Bridget Boyle and I were invited to play a gig at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s ‘Livespark’ ahead of our engagements at the Powerhouse’s Queensland Cabaret Festival and RPAC. We did the gig as ourselves, rather than as our performance personae Warmwaters, which was be something different for us, and gave us a chance to talk about how we made the show, with a focus on the writing, curation, performance and arrangement of the songs.
You can read in more detail about the process of making this show here, but we took a very musical approach to making it. The songs had to hit a very particular ‘pocket’ they had to be duets, they had to be funny, they had to be bad (but good) and they had to be able to be performed with a straight face.
Any ‘in-jokes’ completely based in knowledge of the musical genre will tend to shut out as many listeners as they would amuse. I was also concerened that the laughter wasn’t generated out of meanness or cruelty. We road-tested the material, and experienced the sometimes strange and disorienting hinterland between musical and comedic performance where the jokes aren’t made obvious. It turns out that male-female duos are common in music but very rare in comedy.
In writing towards this zone I ended up writing twice the number of songs we ended up using, and it was a lot of fun to do. The tunes also had to be redolent of the folk genre, a style Bridget and I both love in our own ways, though our influences range much further, and seem to be focussed on the mid 1970’s. Here are some of the influences we traded while we were making the show.
R&J Stone – We Do It (1976)
Richard & Linda Thompson – A Heart Needs A Home (live 1975
Starland Vocal Band: Afternoon Delight (1976)
Peter Paul & Mary – Early Morning Rain (1966)
All Around My Hat: Steeleye Span (1975)
John Martyn – May You Never (1973)