THE STIFF GINS’ NARDI SIMPSON SPOKE WITH SEVEN ON THE EVE OF HER SHOW AT THE MULLUMBIMBY CIVIC HALL ON FRIDAY.
What has changed for you in the last 11 years since The Stiff Gins fi rst stepped foot on stage?
Does music making and the whole shebang still fill you with the same passion?
For me when Stiff Gins started, music was my life. I revolved everything around learning, performing, listening, writing and thinking about music. Now I see music as a really essential part of my life. I have to work, I have a family to support; my circumstances are so diff erent from the 22-year-old I was when I started out. I see myself as being enriched totally by what I’ve experienced in the band. It has taught and guided me to this life where I marry the best of a ‘regular’ and creative life.
What drew you to a career in music?
I always loved singing and writing. I took a punt on having a go at something that combined the two and, from the fi rst, it fi tted really well with my talents. I also think I am an inheritor of traditions from both sides of my family.
What do you love the most about being a musician?
I love being able to indulge in daydreaming and knowing that some of the stuff you daydream about might just actually happen. I also love my time being my own and not being dictated to by outside forces.
What are the challenges?
Making enough money to survive and maintaining a sense of self worth when you don’t, and making the right ‘space’ (in mind, body, home) to be creative.
What was the impetus for The Stiff Gins’ fi rst getting together?
Initially we were young women in a music course who became friends. The singing and songwriting was secondary and an aside really to our friendship. I guess we were forged through friendship and sisterhood (being the only women in the course). We began to explore music and sounds and songwriting and performing together through the evolution of Stiff Gins.
Of course your name has always attracted attention…how is the reclamation going?
I think we have defi nitely had an eff ect in opening a discourse about words, identity, femininity and Aboriginality around this word. I am really pleased to think our vision of making it a word that has its cultural integrity somewhat restored has succeeded in a way. However only last week we were asked to reply to an Indigenous group who were opposed to our performing at their event because of our name. We are happy to dedicate our professional lives to this.
Tell me a little about the major inspiration for Wind and Water?
Our family and their stories and how we fi t into them is probably the main inspiration for most of the songs. When we looked back we also realised that most of the songs had a water or wind-ish theme. I think the power of our rivers and the sounds and scenes we have had along them pulled us towards it.
How much of your life makes it onto the album?
Pretty much all aspects of our lives and the journeys we are on have made it onto the album. Even the recording process was a real refl ection of what was happening in our lives at the time. We invest ourselves and thoughts and stories and families into most of the things we do so the album is all that in a disc with a shiny cover.
Do you have much control over what makes it into a song? Or do songs kind of write themselves?
For me I try to work and shape and mould stuff together into a song format. I love doing that with words. I have only had one song that has written itself and that was an amazing experience.
What should we expect for your show at the Mullum Civic Hall?
Good songs, great harmonies, funny stories, and friends having a wonderful time sharing their lives together.
Show starts at 8pm and tickets pre-sale $20 (+bf), $17 (+bf) concession, door $25 / $22 concession. Mullum Books, Barebones Bangalow, All Music and Vision