Taasha Coates discusses 10 years of Adelaide alt-folk duo The Audreys, an anniversary punctuated by a rockier new album ‘Til My Tears Roll Away.
It’s Friday afternoon when Coates of picks up the phone. She has a “bit of a Friday arvo thing” going on, and is looking forward to a glass of wine. On reflection it’s a happy thing that this is a Friday afternoon affair – she’s not part of the ‘Tuesday Morning Wine Club’, who you’ll meet in a moment. For The Audreys, the days of “pack everything up, chuck it in the van and come back nine weeks later with some serious liver disease” are over. “It’s a bit of a kid’s game, isn’t it?” Coates says, laughing. She and Tristan Goodall have played it for 10 years – getting closer and stronger, and building an impressive memory bank of music and travelling. “We had to work around my two-year-old this time, so it was a little more prosaic,” Coates says about writing ‘Til My Tears Roll Away. “‘Quick! The kid’s asleep. Let’s go!’ That kind of thing. Whereas we have – like a pair of wankers – flown to New York and recorded an album in the Chelsea Hotel, back in 2006 or 2008. This time was more … around the lounge room, around the coffee table, while the kid was sleeping. Not nearly as glamorous.” Although they’re “happier, more stable people” than ever before, it’s the things that have remained the same about The Audreys that are most heart-warming. Particularly, their love of story. Their years of songwriting have given – rather upsetting – lives to many, many characters. “Look at these poor, sad people,” Coates reflects with a laugh. “But you see, they’re more interesting that way, aren’t they? They’re the Tuesday Morning Wine Club.” But who are these people who populate their songs? Coates is quick to make plain that they’re not autobiographical. “My father is not an alcoholic gambler and my mother is not dead,” she says of new track Ballad for the Fallen. “A lot of our characters are part of the same person,” she explains. “He or she is just one of those people whose life just hasn’t gone right. “On our first record, we had a song called Susanne. The bridge was ‘Susanne thinks living is easy for some, waits for the day when her turn will come, she doesn’t see her time’s already run’. It’s about a woman who is still waiting for her dreams to come true and hasn’t realised that it’s never going to happen. “She’s a good character; I like Susanne. I mean, she’s a bit of a fuck-up, but most of our characters are.” Other memorable faces include the title characters from Sally & The Preacher – both drunks, with the latter liking the altar wine a little too much. All these characters and lifetimes’ worth of stories, however, won’t make Coates an author. “If I ever decide to write a book, would you come round here and punch me in the face?” she says. “If Tristan ever decides to write a book, I’ll punch him in the face.” The Audreys have been staples on the Adelaide scene for a decade – though Goodall now lives in Melbourne. Coates lives in the Hills and she’s torn between two places to recommend to adventurous locals. The first – brace yourselves – is the Mt Barker Bowls Club. “It’s the most incredible bowls club I’ve ever seen,” she says. “It’s fully covered; it’s ridiculous. Seriously, if you’re into bowls, you’ve got it made there.” Unfortunately, Coates won’t be able to tell you much about the day-to-day running of the tournaments. Has she seen a game? “No, I haven’t, but I have snuck into the bar.” Now that’s a bit more rock ‘n’ roll. “I’ll tell you what’s really cool up here,” Coates continues. “There’s a brewery called the Prancing Pony. It’s really difficult to find; I am a bit challenged when it comes to signage, but I did drive around for a few minutes because I saw a massive sign off the main road then just got completely lost.” Looking back on the past 10 years – with their first gig back in July 2004 – Coates is happy with where The Audreys have been and where they’re going. For the big 1-0, the tour will be a bit of a party. “I love a good excuse to celebrate.” The Audreys The Governor Hindmarsh Friday, July 11 theaudreys.com.au