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August 20, 2018 | by  | in Interview | [ssba]

In a Room with Womb

Womb are a trio of siblings that make deeply emotional, textural music that might just allow you to transcend to a new emotional plane. You really have to experience Haz’ synth alchemy, Georgette’s flair-filled drumming, and Charlotte’s pained melodic howls live and in person to be able to fully absorb their brilliance, but they also have a wonderful debut album that they released earlier this year, entitled Like Splitting the Head From the Body. The three of them sat down with me to have a natter about The Weeknd, how cool their mum is, and a whole bunch of other things too saucy for print. You can check out some of our conversation below.
Salient: Can you describe your music without using any music words?
Charlotte: This is always the hardest question! Ok, I’m relying on you two for cool words.

Haz: Post-Trump.
C: Wait, did someone call us that?
H: No, I’m just being a dick. Post-New Zealand gothic! Georgette: Emo!
C: I think you forgot that we’re really bad at answering questions!
S: So, with the new album being more textured, were you aiming towards a fuller and more experimental sound, especially looking at playing with vocal samples on “Feeling Like Helium” and that sort of stuff?
H: I don’t think we had an intention necessarily in mind, it’s just kind of the product of us recording together live, where all our instruments are being recorded at the same time. I guess that’s just from playing live shows together, cause we all enjoy that and the energy that’s involved in that. So we had that as the foundation, but Charlotte really enjoys the home recording stuff, and being able to reiterate different things and go over and do lots of editing, so the live recording is kind of a fusion of those two things.
C: Yeah, the home recording becomes an obsession, like “oh, let’s do another vocal take” even though it probably doesn’t need it that much. It’s just really fun to do.

G: Maybe we’re intuitively texturally motivated.
S: Rad! So, obviously, you’re a family, you’ve been playing together for a while — was there an epiphany kind of moment where you were like “wow, we’re super magical together”, or was it just a gradual and kind of organic process?
C: Well, we all went travelling separately at the same time in 2015. I think Womb was still just me at that point, and it came to the point where like, that can only go so far. Then I feel like when we all got back, it just kind of happened. We played a show, and then we were a band! It did feel like the natural thing to happen, because I always feel quite musically shy around other people. Like I had jammed with other people and it was really cool, but it wasn’t like the sound was very different. Whereas with Hazzie and Georgette, it’s like they do just exactly what I want and I don’t even know I want it.
H: I guess it would come from like, cause Georgette used to play music for us when we were way younger, and now we all show music to each other. Although Char just listens to The Weeknd now.
C: Yeah, I listen to The Weeknd. You can definitely quote that. I would go out with him in a heartbeat.

G: We do have our own separate music tastes as well, but there’s also a lot of crossover, and I feel like what we do brings each of our unique tastes in.
S: Following on from that, I remember being out on the balcony at a show you were playing at San Fran a while ago. I’d had a few little puffs of a joint, and then ended up super inexplicably blazed and started freaking out, anxiously trying to get off this packed balcony that I thought was going to fall off the side of the building! Then I finally got inside and you guys were playing and it was like “Ahhhhhhh”, I did feel like I was enveloped in a womb of lovely tenderness and calm. I feel like that’s a reflection of your beautiful relationship and level of sub-linguistic communication with each other, it almost feels like we’re being temporarily let in on your connection with each other through the music, and it’s super tender and emotional and evocative in a way that most music isn’t. Do you feel that? Do you feel like the kinship thing gives it a whole other dimension?
C: That’s so nice!
H: I feel like that’s just what’s there, that’s what’s available, and it just works.
C: Yeah, there just wouldn’t be another way.
H: Yeah, like I find it really hard to make music with other people, especially in a live setting. I would just never be in a band with anyone else, it would be so hard.
C: It’d be so awkward, I don’t know how you would do it!

H: Maybe it’d be more professional, if you had more of a structure.
C: *Laughs* But yeah, we definitely have it where we’re communicating without saying anything when we’re making the songs, so that’s really cool. I think someone once said me and Hazzie do this thing where we rock together, in sync, so I feel like it’s this very subconscious thing because we’re so used to each other.
S: You’re all quite different on stage as opposed to in your general daily lives, Charlotte especially. Do you feel that you have to separate your music personas from your private selves?
C: I don’t feel like I have to separate it out from myself, more that it’s just a different part of myself. A lot of the music is quite sad, so it’s not something that I want to be in social situations. I think I get quite scared on stage, so it’s probably partly that as well.
G: I think maybe I feel a bit more reverent. Like, it’s a pretty great honour to be on stage. I also probably have to pay the most attention, because I’m the most novice still at my instrument, so I have to not let my guard down otherwise I’ll fuck up.
C: You do look like you approach it with a reverence, it’s quite cute.
G: I’m still really stoked to even continue to be asked to come back to play in the band, and it’s always a great honour that people want to come and watch.

H: Yeah, totally.

S: What other parts of your life influence the way you play music?
G: I feel like I approach it in a very similar way to the way I approach visual art.
C: Yeah, even in the new song, the way Georgette plays drums kind of forms a figure 8, so it’s pretty visual.
G: I like listening to other songs and maybe thinking about how to steal the drumbeat. Oh, and Charlotte’s emotional states.

C: *Laughs* do they inspire you?
G: No, they inspire you to write lyrics!
C: Oh yeah, totally. It’s quite fun that anything that happens around us could inspire a song, you know? […] And our mum! She inspires us.
S: Speaking of your mum, what kind of role does she play in your collective musical lives?
G: I just can’t get over how cool it is that we were all inside her stomach! Or her womb I mean.
C: She’s just so cool! I have this weird thing where I really need her approval for stuff. Knowing that she’s got our backs, it’s a really nice to be able to make music and know that she likes it. I would understand if she didn’t like it and we’d still make music —
G: Well, we might not. Would we still make it if she didn’t like it?
C: Maybe not! She can be harsh. I was just thinking about this time when I was drawing and she didn’t like it, and Georgette says I haven’t drawn since then!
G: And I was trying to make illustrations for a children’s book and she didn’t like it, and then I just couldn’t do it anymore.

C: We’re whipped! Whipped on our mum.

S: That’s beautiful, but also a little bit sad.

C: Yeah actually, don’t put that in, we’ll sound like freaks!

S: You’re not freaks, you just love your mum! Ok, now I’m gonna wrap it up with a hard question: if you could choose any band or artist to cover any song of yours, which band and which song would you choose?
C: I’m gonna say The Weeknd, covering our song “When The Night Breaks Up”. I feel like that song would just suit him.
G: I want Charlotte to cover “Pure Morning” by Placebo. Or Micachu to do a Womb cover, of ‘Here We Bend (To Smell the Dirt)’.
C: Ooh yeah, that’s a good one. Alexa Casino didn’t do a cover, but she did a remix of “Satellite” and it’s so cool, I wish we’d written the song like that.

H: Yeah, it’s got bells and stuff in it. So cool.

Womb are currently working on new stuff, and don’t have any live shows on the horizon. In the meantime, you can find their debut album at w–o–m–


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