Siskin River

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Siskin River

Following in the footsteps of The Waifs by packing up the van and trekking around to every music festival in Australia, Siskin River is carving out their own success story and is quickly developing into a must-see act on the acoustic/folk circuit. Comprising sisters Shalane and Tullara, with the music that Siskin River has been releasing, it’s hard to believe that they are just a duo. With a gig at the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival coming up in early November, I got the opportunity to sit down with Shalane to chat about their debut album and what it was like having Robin Mai and Nicky Bomba along for the ride.
In August this year, the duo released their debut album entitled The Hours They Keep, a feat that both excites and terrifies Shalane. “It’s good to have the record finally out because it’s taken a long time and that is primarily because we are perfectionists. We made a lot of changes along the way, and to a degree there was a hesitation about what the public would think of the official first release.”
A mixture of old and new songs, Siskin River has built a reputation on impacting the listener with meaningful lyrics, and although it has taken quite a while for the debut album to take shape, there has been considerable praise upon its release. The first single, ‘Up’, showcases the unique talent of the duo and their natural process to songwriting.
“Tullara was playing a creepy riff on the guitar and we decided that it sounded like somebody coming back from the dead. We just wrote a song about what it would be like to come back from the grave and see how things have progressed without you. That’s possibly the weirdest song on the record.”
Having a production team of Australia’s finest, including Robin Mai and Nicky Bomba, The Hours They Keep from initial sessions was bound for glory. The opportunity arose from a previous relationship with Bomba, as I was quick to find out. “Nicky was my boyfriend for about a year and a half and it just came around through that. We had an album we wanted to make and Nicky had a studio, so it just seemed to make sense really. Although we are not together anymore, we feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to lay this album down.”
Influenced by the likes of Queen and to a certain extent The Beach Boys, the Bendigo Blues Festival could include a surprise cover of the infamous ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Ball Park Music surprised us all by pulling it out at Splendour – and if the crowd are up for it, it might very well happen. “I think that a Queen cover would be good to play in that set. A lot of people have covered Bohemian over the years though. We might do a Queen song, but something you won’t expect!
“We WILL be playing My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music which is also on the album, so that’s probably a highlight in itself for people to come down and experience.”
With a debut performance at the Bendigo Blues Festival as well as shows in Melbourne and Woodford for New Year’s booked for the rest of the year, be sure to catch the infectious acoustic sounds of Siskin River whilst you can. As self-managed musicians, the band is looking at touring Canada and North America next year, so head down to their upcoming shows so you can brag you saw them first.
When&Where: Wesley Anne, Northcote – November 1 & Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival – November 6-9
By Tex Miller