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French for Rabbits

French for Rabbits

Monday 17th October, 2011 12:28PM

French for Rabbits are a Wellington by way of Christchurch duo who writing lilting and emotional pop songs. We caught up with Brooke Singer - ex member of both Ragamuffin Children and The O'Lovelys - to discuss how the band started, what they've been working on and what's going on in Wellington at the moment.

How did you two meet and why did you start playing music together?

We met a long time ago, John was friends with a great band called 'Lesbo Mould' from Christchurch who came and played at my brother’s 21st birthday. It was a very wintery, stormy night I recall. We only started playing music together at the beginning of this year. I had always played in other bands, as a keyboard player. John was the first person to ever hear me sing (which was terrifying) and now he helps me write songs because he is really good at playing guitar and I am just learning!

Where does the name come from?

The name was just a phrase that popped into my head, I think I was literally trying to remember the French word for rabbits (Le Lapins) and I liked the sound of it. I used it for a top secret bandcamp so I could share a song with a couple of friends, and the name seems to have stuck. I now like to think of it as a little book of 'french for rabbits', something that would come out of a Beatrix Potter story.

Have you both been in bands before?

John went to Jazz School in Christchurch, he often played in a (nameless) duo with another guitarist, Burke Goffe. He spends more time surfing than he does playing music..! I used to play piano in a folk group called Ragamuffin Children and in The O'Lovelys which was the group preceding Laura's new awesome band O'Lovely. I also played for a little bit in a band called Valdera.

What kind of sonic influences inspire your music? Is it very collaborative?

We are both very much inspired by the seaside. Waves, seagulls, old sailors, lighthouse adventures, storms. Musically we tend towards a dreamy quality in the music. At the moment I've been listening to Marissa Nadler, Beach House, Tiny Ruins, Jess Chambers’ new album, and Videogames by Lana Del Rey... John likes Hip Hop especially Homebrew Crew, I don't think you can tell by listening to our music though? Maybe it will become more prominent when we figure out how to make beats on Ableton better.

What do you like about making music in the Wellington community?

I think we would be happy playing music anywhere, Christchurch and Auckland seem to have really good communities too. We've met so many lovely musicians since moving to Wellington. Everyone's super welcoming and helpful like the girls from St Rupertsberg. We are hopefully releasing an E.P in October which will be part of a new collective called 'Home Alone Music' which Timothy Blackman and City Oh Sigh are part of.

How did you get involved with Taupo’s BitterFM, and do you think it is important that New Zealand bands embrace opportunities in smaller towns?

Bryan from BitterFm is really supportive of New Zealand music, If it wasn't for him I don't we would have the opportunity to play in a place like that. It's an ideal halfway point between Auckland and Wellington and the audiences have been really good. We played at The Bay Bar and Brasserie, and I think we were the first live band they have had playing there in five or ten years (and they are keen to have more music there which is awesome).

What kinds of shows do you like playing? When are you playing next?

I'm not sure, little intimate shows in dimly lit places are nice. We are keen to do some outdoor daytime shows this summer, maybe in a hillside park in Wellington, in the gardens in Christchurch. We only started playing in February, and have just performed three shows out of Wellington, we'll be playing our first 'proper' tour in October.

What does the rest of the year hold in store for you both? Do you hope we’ll hear official releases soon?

Well, we have our little tour coming up in October, and we have our E.P which we recorded at the Surgery coming out on a mystery date in October or early November. I guess we will just see what else comes our way… Anything new will appear on our bandcamp page.

- Charlotte Billing