The word ‘Freedom’ means different things to different people. It can be somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation, but always elicits an emotional response. With that in mind, it seems the perfect choice of title for Geelong’s very own interstellar libertarians’ sophomore album.
“Everybody has the opportunity, especially in this country, to be free – to live free and to have free thoughts,” affirmed The Space Keys’ TJ Richardson (vox and bass). “Everyone wants freedom in 2014,” reiterated Maria Richardson, who plays guitar and shares vocal duties. “It’s all most people have ever wanted.”
This sentiment is mirrored in the opening lyrics of the title track and throughout the album. If you listen closely you’ll hear The Space Keys pay homage to their favourite freedom fighters throughout history, namely Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.
“The feelings expressed in our lyrics are heartfelt and important to all of us. It’s our way of flying the flag to show we’re internally liberated. We can stand up and say we’re here!” TJ added.
The Space Keys certainly have a voice, a very distinctive sound that can be attributed to the twin vocal stylings of TJ and Maria. They both possess a raw, edgy, yet incredibly powerful vocal presence that cannot be taught and is found only in true rock divas.
As a whole, The Space Keys have a certain je ne sais quoi – a rare energy that draws you in from the first strike of the electric guitar, beat of the drums or thump of the bass, and just when you think you’ve heard all there is, your ears are filled with the pleasing sound of modern synthesisers and electrifying flute, provided by the local legend and internationally renowned Howlin’ Wind, aka Andy Richardson.
“Being a part of The Space Keys is fantastic,” enthused TJ. “It’s quite an unlikely group, but we’re all on the same page. We don’t have to talk, we just play and there’s a common thread running through our hearts and minds.
“There’s a real understanding of where each other’s heads are at,” Maria agreed. “We have diverse taste in music but we’re always keen to hear what each other are listening to. And I don’t know of any current bands using the flute the way we do,” Maria added, “using such a classical instrument in a non-classical style. It’s completely wild the way he [Howlin’ Wind] plays it, and it fits really well with the music we play, write, record and perform live.”
If you’re a Space Keys devotee, or simply live for live music, you’ll know they’ve played some of the most coveted venues in town. “We’ve played the Cherry Bar, The Espy and The Corner Hotel,” TJ lists off the top of her head.
A little closer to home they’ve played The Nash and The Loft – the venue handpicked to play host to the ‘Freedom’ album launch party last weekend. Missed it? No need to despair – they plan to do it all again at The Barwon Club on August 23rd, and I have it on good authority from TJ that we’ll be seeing more and more of The Space Keys.
“We’ve recently acquired a booking agent who’ll be getting us gigs all over the place. Other than that, we’ve been completely self-managed, motivated and funded. We’re looking forward to a new chapter of interest from the outside world. The Space Keys are looking forward to getting out into space!”
When&Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – August 23
Written by Natalie Rogers