Lovers of vintage clothes and vintage sound, Annie and Bern, bring their vintage romance to Frankie Brown in Byron on Friday.
The pair evoke the sweetness, wit and romance of 1960s Britain. Bern’s finger-picked acoustic guitar playing and Annie’s smooth vocals create warm, intimate, captivating performance. The Echo asked a few questions about what makes them tick.
How did you become acquainted with the music of Sinatra and Sandie Shaw and Shirley Bassey? Did you raid your mother’s record collection? We only discovered Sandie Shaw last year! I heard my dad’s Bassey albums when I was a kid but didn’t appreciate her until I was twenty-something. I did like dancing to my mum’s Beatles album though, and when I was a teenager also really liked a 60s girl-singer compilation album from her collection.
What is it about these particular 1960s acts or their style of music that you find so creatively evocative? Do you think Brit music of this era was intrinsically different from what was happening here or in the US? For me, pop music of the early 60s has romance and charm, and also innocence and cheekiness. Many people who were in London in the 60s say it felt like something really exciting and new was happening, so it also has an air of dynamic promise for me. I don’t know a lot about US or Australian music of the same time, but perhaps there’s a cosiness and warmth to British culture – comedy, accents, TV and music – that draws me in.
How do you take their influences and create your own work? In songwriting I mostly just follow what comes to me. I don’t try to write 60s-style songs, but if my liking for that era comes through, that’s nice. I do go for a vintage sound though with my choices of reverb and vocal style
What are the songs of 60s artists that you actually do? There are so many great ones to choose from! We do about 15 songs from the 60s, by The Kinks, The Troggs, The Honeycombs, The Beatles and other acts. My favourites are Sandie Shaw’s Long Live Love, Lulu’s To Sir With Love and Gerry & The Pacemakers’ I Like It, the last two of which are on our album.
How did Annie & Bern become a duo? We met through an ad I put in a music paper, looking for a band. We’d been writing and performing originals together in various bands, and when our last band came to an end, we decided we’d be a duo, freshly arrange our originals for acoustic guitar, and do covers of songs that feel right for us.
Tell me about Here Comes the Love, your debut album? Where did you record? what were the ideas you had for that album? How did you feel about the end result? We recorded the album at Kent St Studios in Melbourne, and Bern mixed it at home. There wasn’t an intended theme. We just wanted to record our best songs. The song subjects are mostly about love though, be it in the form of romance, solidarity, gratitude or longing, and it’s quite a positive album. I’m really pleased with the recording, our performances and the songs. I’m quite happy for it to be out there in the world.
What should we expect for your Byron Show? At our show in Byron you can expect some snazzy vintage-style costumes, and we’ll be performing our originals interspersed with covers: mostly 60s but also some Britpop 90s and a few oddities that we do in a vintage style.
Catch Annie and Bernie from 7pm at Frankie Brown on Friday.