From the sunny Gold Coast comes Buella Blue. Explaining the music that is made by Buella Blue is quite hard to put into words. It's more of a feeling - a raw and honest connection to music, emotion and themes and a deep appreciation for the incredible musicianship of this artist.
After a two year break from performing Buella Blue is launching her DIY EP A Song Cycle of Grief in V Parts at Banshees Bar and Art Space in Ipswich. Roo had a very honest chat with Buella about the EP, the show and her influences and sound. Read on and take a glimpse inside the world of Buella Blue.
- N.B. The following interview touches on subjects that may be distressing. If you need to talk to somebody, please call Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 -
You have recently released your DIY EP, 'A Song Cycle of Grief in V Parts'. Can you tell our readers about your EP and your writing and recording process?
The DIY EP 'A Song Cycle of Grief in V Parts'; a shitty recording about a shitty time is exactly this. A really shitty, acoustic live recording in the lounge room of my little Gold Coast duplex. The smoke alarm beeps in the background, the keyboard pedal scratches and clanks on the floor, birds squawk and sirens howl in the distance.
The songs were written in direct response to the extremely personal and tragic events of Aug-Oct 2016. The man I believed to be the love of my life was lost, first to ‘the other woman’ and then to a rapid spread of cancer resulting in his death October 24 2016. I became heavily alcoholic, obsessively suicidal and nearly lost my own life many times over since.
Critically speaking, the EP could be described as a reflection of how grief is so personal and unique to each individual. It seemed right to follow my intuition and just get the songs out no matter what the quality. Seeing as I was horrendously drunk through 1 of the last 2 years it also seemed only fitting to get this out in all of its vile rawness. Part of my drive to get through the cycle of grieving was a hope of freedom and empowerment by doing it all myself; reclaiming my own sound, my own strength going only by the clock of the healing process. That said, if I had the financial backing it would have been wonderful to record in a lush studio on a Steinway grand piano with all of the luxuries of studio mixing! But I don’t, I didn’t and that’s OK. This story is not pretty or sparkling. It’s gritty, it’s vulgar, it’s devastating and no amount of polish in production could ever change the fact.
You are playing for the first time in a couple of years at Banshees Bar and Art Space to launch your EP - what can the audience expect from the show?
Very good question…. There may be tears, not just mine! I’m lucky enough to have the time provided by Banshees Bar and Art Space to perform 2 sets of Buella Blues’ original black cabaret performed solely with piano and voice. There will be a mix of old and new songs from Buellas' repertoire of songs of death and disappointment. Perhaps even a cover or two. Regardless, prepare to be utterly unprepared for the emotions stirred via demonic tangoes, ghost ballads and minimal drone or doom-like soundscapes.
Why have you chosen Banshees for your launch?
I was utterly delighted and felt it divinely predetermined that this banshee should release her demons at such an aptly titled venue! I’ve been following the renovations and reveal this year in the shadows of social media and what really stuck out to me was the passion and drive of Nina and Kenneth Weaver to support original music, art and the community of Ipswich. Support is a two way street and I’m honoured to do my part in promoting and performing in any venue who supports musicians and the arts as fervently as these guys do.
Can you describe your sound, influences and live show for readers who have yet to hear Buella Blue and the tell tale heart?
Photographer John Elliott has described Buella Blue as “Carol King gone to the dark side”, others have likened it to “a cabaret on Meth”, “the death of pop”, “the most powerfully unique songs I’ve ever heard”.
Growing up quite isolated and prohibited to explore many musical genres, baby Buella learned and performed the classics, often practising the piano for up to 12 hours a day. Though Buella has never had any formal vocal training, her style and strength all began from singing with her Grandad in churches and old folks homes. From this, a passion for all things vintage, vaudeville and a little bit dramatic became a trademark flavour to her early songs.
Buella also explored her ancestral gypsy roots and developed an obsession for tango and the notions of channelling demon possession through the driving rhythms of this slaves dance. In later years, artists such as Diamanda Galas, Nina Hagen, Kate Bush, Astor Piazzolla, Scott Walker and Justin Broadrick are a few of the frequently rotated.
The live show is unpredictable. What will happen? Nobody knows. One thing is certain and that is a passionate and moving expression of the rawest emotion will be expressed through piano and voice. There may be moving images, spoken word, art and audience participation or a portal to the underworld may swallow us all! You’ll have to go to find out.
Buella Blue plays Banshees Bar and Artspace - 131 Brisbane Road, Ipswich on Saturday, October 27th at 8pm (doors open from 5pm) - Free Entry!