Review Fix chats with Charm of Finches Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes, who discuss their origin in music and new track, Gravity.
About Charm of Finches:
Melbourne sister duo, Charm of Finches, sing haunted folk tunes about love, grief and whispering trees with their signature tight sibling harmonies and chamber folk sound. Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes emerge from an eclectic musical childhood of Celtic strings and busking old-time tunes.
Their debut album “Staring at the Starry Ceiling”, produced by Nick Huggins of Little Lake Records and featuring the duo’s signature angelic vocal harmonies and captivating chamber folk sound, was praised for its candour and originality and named one of the best releases of 2016 by ABC Radio National. Their sophomore album “Your Company” in November 2019 on their independent label Conversations With Trees, they toured Australia widely. This album was Melbourne’s PBS Radio Album of the Week and winner of the Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album in the Independent Music Awards (IMA).
The duo has won many awards nationally and internationally and their music has featured on Australian TV. Their influences include Sufjan Stevens , Gillian Welch, Danish songstress Agnes Obel and First Aid Kit as well as the incredible homegrown talent in their local Victorian folk scene.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Ivy: We grew up in a musical household, where our mum taught choirs and is a musician and dad was obsessed with Bob Dylan and Irish poetry. We listened to a lot of folk music from Appalachian songs and Celtic tunes, busking down the road almost every weekend from when we were about 8 and 11. We would go to amazing folk music camps where you get to play music all weekend, with other music-obsessed kids.We recorded our first Ep when we were 11 and 14! Mabel had been writing songs for a couple of years and we met a producer who offered to record them. From there we started playing folk festivals and we are now recording our third album seven years later.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Mabel: A song may emerge out of intense emotions or experiences. Sometimes a song comes out of an intentional process of exploring poetry-writing using new melodies, or even pages from our favourite books! Sometimes we write songs together and sometimes individually, taking what we have to the other to add harmonies and to generally start the collaboration. Sometimes we record a guitar riff or chord progression and play it on repeat whilst writing stream of consciousness style ramblings. From there, we glean the best bits and the song-building begins.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Ivy: All sorts of things inspire us. Nature inspires us. Being in the wilderness. Beauty. Serenity. Musicians like Sufjan Stevens, Agnes Obel, Adrianne Lenker. We also draw inspiration from fine art and films. Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Film Noir. Contemporary filmmakers like Peter Greenaway. We love period costume films. Sophia Coppola’;s Marie Antoinette made us want to make our music video lies! We love making our own music videos and in fact consider it an intrinsic part of our work as artists.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Mabel: Our music is baroque folk, which implies an eclectic borrowing from a variety of folk music traditions, but with a contemporary edge. We incorporate cello and violin, as well as guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano and occasionally glockenspiel. If our music was a novel, it could well be “Wuthering Heights.”
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Ivy: We usually perform as a duo, although sometimes have also played with a string trio and glockenspiel/concert percussionist. Our music is very much underpinned by our harmonies, stories and songwriting, so this is always present in both the recording and live shows. We do love recording and arranging for albums, so the songs do become more dense and involve multilayered vocals and strings.
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
Mabel: This song is about “toxic positivity”. We wrote this song as a push back against the idea society purveys that if you only try hard and believe in your dreams, you will get what you want. This is such a trap, as we have both discovered in our own lives, in our experience of relationships and also dealing with a dear friend’s life threatening illness. Being told you are solely responsible for your dreams, and then conversely, if you don’t achieve these, that it is your own fault, is definitely toxic and damaging.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2021? What’s next?
Ivy: There will be a few more songs coming out. We have started to play live shows again, and have really enjoyed collaborating on new performance projects with other Melbourne artists. Occasionally we even sing back up vocals for a few acts, which is very fun, without the pressures of being the principal artist. We are in pre-production for yet another music video- this time inspired by film noir. The album will be coming out in October, which is super exciting too! We are hoping things settle down on the planet so we can tour internationally starting with the UK and Europe in mid 2022.