The Sunday Reeds are named after Melbourne '30s/40s patron of the Arts Sunday Reed. They're a Melbourne Australia based 3 piece who cite their influences as Sonic Youth, The Pixies, The Cramps, Francoise Hardy, Hole, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Marianne Faithful & The Ramones, we caught up with the band's singer Romana and chatted to her about supergroups, French sex shops and guitar fiddling, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
Kind of like Marianne Faithful fronting Nirvana.
You’re called The Sunday Reeds, how did you go about choosing this name?
During completing a PhD in literary and cultural studies I became obsessed with Sunday Reed (a well-known Melbourne patron of the arts) and her bohemian lifestyle in the 1930s/40s. Such an interesting woman and I always loved her name, it reminds me of church and Ophelia and my childhood.
Latest EP ‘Amour Tragique’ means tragic Love, is there a story behind the name?
Apart from all the tracks on the EP being dark, twisted love songs the name was inspired by my love of French New Wave cinema and also the break-down of my relationship with Drew (The Sunday Reeds’ guitarist). We broke-up during a tour of Europe and spent three days in Paris in the red light district where we shared a hotel room sandwiched between giant sex shops. It was a particularly troubling and emotive time for the band. Not because of the sex shops mind you, but because of relationship problems.
What music are you currently grooving to?
I have been listening to a lot of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood as well as Hole’s ‘Live through This’ and ‘Celebrity Skin’. I also tend to listen to a lot of blues based music such as Odetta and I love listening to The Modern Lovers right now. I am also quite partial to Garbage, particularly the ‘90s albums. I listen to Garbage on the train on my way to work.
Your debut album, ‘Drowning in History’ was met with huge acclaim, what did this do for you as a band and as people?
We got some attention for our debut album which was unexpected. We got to meet a lot of people by playing shows and getting radio play. It was also the beginning of the end of my romantic relationship with Drew (The Sunday Reeds guitiarist). So it was a bittersweet experience. Playing shows in the UK was the best part of releasing that album. We get a much better response in Europe than we get here in Australia so it really did boost our confidence as a band and as songwriters.
Your first two EP/Albums were with Squirrel records, you’re now with Heartgun Records, what made you change?
Initially I contacted Squirrel Records when we were looking for a label for our debut album. A fan on myspace (which was popular at that time) suggested we contact them. They were really supportive and helped us out with shows in the UK as well. We then released an EP through them but during that time we decided that we could self-release through our own label, and so I created Heartgun Records. I just thought that it was time to take charge of our own music and the way it is released. If anything, Squirrel Records inspired me to have our own label.
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer:
A dog that sings lullabies. I have trouble sleeping so maybe the dog can sing me to sleep.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
That is a really, really difficult question. How do you judge what is the best album? I don’t know what to say. Maybe The Velvet Underground & Nico? I think that they have been so influential for so many bands and Lou Reed is such an accomplished songwriter.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (Only living members please).
I really don’t like the idea of a ‘super group’ as there would be too many egos to deal with. How about Marky Ramone, Keith Richards, Shirley Manson, Courtney Love and Bob Dylan? Don’t ask me who is going to play what. I’d just like to see how that would work as a social experiment.
Loving the bassline at the beginning of ‘Make Her Jealous’, together with the emotive vocals, what is the inspiration behind this track?
Drew had the riff and some lyrics for the chorus but I really hated it so we changed the lyrics to ‘Make Her Jealous’ as I thought it was more interesting than a lyric like ‘You make me Jealous’. It was partly inspired by The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’. We had many disagreements about that song. Basically it’s just about a love triangle.
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
I don’t think I hold much back when it comes to members of the band. They already know what annoys me and what I like in terms of music and playing style. Although, I do need to remind Drew all the time not to play his guitar when I’m trying to speak or explain something in rehearsal. Guitar fiddling. That is a pet hate of mine. That, and listening to people chew.
Do you have any advice for musicians and bands who want to do what you are doing? And what’s the best way to get noticed by a record label?
Be prepared to work hard and do most of it yourselves. Stick to your guns and have a clear idea as to what you want to do. Listen to advice but don’t let other people tell you how you should sound.
First gig you ever went to?
As a teenager I went and saw The Smashing Pumpkins at Festival Hall in Brisbane. A friend’s mum drove us from Bundaberg to Brisbane to see them. I just remember that I wore a black satin blouse and got really overheated when I jumped the barrier to get into the 18+ section. Afterward my friend’s boyfriend shared a joint with us and when her mum came to pick us up she thought we were drunk.
Where is your favourite venue to play live and why?
I really like The Old Bar in Melbourne because it is intimate and I like the way it feels. I generally like smaller venues.
Where did you record your EP and what made you choose that studio?
We recorded it at Kindred Studio in Melbourne, it wasn’t so much a studio as a rehearsal space and we recorded, mixed and mastered everything ourselves.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
Hunter S Thompson, James Spader, Jean-Luc Godard
What’s your favourite Saturday Night album?
Nancy Sinatra – Boots.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Considering I am rather reclusive and busy all the time I don’t keep up with what is current so I’m not the best person to ask I guess. I don’t even read music magazines. They usually bore me. A good local Melbourne band is Sooky La La and the bass player, John Birrell, graces the cover of our new EP.
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
Anyone and everyone.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Why do you ask that?
What are your plans for the remainder 2014?
We have some interstate shows in Australia and we’re making a video clip for ‘Jean-Luc’. We’re also working on a new album.
Prior to heading on down to Bondi Beach to catch a few waves and do a spot of sight-seeing, we asked Romana a few quick fire questions to tease some more information out about her....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. I don’t drink cola. The caffeine isn’t good for anxiety.
Drum machine or the real deal?
Usually the real deal, but drum machines do have some advantages…
Mac or PC?
Paul Hogan or Adam Hills?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
If the songs are good then I don’t care what medium it is released on but I do like vinyl. I like the artwork to stand out.
Car or Motorbike?
Acoustic or electric?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
Google. It is usually more useful and answers my questions
You can get your hands on their new EP 'Amour Tragique' and loads of their other material by clicking HERE
We'd like to thank Romana for taking part in our 'Introducing' feature and we wish them every success for future gigs. If they ever roam over to UK shores, I'll be sure to be in the front row, dancing like a loon!
Interview by Mark Wincott