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Interview With Tess Henderson By Chris 21/2/08
Tess Henderson, I discovered after reading a review and the reviewer was right, what a fantastic artist she is and she from Melbourne is even better and deserves the praise she is getting.
1. How did you get into music?
In primary school I learned the violin and sang in choir, I was always involved in the school musical and one year I was Alice in Wonderland, I was handpicked for lessons with a classical teacher but ditched him for a young jazz singer who was part of an originals band and sang around Fitzroy area, I thought she was great and she let me perform my originals at our recitals and bring in friends from other schools to do backing vocals while I plucked away on the guitar.
2. Who were you idols growing up?
I guess growing up I idolised people who inspired me and introduced me to new things. I wasn’t heavily into pop culture. We were allowed to watch tv as kids but we didn’t have nintendos and other fashionable gadgets, on the weekends our parents would take us out sailing and for long walks along the coast. We were a bit different that way and so I didn’t really have mass media idols if you know what I mean…
3. Who were your influences?
On a musical level my parents used to play old Jean Michel Jarre and Eagles records which I eventually new all the words to and sang my own harmonies, my sister introduced me to Mazzy Star, the lead singer Hope Sandoval has one of my favourite voices of all time, and a friend at school who I used to record with introduced me to Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and was pretty into free jazz..
These days my influences are predominantly the musicians and producers I have worked with or know. Some really inspirational artists/bands/producers for me in Melbourne at the moment include Nick Huggins, Kid Sam, Eva Popov, Husky Gawenda and Simon Moro (Divine Blue).
4. Are you happy with the responses from the album?
Yes I am thrilled. I love that my songs are travelling with people in their cars and being played in their homes and to their friends. Unless people tell you thier thoughts you almost forget that it exists.
5. How was the recording process for the album?
6. Has the internet helped with your music?
Sure. The internet is just a useful tool in general really. You know you can do your supermarket shopping on the internet?
7. Do you think tools like myspace are useful?
Yeah myspace is useful.
8. Is it hard to get radio to play your music?
As far as I know my album has had a good play on Home and Hosed (JJJ), RRR, PBS, 2SER, FBi…
9. Have your had much response from radio?
A few kids have contacted me having heard songs on the radio, and people often tell me they got a shock listening to PBS one day and thinking “I know this voice”.
I’ve done a couple of radio interviews which lead to some cd sales I guess..
10. Are you happy with the way Handmade By Thread has turned out?
In general yes. I think it’s natural to have things you would do differently if you did it again.
11. How did you get involved with Creative Vibes?
Management. They seemed like really nice people and now that I’ve worked with them I can tell you they’re great!
12. What is one thing you don’t like about the music industry?
Ask me in a few years when I’ve had more time to roll around in it.
13. What is it like being an independent artist?
Independent? I’m not sure. It’s great? I have nothing to compare it to…but Creative Vibes are bloody brilliant and I’m not sure I would be able to go it alone i.e. organizing my own promo/reviews etc they were so incredible in getting the album together and into stores/on the radio..
14. What is your favourite venue to play at?
I’ve played at Manchester Lane in Melbourne three times and I had my album launch there in September 2007.
The staff treat me like royalty. Perhaps they treat everyone so well but it feels like it’s just me. The PA is tops, the room is a nice shape and it is always just so easy to play there and lots of people always come along.
I must say that I still love quiet gigs at say Wesley Anne or The Empress in Melbourne. I have played many gigs to say… 10 people and there is something special about that too… I like dark rooms and red lighting.
15. Who would you most like to record a song with and play with?
Sarah Blasko, or Emiliana Torrini, or Massive Attack, or Jean Michel Jarre, or Kings of Convenience…Daft Punk.
16. What is on your stereo at the moment?
I mix cd made by Alistair Ball. It is the best mix tape I have ever heard and I would say I’ve played it now about 223 times. It opens with Okervil River, has a bit of The Concretes, Magnetic Fields, Johnny Cash, an amazing song by Postal Service, much much more and closes with Tunng.
17. What are some of your favourite musical artists/bands?
I’m really inspired by the music coming out of old Melbourne town at the moment i.e. Whitley and FGHR. Sufjan Stevens just toured in Melbourne and a friend recently gave me an Iron and Wine album which I thought was just incredible. He is another one of those Gotye-type artists in the sense that he has created pretty much every aspect of his album.
18. What has been the highlight so far?
Some really exciting reviews and radio play has been great. My album launch was the best though. There was a magic vibe in the room and I cried.