Tash Parker and Emma Anglesey have been writing and performing together as individuals for over six years in some of the biggest festivals across the country. After years of teasing, the artists weaved into the next chapter of their musical journey by fusing their act in 2018 as the Runaway Belles.
As a unit, the Tasmanian-based indie folk pop duo continues to mesmerise their audience with their beautiful synchronised harmonies, supporting the likes of Katie Noonan, culminating onto the release of three singles: Dream, The Weekend and Don’t Forget Monday over a period of several months.
Sheldon Ang speaks with Tash Parker about The Weekend – so far being the duo’s most successful single with fifty thousand streams on Spotify accumulated under two months. Perhaps the frenzy is attributed to the enchanting vibe and flawless floating harmonies, the kind of synchronism that’s normally found within musical sisters. Perhaps it’s the message of longing against unrequited love, or a love story that’s never meant to happen. Regardless of one’s interpretation, it’s the universal meaning surrounding the beautiful art of lyricism that makes this track appealing.
Sheldon: How’s Tasmania’s music scene like?
Tash: It’s actually amazing. We have such a wealth of incredible artists. It feels like they’re all hidden away. In Launceston, we have a small but a strong community of artists who help one another and Hobart has amazing artists. We are lucky with the festivals here in Tassie and we are really lucky to have lots of opportunities here.
Sheldon: Is it an eclectic style of scene, like metal and so forth – or is it more of a folksy, Tamworth style?
Tash: It’s my eclectic I would say. There’s not quite a lot of country music here. There’s a few amazing dance-pop electronic music. There’s a lot of pop and hardcore bands. There’s some really cool all girl bands…..I can’t remember their names…
Sheldon:…Oh, I’ve heard of an awesome all girl band called Runaway belles?
Tash: (Chuckles) Yes, they are an all-girl band! But we are much more of an indie folk (chuckles).
Sheldon: Could you please tell us about the latest single The Weekend?
Tash: Well it is our first official single! So it’s really exciting and we made a music video while we were in iso. We weren’t sure if it was a good idea to release during these period, but then I realised it’s important that we keep releasing music. And we needed some press shots and video. So we did a music video through Skype. There’s this amazing photographer from Melbourne, Jack Stafford, who works with artists through Skype so we got in touch with him and he directed us with filming our own footage and then he edited it. I feel that the song hopefully has a good quality feel to it, and it’s poignant to release around this time.
Sheldon: How do you interpret this song? Do you see it as a song you did about someone who couldn’t continue a relationship due to personal or emotional reasons, or perhaps due to forces beyond their control – like he’s married with kids or perhaps he’s living overseas?
Tash: That’s a really interesting question. The greatest thing about songs is that they can feel personal and be really detailed, but they can also feel so universal. I sing a song and it can feel slightly different to every person. For me, I have my own personal experience where I have a crush on someone, but they might be in a relationship or they might not be interested and vice versa – where people have confessed their love to you… and you are like, I’m sorry it’s not reciprocated. So, a great thing about songs is that people can relate to them based on their own experiences…What about yourself, you know, when you listened to the lyrics, what kind of stories bring up – for you?
Sheldon: Well for me…you know one of the greatest music composer, producer, etcetera David Foster, right?
Tash: No, I haven’t (chuckles)…
Sheldon: What? No way! But OK (chuckles). He has written and composed some of the greatest songs ever aired on this planet (Tash: Oh wow…I have to look him up). I’ll send you a link…so anyway, for me it like the song he wrote and sang with Marilyn Martin called, “And When She Danced“ – and the lyrics that goes, Can you go back in time, To a place in your mind, To the one who knew, A part of you, That you just couldn’t find…If you ask me to choose, between a memory or two, When it is all said and done…I’ll take the one, whose love I had to lose…coz when she danced, I lost my inner sense, I love her then I’ll always will (Sheldon didn’t sing – obviously).
Tash: Oh wow…that’s beautiful and poignant.
Sheldon: Personally I’ve been in those situations where I fall for someone but I knew it wouldn’t work out due to reasons beyond our control. Maybe I’m such a tearjerker (Tash: Chuckles)
Sheldon: Except your song is a bit of a lively tempo…“The Weekend” is the first official single. Why it has taken some time to release the first single, considering you guys are pretty good…and have been doing festivals across the country and supporting established artists with the likes of Katie Noonan.
Tash: Yeah, we’ve supported Katie at the Panama and Festival of Voices festival here at Launceston. Emma and I met when we were solo artists when were both supporting an artist called Paul Green. I was living in Melbourne, and Emma was living in Tasmania. And occasionally we do meet in festivals, and music industry events. And both of us have really long curly hair and no one else has that…so we were like “we should start a band because we look great together” (chuckle). And it took a while before we start playing together. Even when we were together, we were playing under our solo banner, and the Runaway Belles was just a fun project. So touring was a really fun thing, and it wasn’t until last year that we decided to make the Runaway Belles official. So we’ve been recording since and I’ve been in Tasmania for about two years now. We’ve been recording at The Runaway Bay HQ in our home in Launceston. I suppose it takes a while to percolate. Good things take time.
Sheldon: Do you do covers or original at festivals since this is your first release?
Tash: Yeah we do sing some classic covers, I don’t know if you’ve seen our livestream shows. We did a series of livestreams on Facebook and they are on our page. You should definitely tune in next time. In answer to that, we do covers and also Dolly Parton songs and Miley Cyrus song…and we even do Good Riddance by Greenday. And we love doing other people’s songs and turn into Runaway Belles sound, the two voices
Sheldon: Speaking of voices, it’s difficult who’s singing as the harmonies are so in synch. Do people get confused on who is singing which parts?
Tash: Yeah, even our mothers can’t tell who’s singing. We’ve been singing for six years and we found an amazing way to blend our voices and there has been time when the vocal producer has asked Emma to sound less like me. We get mistaken for sisters all the time. And there is something about harmonies of sisters that blend beautifully with each other, so we are lucky to have each other in this beautiful country. I grew up in the Kimberley and Emma grab in Tasmania and it’s amazing how we just met considering Australia is so vast.
Sheldon. It’s serendipitous (Emma: For sure!). Do you and Emma sing in characters?
Tash: Emma and I take turns in the higher and lower harmony parts…so in The Weekend I sing the lower harmony parts. And I guess we are not assigned to characters or genders. I guess people can assign their own mearning to that in and assign to their own characters which is fine. I guess it’s because they’re not traditional duets where there is a male and female parts. I think they’re not too many artists in Australia doing what we’re doing. So it feels good to fill this space.
Sheldon: Who writes the lyrics for your songs?
Tash: The Weekend was written by our friends in L.A., Chris Arena and Manish Ayachit who gifted to us. When they heard our voices and they said “this song is perfect for you.” We have different song writing arrangements because we are both songwriters, and our songs are cowritten by friends of ours. So we’ve written with Liz Stringer…and Dave Burn of London… and friends who are poets who give us the lyrics and we turned them into songs. Sometimes Emma writes and I write…so lots of combination.
Sheldon: Runaway Belles have another single called “Dream”. When was that released?
Tash: That was released last year and did a soft release. We were invited to play a series of summer festivals last year and we play that song, so we played at Falls Festivals (Byron Bay) last year and Cygnet Folk Festival (Tasmania) at the start of this year and the Taste of Tasmania and Mono Foma (Launceston) and a bunch of festivals and we thought it would be nice for our fans to get something new from us, so it would be nice to release something for them last year. And we got our friend Lou who’s an incredible illustrator who did the artwork for both Dream and The Weekend are native endemic Tasmanian orchids. So all of our single artwork will be the endemic orchid artwork that so people can educate themselves about our beautiful endangered species
Sheldon: What’s next for Runaway Belles? Is this a teaser for an upcoming album
Tash: Actually, we’ve got so many recorded tracks. We’re going to be releasing a Side B track called “Don’t Forget Monday”, so we’ll be doing more livestream show and definitely doing more recording and definitely be releasing more music this year. Stay tuned and people can follow us on social media, and we do have a beautiful website call runwaybelles.com
Sheldon: My last chat was with INXS…yes I’ve just named drop there (Tash: Oh nice I’m glad we are in that list (chuckles)) and despite they have
Tash: I think that’s the benefit of being an independent but the bigger artist rely a lot on touring. We had to innovate and We had over 4000 views in one of our live streams it is really amazing because you would cost a lot of money in to travel to play front of an audience to the size., this is given as so much and free time to work on while others are delaying releases. Glad there are many people are listen to us.
Sheldon: Tash, it is really nice to chat with you. Let’s do this again.
Tash: Absolutely. It has been lovely chatting with you. And by the way, Emma couldn’t make it but she sends her regards to you. Let’s all of us chat again with her in conversation.