After a massive debut year in 2018, electro-pop duo PRISCILLA kick off 2019 with their new single ‘Feeling Higher’, which will be launched at Jack Rabbit Slims on Saturday 9 March.
There’s a very human heart to PRISCILLA that comes through in their on-stage banter and the need to remain close to their audience.... This is an outfit driven by feeling
If you’ve seen PRISCILLA perform, you’ll understand that this electronic duo from Perth are the living embodiment of the axiom the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. For starters, there’s only two of them, but the sounds them make are full and delicious. We guess that’s one benefit of the duo comprising a vocalist, Priscilla Gardener, and a producer, Luke Minness. Basically, they can do anything they want to with the music. But, it’s actually more than that. Once they shed any hint of self-consciousness on stage, the two meld to become one. It’s the kind of gestalt that can only happen during a live performance and, when it does, it’s magic.
Of this element of the band (duo is not a big enough label), Minness said, “I sometimes see the tracks that we release as completely separate to ourselves. It’s this weird Goosebumps kind of monster melding of Priscilla and myself. It’s this universal language that we use, which is ‘we’ and ‘us’ and ‘our’ music. That’s really important.”
Togetherness is very important to the two members of PRISCILLA. During our conversation they strayed into anecdotes about their respective partners getting a bit green eyed about them always being in touch, always talking about their work. There’s a closeness about the two members of PRISCILLA that points to the singularity of their on-stage persona. That’s the romantic view and, while it’s partly the case, the bigger part of Gardner’s and Minness’ need to be in touch is because they’re just so driven about their creation.
“Yeah, we’re never going to stop,” said Minness. “We’re in this for the long term, we’re not ever going away.”
Listening to them talk about their songs and song writing, it’s easy to see the artistic intent and technical capabilities that characterise PRISCILLA.
Gardener: “These days, we’re getting the melody and hooks in place and then we’re finding the syllables that go with those moments. Then we look at how the song makes us feel, and then we do the rest of the words and music.”
Minness: “In our first year we wrote songs that we were really passionate about and then when we were presenting them live, with topics like the marriage plebiscite, we didn’t want the songs to be negative, we wanted them to be uplifting. That sort of mentality has morphed into us playing more sort of mood-based music this year.”
Gardener: “It’s mostly about how we want people to feel.”
Minness: “We want people to dance, we want them to feel something, so why not create music that is inspired by these (difficult) topics and then be able to dance and just let them go?”
These are artists who want you to be moved by what moves them. If they connect with you, it’s not by accident. It’s also no accident that PRISCILLA are connecting with bigger and bigger audiences only just over a year into the live performance phase of their career.
Minness: “We played the Lot Party at WAM Fest (Western Australia's annual celebration of original music made in WA) last year and it was good to know that we could make it on a big stage, that what we do will work at festivals.”
That’s a pretty big leap in a short amount of time. As Gardener said, “We’ve been performing this stuff since April last year, writing since the year before that.” What Gardener is referring to is the band’s formative period, the year they spent writing and learning their craft as electronic musicians before they even set foot on a stage as PRISCILLA.
Gardener: “It was just really fun. For Luke and I, we came from this real live performance music background. Then, once we started getting into this kind of thing, all of the production aspects of it were pretty new to both of us. So, we just dived head first into making music with that kind of production aspect, and it was this big world that opened up to us.”
Minness: “When we hung out, we were fascinated by how we wanted to structure songs and the specific sounds that we wanted to use in songs. Where I think that we’ve really come into our own in the past few months, with the songs we’ve been writing, is we feel more confident about the melody and lyrics that we write together. I think that’s been the longest process for us. We were able to put drum loops and bass lines together, but the melody and lyrics are really coming to the front now. I think it was always there, I think it was just finding the language between each other and how we would bring that out.”
Gardener: “When we first used to put on gigs together, we’d still play our own original songs and they were very similar, even though they were our own. They had this style that works together.”
Minness: “We’ve always had the same love for the same sounds, but we didn’t know how to translate that into an individual sound of our own. I think that’s always been a constant conversation. We’ve always had this core essence of harmony and melody and it’s just grown from there.”
Some things are just meant to be, and PRISCILLA is one of those things. Self-confessed purveyors of disco sounds, this band is at the vanguard of the next generation of electronic music, a good chunk of which is being created right here in Perth, right now. What’s different, we hear you ask? Well, here’s our take on it.
There’s a very human heart to PRISCILLA that comes through in their on-stage banter and the need to remain close to their audience, particularly through the invoking and sharing of feeling. It’s difficult to imagine the band progressing to a point where the banks of equipment they stand behind or any big-screen visuals will ever overshadow the two human beings that are the nucleus of this band. This is an outfit driven by feeling.
PRISCILLA launch their single, ‘Feeling Higher’ at Jack Rabbit Slims with support from Francis Foxx, King Ibis and Demon Days (DJ set).