Although she’s been out of the public eye for the past two years,
singer-songwriter Deborah Conway has been busier than the proverbial bee.
In addition to having her third child with musical collaborator and partner
Willy Zygier, Conway also worked on some diverse musical projects.
Together with Willy, she performed at the 1998 Adelaide Festival as part of
Voice, Jam and Videotape. Later that year, she joined the Tasmanian Symphony
Orchestra for a song called “When I Get Younger”, written with composer
George Dreyfuss for the Timelines album (a collaboration between young and
older people for the International Year of the Older Person). Last year,
work began in earnest on her follow up to 1997’s My Third Husband.
Conway’s new album, Exquisite Stereo, is out May 1, and judging by the
album’s cheeky first single, Radio Loves This, we’re in for a mighty aural
Conway says the single came to her on a hot summer’s day, just as she was
contemplating a siesta.
“The half sleep [is] one of my most creative times,” she laughs. “It [the
single] is kind of an ironic look at the way radio’s gone these days —
swallowed up by the corporate bodies. I guess it’s been that way for a long,
long time. It’s a little twist on the fact that radio hasn’t loved me in an
awfully long time.”
Could this change things?
“You never know, you keep your fingers crossed.”
Deborah admits Radio Loves This harks back to her youth when she listened to
3XY on a transistor radio through an ear-piece, either when she was supposed
to studying or asleep. Given that, the track has a compressed AM feel driven
by an infectious keyboard line.
The keyboards come courtesy of Cameron Reynolds from electronica outfit,
Barko, who’s now a part of Conway’s band. He teamed up with Conway and
Zygier to record the album.
“We were actually sort of wandering around the streets of Brunswick at
festival time when we saw this electronica/techno outfit called Barko which
we didn’t know at the time,” Deborah recalls. “They caught our attention —
just out of the corner of my eye — because they sounded really good. Some
weeks later we started thinking about putting the band together, and Willy
said: ‘What about that techno act we saw?'”
“I tracked them down because they were on the Push stage. There’s a state
government initiative that funds new talent, called Push, and so I looked
them up through there, found the number of this guy (Cameron) and spoke to
him, and he was really amiable to the idea and came along and we met and got
along really well.”
“After a while of trying to work through session players to get a rhythm
section happening, he said: ‘What about these friends of mine?’ They were
great — they’re the rhythm section from Augie March. It [the album] was
conceived as a band. It was recorded as a band, it will be toured as a band.
I’m determined to keep touring for most of the year.”
Deborah Conway and band play the Zoo on Saturday night and the Playroom on
Sunday, April 2. ‘Radio Loves This’ is out now through Shock Records.