Perth band Green Pools are making strides with their blend of pop folk sounds. Previously known as Gamba, vocalist Tess Hutchinson, guitarist Joe Simich and drummer Kim Thair now joined by new band members, guitarist Harry Love and bassist Owen McGinty giving Green Pools a new dynamic to their soulful, guitar-driven music.
They’ve released new single Middle Eye, an upbeat folk pop tune as well as a new video for single Neighbourhood Hero. Tess Hutchinson spoke with the Hi Fi Way about new music and future plans for this young band.
You have a new single called Middle Eye out now. What is that song about?
Its about having something on your mind that shouldn’t be. Something that keeps playing on your mind that isn’t necessary a healthy thing whether it be a boy or girl or an issue that you should really move past but it keeps lingering.
Your previous single was Neighbourhood Hero. Tell us the menaing behind that song.
It was written for someone who passed away in my family and its someone who looks after lots of people but doesn’t really look after themselves. They help everyone else out and doesn’t really water their own garden. And how I felt about that and reflecting on it.
The video for that song is out now. Can you tell us what its all about?
That was made by a local film maker. We filmed it on super 8 so it’s got a real vintage feel. She basically followed us for a couple of days and it’s just us playing all together. It’s all little Easter eggs to do with the person that the songs written about and the songs got his voice in it and it’s got little mementos from my family life. Its really cool and we’re really proud of it. That’s our little baby!
Did you write the songs or it a collective effort with the band?
I do lyrics and usually it kind of starts with my ideas and then we all arrange it and write the rest of it together. The lyrics are all mine and the boys help out with everything else.
Now that you are a five-piece band how has the sound progressed from when you first formed the band?
It just means you have so much more freedom with your arrangements and everything can sound bigger. I’ve always wanted to have an acoustic and an electric in the same band. I just really love the sound of both together. So, having that is a real luxury. We still sometimes play gigs as a three or four piece. You have to be flexible, but I always prefer playing five piece now. I’m a bit spoilt!
So how would you describe the Green Pools sound?
I think its kind of nostalgic, alternative folk. We’ve got lots of different influences. We always like to say if Fleetwood Mac had a baby with Alt J (laughs). That kind of thing! It’s quite tough to describe a lot of our music especially since our last two singles sound quite different from previous ones. So alternative folk I think is the easiest way to describe it but nostalgic is definitely our vibe.
Lisa Loeb comes to mind when I listened to your music.
Oh cool! We’ve been told that we sounded like a mix of The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins. A lot of that early 90s music. It’s a weird genre to describe it’s like kind of pop folk.
How did you come up with the name Green Pools? Is there a meaning behind the name?
We used to be called Ganbar which was a street we used to rehearse on then we had some changes in our band and we had been writing some new things and met the two new members and we all took a trip down south to Albany then to Denmark (Western Australia) which has an area called Greens Pool and it was just a really great day. We wrote a bunch of songs that weekend. One of the songs was called Green Pools and that kind of epitomised the whole change of the band and it really felt like that should be our name now. It was kind of inspired after a trip.
You mentioned earlier that you hadn’t been together long. How did the band form and how long have you been together?
We’ve been together in different kind of variations for about 3 and half years now. I met Joe at Uni and I went to school with Kim and then we basically started jamming together. Harry we also went to Uni with and Owen was in another band we really liked and when that band disbanded, we inherited him like a nice antique (laughs) it was cool. Then we moved to Fremantle and we were all in the same area, so it made it really easy to stay together.
Do you all have similar musical tastes or do you all have different styles which then came up with a Green Pool sound?
That’s the funny thing to be honest. I hope that it comes across that we all sound quite unified but we all definitely have very different music tastes and I think that a strength because we all have different influences. I like folk but I also grew up listening to lots of Corinne Bailey Rae, Lianne La Havas and lots of alternative soul artists. I love Jeff Buckley. Joe also likes Jeff Buckley and he came from a harder rock perspective. Harry really progressive rock and Owen really likes super throwback like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I mean we all obviously love that stuff too but he’s definitely our throwback guy.
How did you get into music? Have you always been musical or did it come to you at a later stage in life?
I really fell into it to be honest. I wanted to be an actress for years and that’s what I thought I was going to do and then I auditioned for music college and you had to audition for two things. There was a new course that was a song writing course. The course coordinator rang me and asked, “Do you want in?” and that was the only course that accepted me at this performing arts school. I’m a writer so I’ve always written stories, poems and books so it probably would have happened at one point.
I really love the sound of your voice. Did you always sing? I mean you mentioned you fell into this much later in life so I‘m wondering if you didn’t realised you had such a great voice? Or it wasn’t a direction you thought to go?
(laughs) Thank you very much. I mean I liked to sing and I played piano but I did it for fun. I did a lot of musicals so I thought I was going to do that. I think doing acting felt a bit strange but singing and performing I realised was the only thing that felt natural. I felt like myself so I realise that was the best way for me.
There’s so much music out there and Australian music is getting better and better. What are your thoughts on that?
Oh definitely! It so exciting especially in Western Australia because people have started to notice that’s there’s lots of talent and lots of really good bands here. I think maybe the climate and also the way WA is a little bit cut off from the reset of Australia. Its kind of like a little eco-system in its self and there’s so much creativity here. Even last we went to see Jack Davies and the Bush Chooks and he’s doing really well right now. There’s so many of our friends Joan and the Giants, Good Grace there’s so many Perth bands that are huge. Stella Donnelly is obviously massive. Yeah, it’s really exciting to be a part of that scene and to have so many friends do well. Hopefully for us too!
Yeah, I hope so too! But you’re right in the respect of the WA scene. I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over there but at the moment you guys are churning out some good quality music. With all the monotonous kind of music that’s come out in the recent decade its good that people are getting back to basics with music.
Oh yeah honestly, we were having this conversation the other day just out of interest we were looking at the top 100 iTunes list and what was the most popular and there was some really weird stuff on there. Music seems to be at an interesting point in time so I think its important to kind of keep being real and try to be honest. What our goal is try and be as honest as you can and make music that’s actually about something personal even if its not the most comfortable thing to do or the most popular.
Don’t get me wrong I like a good cheesy pop song that takes you into a world that you just escape to but you don’t want it at the expense of real musicians playing real instruments and creating their own art.
Completely! But sometimes I think the tendency to escape we escape too much! (laughs) For a lot of the music I want to write I try is not the most pleasant subject but that’s the way I kind of try and work through that. When I listen to music, I love stuff that makes me confront things that I’d rather not confront even if it’s really subliminal things. I think that’s really cool that people are still doing that and we definitely want to be a part of that.
Are you playing any live gigs around Australia or is it just Western Australia at the moment?
Just in WA at the moment but the plan is to do some regional tours first and we would love to play Sydney and Melbourne. I’m obviously Scottish so we’re hopefully planning to go over for the festival next year and do some stuff there. Yeah touring is a big goal for us.
What are your future goals for Green Pools?
We’ve just recorded another single and about to do another one. We’ve got an EP that’s coming out. Then our plan is to tour and play lots of festivals. We really want to play as many Australian Folk festivals as we can because we’ve been to so many of them and they’re so much fun. So recording and playing live that’s what we love doing.
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
Photo Credit: Annie Harvey
Follow Green Pools on Spotify