with a fridge box, tape, glue, newspaper and paint!

Voila! The perfect Owl and Pussycat style pea-green boat, wouldn't you agree?

Sunday morning we headed off to the perfect wild Victorian beach for filming! Hooray!
Lucky we had plenty of hands (thanks Mike and Erin) to cart the props and instruments over the dunes.

getting tips from director Kim Deylen

note James has a unicorn hairstyle

Think we'll stop there so the video clip has a few surprises in it!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

the making of "Home" (or the story of a snowball...)

With only two weeks before the official launch  of our debut EP "Home" in Melbourne, we thought we'd look back at the journey!

Last November Mabel decided she wanted 2014 to be the year she recorded her music. We'd had a taste of studio recording after we won some recording time at The Aviary in the battle of the bands and we got the bug then!
Mabel and Fraser at The Aviary recording studio
These thoughts coincided with Mabel being given her Year 8 major project to consider over the Christmas holidays. At first the idea was to record at home on Garage Band and burn some copies for family and friends with hand painted covers. Another idea popped up. Could we record another way? Do it more "professionally"?  Soon after this we enlisted the help of Michael Johnson, who had mentioned once during an impromptu Sunday afternoon concert in our kitchen that he would like to record us.
We started out in  the hills outside Melbourne at Mike's house, but after one session where we sadly witnessed the death of Mike's sound recording software, we had to change plans.

with Mike at his home studio in the hills

We also started wondering how we could get many copies made, and then the idea of running a Pozible crowd funding campaign came up! Our friend Beth Knights had run one a couple of years ago and we were keen supporters, so we thought why not, perhaps a few people might support us!
We drove out to Castlemaine, silent movie placards in hand, and our friend Tim showed us a great forest to film in. Mum shot it on her iphone (yep)  and the campaign was launched soon after.

After  reaching our goal in only 12 days and gaining 77 supporters the momentum for our EP was truly set!
Recording diverted to the very calm, lovely Evripedes Evripidou's studio Emotion Studios. We did a marathon day recording the songs pretty much live  with both of us singing with guitar all in one take, plus quite a few extra sessions to re-record Way Back Down the Track, cello and glockenspiel. After a couple more  mixing and mastering sessions our EP was recorded! We spent out entire busking savings (thanks to the good folk of Fairfield!).
For the photography we had our lovely friend Mara Ripani take many many photos. We even went to Black Rock beach at the break of day one wintery Sunday morning to take photos (and ended up in the water!). You wouldn't know it was so blustery and freezing from the final photo on the inside of the EP!

Next came the artwork by a wonderful local artist Belinda Suzette. Her work is so fun, we knew she would do a great job. We also had help with our booklet from our friend and designer Di Diddle and Mabel did the artwork for the booklet.
Mabel's artwork

And of course, we are still recording and editing videos and sewing up hand embroidered bento bags for our dear devoted and patient Pozible supporters!!
filming the video of Wild Mountain Thyme (for Anna B)

It's been huge, fun, challenging and surprising. And soooo satisfying to have a beautiful little square/round parcel full of our six little heartful songs sounding so nice at the end of it all!!!

And in two weeks exactly, we will have a concert to launch the little EP  into the world. In actual fact, the music has begun its own life in the universe, already playing in lounge rooms and kitchens and cars all around the world.What a thought!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Exciting Times at Finch Central

So much is going on right now! So much big finch news.

Firstly, our EPs came back from production! "Home" came home. Five boxes arrived early one morning and it felt soooo great! And a bit unbelievable. From the planning days around Christmas last year, to the search for a way to record it, the Pozible campaign and then the artwork and photography, it's been an exciting, rewarding and fun journey.

Belinda Suzette's artwork is incredibly striking. Mara Ripani's photography is just beautiful.
And well, with the songs in the capable and sure hands of Michael Johnson and Evripedes Evripidou producing and engineering, the album is something we can be truly proud of! We're releasing it really soon on Bandcamp and our launch is at the Chalice Uniting Church, Northcote on Saturday 23rd August with the wonderful and special  Domini Forster.

Can you believe it!! We were chosen for the Corner show for Clare Bowditch's Winter Secrets competition! We got the news just before going bush up in Darwin. There was a bit of squealing and dancing. Whatever we imagined it was going to be like, it was twenty times more fun! Clare Bowditch is the most lovely, friendly, fun and relaxed person who made us feel just so relaxed from the moment we turned up at The Corner for the soundcheck. AND we met Adalita, and she is also so friendly and cool and we are total fans of both of them forever! We actually didn't know who Adalita was before that night or heard her music. That's all changed as we've had her album "Adalita" on high rotation all weekend! That last photo above is Mabel being in awe while Adalita is performing to 700 people.
As for our song with Clare, we totally enjoyed it and the audience were great and cheered a lot! How fantastic is this photo!
and finally!! We made a trip to Kakadu and got totally inspired by nature in a big way and we suspect we even spotted a charm of finches in flight (though they could have been honey-eaters)! We borrowed a purple guitar (thanks Caitlin) and besides singing songs around the fire, two new Charm of Finches songs were born. They'll have to wait for the album! Ha!

x  from finch central

Saturday, June 21, 2014


We've seen some amazing music this week!
One of our favourite bands ever, The Mae Trio, played in Brunswick at The Spotted Mallard on Thursday night, joined by the Wise sisters and their amazing mum Louisa Wise. It was an inspiration! The Mae Trio are so very special! Their songs seem perfect. The harmonies, the unique rich quality of each of their voices, Anita's cello, the spangly folk-sequin dress, the banjo love (we love Maggie's new "Mr Moon" song).
And the Wise sisters Rowie and Lucy and Louisa their mum! We are a bit in love with Rowena Wise's songs! She sang a song she wrote when she was 14 which struck a chord, naturally!
Here's her more recent song, Hollow Hearts:

The other lovely thing about The Mae Trio and The Wise ladies if that they are family bands, like ours!  There's something pretty cool about being able to rehearse at home whenever you want! We've been practicing our harmonies since we were really little, like every bath time when we were little right up until today, making scrambled eggs together!

We also saw Michael Johnson, our dear friend who produced our EP "Home" in April/May launch his own CD "Wind Through The Strings" at the exquisite St Michael's Church in Melbourne. His music is so transporting, and he had a seriously killer band with Evri (our dear sound engineer for "Home") on his six string electric bass , Matthew Arnold (violin) and Michael Canolon (cello).
Congratulations Mike!

Also, the Clare Bowditch Winter secrets Comp is still running. Though we've received 176 votes to date, there's some tough and excellent competition! Clare gave the heads up on our video on her Facebook page. Thanks Clare!
Post by Clare Bowditch.

We are rehearsing for the up coming gig  at The Owl and The Pussycat in Richmond with our mum's band Dear Cedar. There may even be a bit of collaboration between the bands!

And finally!! We sent off the CD master this week!! Leaps of excitement!
photo by Mara Ripani

Sunday, June 15, 2014

comps and green hills and stuff...

Making an album is busy work! Our artwork is underway with Belinda Suzette and we are soon to send off the album to be made!
This morning we drove out to the misty hills outside Melbourne town to record Anna Branford's special request of Wild Mountain Thyme. We're editing now!

Other BIG news: we need your votes! We have entered Clare Bowditch's Winter Secrets Tour competition because we really want to get to sing with her on stage! The entry with the most votes wins that opportunity (plus $1000!).
We did a cover of her song "I Thought You Were God" in the local dog park!

Please go here to vote or even here for an even more direct route!! It looks like the competition is only for Facebookers.
(scroll down the pink column on the grey side bar to find our entry).
There's some tough competition! It ends  Friday 27th June. Wish us luck!

Here is the video (but remember to go to the website to vote!):
click here!

Oh, and finally, we recorded a bonus track as part of the Pozible rewards, "Girl in the Lighthouse", and it is now able to be listened to (and downloaded) on Bandcamp. Exciting! Hope you enjoy the song. It's a different style of songwriting for us.
Here's the link:

x Mabel and Ivy