For Band Of Missfits guitarist/frontwoman Kym Redmond, life hasn’t always been easy, but her reignited passion for music has helped bring her to a happy place.
“I started singing when I was around five years-old,” Redmond reminisces. “I used to put on the headphones and listen to mum and dad’s ‘70s and ‘80s records - anything from Guilty by Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb to Toto to the Beatles.
“I found myself singing all the time, for hours on end. In the ‘80s inspiration came from Elton John, Whitney Houston, Madonna, George Michael, Mariah Carey - the divas, and voices that stood the test of time. When I reached high school, I was singing five or more hours a day before and after school ‘til late - I was in my prime and ready for anything that came my way.
“Then I took a long break after having kids,” she continues after a meaningful pause.
“I had always known I wasn’t ready to just give up my music for the sake of keeping others happy so when my marriage finished, I told myself I wouldn’t give up again and started writing lots and lots.
“When I lived in Tom Price I was approached by Nigel Bird from WAM, who came to town to make a compilation CD called The Sounds Of Tom Price. It was an initiative from WAM to get people in remote areas involved writing and recording original music.
“I had only just picked up my guitar again a month or so earlier and had been working on a song I wrote as an 18-year-old, but hadn’t finished composing. I knew then that this was an opportunity too good to pass up, and although I’d had years off singing I still had something there. So Forget You ended up on The Sounds Of Tom Price 2012 compilation album, and I haven’t looked back since.
“In 2015 my brother took his own life and I wrote What’s Left Behind, which ended up being the single off my solo release of the same name, but I wasn’t content on being a solo artist and wanted a full band backing me.
“So I placed an advert in Bandmix looking for a drummer and bass player. Paul Smith, my drummer, auditioned and we have been making great songs ever since. Sam (Paterniti) on bass came a little while later and Melanie Dius joined us a little over a year ago on lead guitar. We have just had Jordan Brook from The Blacklisted join us on lead and rhythm guitar, too.”
The band name may sound like it was intended to be an all-girl group, but Redmond says it, “came about because we’re all a ‘miss’ personality-wise but ‘fit’ musically so it stuck!” That musical fit meant that recording the EP was a positive experience for all involved.
“It was recorded down in Yallingup at Furreal studio with Sean Lillico as producer,” explains Redmond. “We already had the songs the way we wanted them and we went down South for three days and hit it pretty hard musically, putting in a few long hours to get them perfect - we’re really stoked with how they came out.”
The EP comes a mere 53 weeks after Into The Storm was released, the result of a prolific burst of writing by Redmond.
“In 2016-2017 I had written around 25 songs,” she says, “some just lyrics, others composed too. The ones on our EP are ones that came about within half an hour and never once got changed. You know you’re normally onto something good when that happens - the ones that take months to write are ones for the bin, usually.
“Sam was playing around with the chords on Higher Passage so I jumped outside to write some lyrics for it in 10 minutes, and Melanie wrote the music for Empty Valley which I wrote fairly quickly too. I write all the lyrics and most of the compositions too, with the exception of a few. My music normally comes from dark places: frustration, heartache, anger, etc - things that deeply affect me.”
Describing the band as “a cross between The Cranberries, Birds Of Tokyo and Amy Lee,” Redmond is quick to admit that their sound has evolved considerably since last year’s debut EP.
“The new EP is heavier than the last. I guess when Melanie came on board with us it just evolved into what it is now. I don’t think we intentionally meant to sound heavier, but as it turned out, we’re happy that it is now.”
Redmond says the EP title is “about the need for something out of reach, and holding onto something dear. It’s about being pushed down and having the resilience to get up.” Whilst other tracks on the EP cover ground such as troubled relationships, holding onto a feeling which isn’t real, and – in the case of Words Of Silk – “it is almost a philosophy. It’s about ironies, jealousy and deflation. It’s probably one of the songs I’m most proud of, lyrically. The words pretty much wrote themselves and it came about really quickly.”
With such deeply personal lyrics and themes, after all the struggle and personal musical hiatus, Redmond finds performing her songs live now gives her something that nothing else in the world can offer.
“It’s a buzz that nothing else comes close to… it gives me a sense of purpose and pride that I’m doing what I do best, and knowing all the hard times I have been through have been worth it to become the person I am today.”
Band Of Missfits launch their Higher Passage EP on Friday, March 23, at The Bassendean Hotel for Basso Fridays. Support comes from The Blacklisted, The Silent Deeds and The Paul McCarthy Trio. Full details: www.facebook.com/events/255205771685945/
You can also catch them at The Railway Hotel on the April 6; The Swan Hotel on April 7 and The Civic Hotel on April 20.