Current Issue #488

Seeker Lover Keeper go deeper

Seeker Lover Keeper go deeper

Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby’s decision to form a band proved to be one of 2011’s more pleasant musical surprises. When the trio reconvened to make a second album, they resolved to take their collaboration even deeper.

“We’re just the type of friends where you’re sort of friends forever,” Seltmann tells The Adelaide Review. “If you don’t see each other for a while then meet up, it’s as if you haven’t really been apart. We just talk nonstop.”

The years between Seeker Lover Keeper albums saw its members disperse across continents and art forms. And yet, their lives continued to mirror one another’s: Throsby and Seltmann both became novelists, Throsby and Blasko both become parents, Blasko and Seltmann composed music for dance and television, all three turned 40. When stars and schedules aligned to make another record, they sought an even closer collaboration than their first, in which each member brought four songs to the table.

“We all agreed it would be a good idea to write the songs together, all in the room which was a really different way to how we made the first album,” she says of Wild Seeds, the trio’s assured but deeply felt second album. “It felt kind of new and a bit scary for us, exciting I guess, because it was a very new thing.”

Seeker Lover Keeper - Wild Seeds - Album Art
Wild Seeds, the trio’s second album

Seltmann is no stranger to collaboration or finding inspiration from the voices of others, having famously gifted Feist a career-defining hit in 2007’s 1234, simply because she thought it sounded like the Canadian singer. On Wild Seeds the trio explore themes of growing up, personhood and liberation while taking musical cues from the call-and-response vocals of The Ronettes and the strummed abandon of Bruce Springsteen.

“I’ve done a lot of co-writing before, so I was quite used to it – you read the room a bit, you give and take and you know when to step up,” she explains. “I’m the kind of person who has ‘fast creative energy’. I work really fast, throw out heaps of ideas and some of them are really terrible, but I kind of don’t care. But I learnt to slow down a bit too.”

The first song to be co-written, Superstar, mixes nostalgic lyrical imagery of posters on bedroom walls with a chorus driven by a rich three-part harmony. The novel ‘what if?’ prospect of these three distinctive but complementary artists blending their voices has always been key to Seeker Lover Keeper’s appeal.

But, on their debut, it was often clear which tracks were ‘Holly Throsby singing a Sally Seltmann song’ or vice versa. A song like Superstar, however, is difficult to imagine being written without all three voices in the room – even Seltmann has difficulty identifying where one contribution ends and another begins (“You start to forget which bits you wrote, it all starts happening,” she says).

The musical returns of the Blasko, Seltmann, Throsby trifecta are self-evident, but offstage the trio’s friendship has been an invaluable source of solidarity and counsel, especially in an industry where mid-career artists, particularly women, are often granted less space than the next new thing.

“I think it’s been really important for all of us,” she says. “It’s been really good having both of them as such good friends who you can call or email and just open up about what you’re struggling with in music and work stuff. I think that’s really important as a musician, to have close friends who know exactly what you’re talking about.

“We all know exactly how it all rolls, and it has been really great having them as close friends.”

Seeker Lover Keeper
The Governor Hindmarsh
Saturday 28 September

Wild Seeds is out now

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