Ama Quinsee has laryngitis. It’s self-inflicted — ‘‘still recovering from last week’s antics supporting Radio Moscow” — and the Legs Electric frontwoman is pretty upbeat about it — “It’s good to know I still have a loud mouth even under the current circumstances.”
So, is Ama Quinsee just another loud-mouthed front, for just another band? When asked what makes her the ‘heart and soul’ of Legs Electric’s sound, Quinsee shifts from Dionysian devil-may-care to just a little bit coy.
“That’s a hard one. I really channel my emotions when I sing. I really believe in it. There’s nothing phoney about it. I don’t put on a persona, that’s just me channelling exactly how I feel. That’s the way I am, that’s how I speak out, is on stage. I’m quite meek and mild in the real world, so getting up on stage is my way of voicing how I feel.”
And there it is, the Legs Electric point of difference. There’s no pretence, just, as Quinsee describes it, “balls to the wall” rock and roll imparted with heart and the sort of musical chops that any band would be envious of. They really mean it.
Asked about the nominated approach to their craft, the ‘balls to the wall’ stuff and how, as an all-female outfit, they’re perceived in these interesting times, Quinsee switches to reflective mode.
“It’s interesting, you know, because we get all sorts of comments along those lines, ‘not bad for a bunch of chicks’, that sort of thing. But I like to think we’re all extremely competent in our craft. We know our instruments very well, we know how to rock. We don’t rely on our sex appeal or our gender to get us over the line, that’s for sure. We’ve had it all, really, but it doesn’t faze me.”
“We give it grit, because that’s just who we are. Once we get up on that stage, we give it all we can. We want to rock the roof off.”
Having seen Legs Electric perform on stages big and small across Perth, Around The Sound can attest to their approach to their craft. They don’t often leave venues with their rooves intact. And as for the bullshit about rock and roll being a gendered thing, only dinosaurs like Hugh Cornwell ever thought like that (look it up, cover story NME circa 1977). For Legs Electric and their growing audience, it’s about giving it everything, it’s all about the music.
And so, to the new EP, Two Sides, and the upcoming tour to support the release.
“It’s new line up, it’s new everything,” is Quinsee’s first response when asked about the new music. “It’s a little bit different to our usual classic rock format. We definitely still have that in there, but having the two new members, Elana (Haynes, Guitar) and Erin (Gooden, Bass), they’ve added a little bit more of that ethereal sound in parts, and Elana’s got that soaring guitar sound. And another thing is, they can all sing, so we’re adding in all these harmonies. So it’s a bit different now, having that new line up and we’re just using it to our full potential. It gives us the opportunity to do much more with the songs. We never really had that before.”
“Sure, Legs is changing direction a little bit. We’re sticking close to our rock and roll roots, but we’re bending into these experimental directions. We’re just doing a bit of everything really."
And then Quinsee really begins to really open up, asking the forgiveness of her bandmates before going on.
“I don’t even know what we’re doing,” she says, joyously. “We’re doing a bit of just everything we can lay our hands on! Some of the stuff we’ve been jamming of late has that more sort of atmospheric style. We’re even throwing in a little sneaky punky rock tune. They’ll (bandmates) probably kill me for saying the word ‘punk’. It’s probably not that, but it’s just really different. It’s hard to put my finger on it, there’s just so many different things we’re trying. We’re just really experimenting with sounds and different tempos and textures and all sorts of stuff. It’s fun, it’s exciting.”
“It’s a little bit unknown for me, because I’m a classic sort of rock girl, so I didn’t think I would be so open, but now I’m getting used to it (laughs). I was maybe a little bit narrow minded before, because I always wanted to be a certain type, but with the changes in our line-up, I’m definitely opening my mind to different styles.”
As for the EP, “It’s new and it’s a little bit old. We called it Two Sides for that reason, because it represents the old line up that we had previously and the new songs are us as we are now. The two older tracks were recorded by Joel Quartermain from Eskimo Joe, and then the three new songs with Kenny Watt (Asteroid B-612, Atom Smasher and Valvolux), so you’ll notice there’s the two different sides of the music there.
The new single, Dark Paradise, released in advance of the EP, certainly shows Legs Electric staying true to their roots while charting the sort of new directions Quinsee’s been talking about during our interview. This is a band that’s stretching out, beginning to feel confident about who they are musically and where they’re headed. Asked what’s coming next, Quinsee talks about touring, more recording, a cheeky punk rock single due out after the current tour is finished, some acoustic recording (if they can get drummer Kylie Soanes to tone it down a bit) and a first album to follow up on their debut and, with the release of Two Sides, sophomore EP.
Legs Electric are a band you sense are just about to hit full stride. They’re ready to take off and when it happens, they could just launch themselves into the rock stratosphere.
“We definitely want to get overseas, that’s our main goal. We love Australia, but we also want to spread our wings and go around the world,” Quinsee tells Around The Sound towards the end of our conversation. We will miss them if they achieve that goal, but there’s a lot of people across the world who’d be better off for experiencing a little bit of Legs Electric.
Legs Electric’s new EP Two Sides is out on 13 July and the launch is on Saturday 14 July at the Indi Bar in Scarborough. Let’s hope their roof can handle it.
The single Dark Paradise is out now. Go find it!
Legs Electric Tour Dates
25 July, Crown and Anchor, Adelaide, SA
26 July, Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, Sydney, NSW
27 July, Rad, Wollongong, NSW
28 July, Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar, Melbourne, VIC
29 July, Whole Lotta Love, Brunswick East, VIC