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Interview: Seven Questions For Tiny Ruins

Interview: Seven Questions For Tiny Ruins

Chris Cudby / Tuesday 16th October, 2018 12:45PM

Hollie Fullbrook's ongoing project Tiny Ruins are hitting the dusty trail this week for a special four date national tour in celebration of their woozily catchy single 'How Much', and are hinting at more excitement on the horizon with their recent signing to Courtney Barnett's label Milk! Records. Fullbrook's core band of Cass Basil, Alex Freer (A.C. Freazy) and Tom Healy captivated audiences at this year's Silver Scroll Awards, contributing to stellar renditions of songs by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Marlon Williams, and Jenny Morris, they'll be bringing their signature magic to venues in Christchurch, Nelson, Auckland and Wellington over the next few weeks. Fullbrook has famously worked with such luminaries as David Lynch, Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) and Lawrence Arabia, the Auckland-based songwriter kindly took time out to chat via email with Chris Cudby about artistic collaborations, her recent solo shows with The Chills and more. Check out the tour info here, snap up your tickets while you can and read Fullbrook's words below...

Tiny Ruins

Thursday 18th October, Blue Smoke, Christchurch w/ Ben Woods*
Friday 19th October - Nelson, Nelson Arts Festival
Thursday 1st November, Galatos, Auckland w/ Purple Pilgrims*
Saturday 3rd November, San Fran, Wellington w/ girlboss*

Tickets available HERE via UTR*

1. Your video for 'How Much' complemented the song perfectly - what was the process like in creating that clip? Do you have visuals in mind when you're writing your songs?

It started with a conversation about light and shadows with director Charlotte Evans, producer Evie Mackay and myself. I went away and found a whole lot of photographs - a lot of them old black and white movie stills, and they defined the look and feel for the most part. I was also influenced by Laurie Anderson's video for 'O Superman'. A lot of practical ideas came about on the day, in the space. We decided to use the projector screen, filming in front of it, and re-playing footage on the screen behind me to get all those double-up effects and that spooky sense of me watching myself. Bill, the Directer of Photography, used lots of different kinds of glass, vaseline on the lens, weird mirrors and stuff with the camera to get some of the effects. It was the first time I've felt creative and excited about using film as a medium. And the band were all dressed glamorously by Julia Thompson, which made the whole shoot feel dramatic and heightened.

2. What material will you be bringing to the stage for your tour beginning this week?

That's top secret info... I can't give you a complete rundown of our setlist but I can confirm it will be varied and there'll be something for everyone.

3. Who's in your live band for the tour? Did you see your bandmates on stage for the Silver Scroll Awards?

The core TR experience, with Cass Basil on bass, Alex Freer on drums and Tom Healy on electric guitar. We're fresh from the confines of our European tour van. I missed the Scrolls unfortunately, but watched rerun clips from afar. Especially admired Cass playing the 'Hunnybee' bassline. They are a great band.

4. How were your recent shows with Martin Phillipps and The Chills?

They were great. We wandered around small NZ towns together, had some good long drives listening to The Dirty Three and Yo La Tengo. Sometimes Martin would get recognised by diehard fans. It's awesome to see how much The Chills' music means to people. The crowd invariably end up dancing. I have huge respect for Martin as a songwriter, and getting to see them play several nights in a row was a special experience of their sound and their history.

5. How did you come to work with with Milk! Records?

I guess we'd all followed them and admired what they were up to for a few years. Tom used to play with Jen Cloher when she lived in Auckland. They are old mates. I met Jen and Courtney a few years ago. I find them hugely inspiring. We sent them the album, hoping they might have a listen, and they got back almost straight away saying they loved it and wanted to be involved.

6. I understand it's early to ask about the album or overseas tour plans, but could you please tell us if there’s anything specific you’re drawing creative inspiration from at the moment, lyrically and musically?

I think when you write or make stuff, you're kind of a radar, picking up on what's going on out in the atmosphere. And we're in an interesting 'moment', as they say... dystopian horror is feeling quite close at hand. And an insane level of distraction. Huge change feels just around the corner. Or is it happening? I'm watching the US, feeling bad about a lot of things really, worried & baffled by us all, wondering about our place in the universe, you know, the usual... I find it hard to disengage from everything that's going on. Writing a good song is sort of like striking the balance between engagement with the external racket and tuning in to your internal racket. They are both kind of noisy places.

7. You've worked with David Lynch, recently unveiled a song with Lawrence Arabia and of course released a collection with Hamish Kilgour a little while ago - do you have any more collaborative works on the cards?

There are always a few little things in the pipeline, but nothing I can talk of specifically. I'm hoping to make another EP with Hamish someday.

For tickets and more info on Tiny Ruins' upcoming tour of Aotearoa head along over here.


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Tiny Ruins - How Much Tour
Thu 1st Nov 8:00pm
Galatos, Auckland
Tiny Ruins - How Much Tour
Sat 3rd Nov 8:00pm
San Fran, Wellington