Interview of Simone Page Jones by Quincy Malesovas
Hi Simone! How are you?
I’m pretty good thank you, how are you? –I guess I’m not really going to know the answer to that question as I’m typing this into my computer, but I hope you’re well! It’s 3pm on a Thursday afternoon and I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table with my three hounds at my feet eating a bowl of cereal with orange juice in place of milk, so it’s a pretty good place to be.
People often associate country music with the southern United States, how have you found the Australian country music scene since you started touring?
Well, we haven’t played the Tamworth Music Festival yet… so I feel like I can’t really comment on the Aussie country music scene until I’ve been there! But, there are some incredible bands in Melbourne playing some great old school blue-grass styled music, my favourite being The Collingwood Casanovas! I’m their number 1 fan! Miles and I recently did a tour throughout regional country towns in Victoria and people there were really positive about the country/folk tunes we brought them, so I’d say the hunger for country music here in Australia is definitely strong!
The music in Miles and Simone, contains a captivating combination of contemporary pop, slightly electronic hooks, and an old-school, acoustic folk influence. Have you always been stylistically drawn to these genres?
I grew up on a lot of American country/folk music – Johny Cash and June Carter, Dolly Parton, Gram Parsons, Emi-lou Harris etc. so I have been listening to this classic American country/folk genre of music since I was a wee babe and I’ve continued to love it over the years. I enjoy a lot of different genres of music, there’s definitely little pop influences in our songs here and there –I’m a modern girl living in the modern world, so it’s hard not to be touched by a li’l pop!
Tell us a bit about your new single ‘Never Leave’.
‘Never Leave’ is about that moment when you find your ‘one’. When you find that person who is the ying to your yang, the strawberry to your pavlova, the creme to your brûlée! It’s about finding your partner in crime and enjoying of life’s adventures with them and asking them to stay with you.
Both yourself and Miles have backgrounds in theatrical performance, your work in opera in particular would demand a heightened stage personality. Have these experiences influenced the way you conduct your live shows?
Most definitely! There’s a lot of banter between songs at our live shows and we definitely bring a bit of theatrical drama and humour to our gigs. Miles and I play a lot of practical jokes on each other, and our personal stories of our (mostly my) pretty silly and ridiculous lives often surface and have a little air time at our live shows. Miles and I actually met in a production of the classic Australian play ’Summer of The Seventeenth Doll’ when we were at university, twelve years ago now… so we’ve been performing together for a long time!
You were recently involved in the hit feminist work ‘Time Of Life’ at this year’s Dark Mofo Festival. Tell us a bit about your experience working on it.
Haha! That was a riot!!! I think I’m still recovering, truth be told! We were very… well… method in our approach to it! So, Dark Mofo is an incredible festival and I’ve been working with SuppleFox down there for several years now, we’ve developed a really amazing relationship, they give their artists a lot of creative freedom to make and develop work for the festival. Myself and co-creator/fellow artist Gabi Barton made this demented, outrageous, provocative piece of immersive theatre where we took forty unsuspecting club goers on a mystery ‘hens night-styled’ bus tour… but we turned the theme on its head and asked a lot of questions about what that night really means and what that “hens” culture is really all about, it’s hard to explain, but it’s one of my favourite productions that I’ve ever worked on.
How much of the stories depicted in your lyrics are inspired by your own life events?
There’s definitely a lot of us in the songs… There’s also a lot of our previous partners and relationships in them too! There’s creative license here and there of course, but the songs are generally pretty close to one, if not both, of our hearts.
What sort of effect do you want your music to have on your listeners?
A lot of people say our albums bring their blood pressure down, so I think that’s a pretty nice effect for them to have on people, considering our lives are so insane and busy. It’s nice to take things slowly and gently from time to time.
When you’re not touring or recording, how do you prefer to spend your time?
I haven’t stopped working in years now, my last holiday was eight years ago! I love my job and I feel so, so lucky to be able to do what I love. I love the people I work with deeply, they are my inspiration and my closest friends and I feel so lucky that I get to make music and theatre with people I adore! I’m kind of frustrated and on edge if I don’t have my mind busy creating something, but some of my favourite down time activities are taking my dogs to the park or the beach or away to the country for weekend getaways.
What advice do you wish you had received on music and creativity when you were a teenager?
I feel very lucky to have been given the advice and encouragement I received, I don’t feel there’s anything I would change, but I guess the best piece of advice I was given, which I’ve consistently come back to and have leaned on over the years, is to trust your instincts. As an artist, you have to make a lot of decisions, you are your own boss generating your own material and there is no book telling you what is right or wrong, so you have to trust your gut. Also, I would say to surround yourself with the lovers and people who encourage and support you.
Stream ‘Never Leave’ here.
Watch the ‘Never Leave’ video here.
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