INTERVIEW: Seeker Lover Keeper release new album 'Wild Seeds'
Interview: Jett Tattersall
Australian supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper was formed in 2010, by Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby. Successful solo artists in their own right with a number of major music awards between them, they released their debut self-titled album in 2011, which became a surprise smash hit peaking at number 3 on the Australian album charts. After a successful national tour, they re-commenced their solo careers before reuniting late last year and recording their second album Wild Seeds which is released today. We recently chatted to the band about creating the album, their incredible music videos and their upcoming tour.
First of all, how are things in the world of Seeker Lover Keeper?
Holly: They’re exciting.
Sarah: Exciting because our album is coming out. It feels like we’ve waited a long time but then it kind of creeps up on you. We’ve done a couple of warm up shows a few weeks ago and that got rid of the cobwebs and the sort of hesitation within us. And now we feel really ready to play shows and put the record out.
You’re three stellar solo artists. It sounds almost like a joke, you know? Holly, Sarah and Sally walk into a bar… Tell me how this super group got together?
Holly: We were actually in a bar! The Townie in Newtown. Sarah and I had gone to see a New Buffalo show, which is Sally before she was recording under Sally Seltmann, and then ended up at The Townie afterwards. We were just having a big kind of love in and I think it was the first time that the three of us had all hung out together and Sarah said we should all tour together which we thought would be fun. Then over email and the next few months that kind of morphed into Sally saying ‘let’s not tour together, let’s start a band.’ She had the name already and me and Sarah were like great, we just said yes.
Is one of you the seeker, one of you the lover and one of you the keeper?
Sarah - We like to keep it fluid. Each person becomes a component of that at different times. There’s three sort of fairly open-ended kind of words that can kind of conjure up different things in the audience. But sometimes we’ve joked that Sally’s the keeper, you’re the lover and I’m the seeker.
Holly - I remember Sally saying ‘but I want to be the lover!’ This time around I feel we’re all a bit different now anyway. It’s been a long time and I think we all could relate to the three differently.
Sarah - It felt like a classic girl group name and that’s what we wanted to do, have just a slight nod to girl bands like The Ronettes or Trio, the collaboration between Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. So, I think Seeker Lover Keeper seems to suit three women coming together. I think it’s shaped what the music sounds like and what we’ve written about because I think a lot of the songs are quite tender.
You’ve grown as individuals both creatively and artistically since your first album and you’ve clearly gone through separate emotional journeys. Can you talk me through the momentum and the message behind this album?
Sarah - We tried work out what our common ground was. We all talk a lot when we get together just about whatever is going on in our life.
Holly - The song writing session is like an hour talking and then two hours writing!
Sarah - It just naturally happened. The album is fairly nostalgic and a lot of the songs are kind of looking back at where we once were and who we are now.
Holly - But there’s also quite a looking forward feeling as well. A sense of kind of optimism, I guess. It’s one of those things where we would talk about what every song was about before we’d write the songs but it was only until we got towards the end of the song writing process that we could then look back and see those unified themes across the whole record. It’s not like we were sitting there and saying ‘what message do we want to convey?’ There’s a lot of songs about friendship, there’s a lot about the conflicting ideas that we all feel inside, like this real longing for connection, but also really longing for solitude. We would talk about things that we were feeling, trying to keep balance in our lives and they kind of come out in the song writing.
Is it different writing as a group as opposed to writing solo with all of your many talents at your hand?
Sally - No, the song writing was done very simply. It’s just really done on a keyboard and a guitar. And we wanted to keep the recording really simple as well.
Sarah - Because usually a good song will stand out if it’s just piano and it’s only three of us singing and then we figure out whether piano would be the main instrument or guitar. One of the songs was on a keyboard called a Mellotron. It’s very well known for being in Beatles songs, like ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
Holly - They sample all different instruments. You can activate the keyboard, but it sounds like a flute or a string or a saxophone. They’ve got an almost kind of antique-y quality to the sounds.
Sarah - It’s over the whole album, so when you hear strings or organ or whatever it’s all Mellotron.
Can we talk about your recent music videos? You’ve got Yael Stone ‘Wild Seeds’ and obviously Magda Szubanski in ‘Let it Out’, both directed by Natalie van den Dungen. This is an amazing solid collective female powerhouse which I’m loving.
Holly - There’s also ‘Superstar’ with Madeline Madden (Mystery Road, Dora The Explorer) who’s just an amazing young actress. Unlike Magda, she’s at the very beginning of her career, she’s very dreamy and has this amazing quality. Those were the three that we chose and they all said yes, and we were so thrilled. We wanted a different range of ages and very different personalities.
Sally - Yeah, Magda’s really known for her comedy but we wanted to see something different in her and she really loves that.
Sarah - All three of them have quite an active political life. They’re activists in their own way, and proudly so, and we really loved and supported that side of their identities as well.
It works incredibly well and ‘Wild Seeds’ with Yael Stone, it’s so funny and then heartbreaking. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Sarah - She really takes you on a real ride of emotions. You’re pissing yourself laughing and then you’re really confronted. She’s very powerful.
To send this killer album out with the fanfare that it deserves, you’re heading out on your self-titled national Wild Seeds tour kicking off in the Blue Mountains September 5 all the way across Australia through to October 4th which is ridiculously exciting. You said you’ve done a couple of test shows, what can the audience expect and are there any surprise songs or sounds that the audience have reacted to?
Holly - There’s a lot of banter, a lot of stupid banter! It gets really awkward and we kind of just make it fun.
Sally - We’re all playing, last time we didn’t all play the keyboards parts as much. We’re all up the front together singing.
Sarah - We do some of the old songs and some of the new songs.
Holly - We played the entire new record at these last shows, start to finish. So we’ll do something different on the next tour. We have a lot of songs now, which is kind of exciting.
What is the song you’ve noticed that really gets the crowd going?
Holly - I feel like ‘Superstar’ because we did that first and I think there’s just something about the chorus and the harmonies. I loved singing that.
Sally - ‘Let It Out’ really resonated with people.
Sarah - Yeah, ‘Let It Out’ gets the woo clap where it’s slow.
If you could fantasy football your own female supergroup, pick someone alive dead from wherever you want. Who would be in it?
Sarah - Kate Bush. PJ Harvey. Björk
You are clearly busy with the tour, but lastly, what are your plans after the tour? What is on the horizon for Seeker Lover Keeper?
Sarah - We’ll just have to see, it depends if anyone likes the record. That will decide what we do next.
Holly - Otherwise nothing! (laughs)
Sarah - Otherwise quietly recede, maybe do another one in seven years! (laughs)
Holly - We were asked that question this morning and we realised we hadn’t actually talked about it.
Sally - I think it’s good not to have a plan.
Sarah - It feels like good to have the tour coming up, so we’re focused on that.
Holly - Beyond that’s it a bit…
Sally - Yeah, it doesn’t matter.
Holly - You can’t really know until you get there.
Seeker Lover Keeper are touring across Australia in September and October. Click here for more info and to buy tickets.