Sydney funk and soul act The Soul Movers are heading to WA this week for the Nannup Music Festival, and they’re stopping by Perth for two special “warm-up” shows at The Sewing Room with local groove-act Bambuseae Rhythm Section on Thursday, February 27 and at Freo. Social on Friday, February 28 with Joan and the Giants. While the band may be best known for featuring ex-Wiggle Murray Cook on guitar, the voice and founder of the band Lizzie Mack also leads their fun and unforgettable live show. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Lizzie Mack to find out about her Perth origins, what it’s like playing with a Wiggle and why fans can expect to be grooving into the night at their shows.

It’s great to have you back over in WA for these shows over the next week. What’s been going on the world of The Soul Movers since you were here last year?

Oh boy, I honestly feel like I had two weekends off last year. We really didn’t stop touring. Friends of ours who are also musicians said that following our touring even on socials made them dizzy! We bought a tour van fairly early in the year and it had over 30,000 kms on it before christmas – that’s an indication. Some real highlights and breakthroughs were converting more #muzluv #ogwiggles fans to The Soul Movers music. We knew they’d dig it but it’s really great to have them singing along with the words to their favourite songs off our last album Bona Fide now it’s been out there and touring with us for nearly a year.

You were also just announced on the line up for Splendour in the Grass this year. That must be exciting?

Sure is! The kids are gonna go nuts again when they see Muz up there and shredding, but this time he will be playing his songs with his kick-ass band, not AC/DC with the DZ Deathrays – not saying that ain’t serious fun! We’ll be smashing out some very rockin’ new tracks and are fixing to get a serious power mosh up to get a big smile on Muz’s dial.

You’re spoiling us with shows here at The Sewing Room, Freo. Social and Nannup Music Festival. What is a Soul Movers show like for people thinking of heading down to any of those?

Great tunes, bad jokes, silly buggers. Lots of love, definitely dancing to our soul/pop/rock recipe and we aim to send folks home with love in their hearts, selfies on their phones, and gorgeous memories bound to last a lifetime. As I have heard a thousand or so times now, Murray is for an entire generation “my childhood”.

We actually spoke to him (guitarist and ex-Wiggle Murray Cook) last year about your album Bona Fide, what’s it like having a Wiggle in the band?

Bloody awesome! We love our Muzzy man! He’s so great, a bit of a joker though. He still traps us all with his deadpan delivery perfected over three decades (next year) of Wiggling with Anthony, Jeff, and Greggy. If you can cut it with those guys you are top of the game! And he can certainly play those beautiful vintage guitars of his!

You travelled overseas for that album, recording in some of the most iconic studios in the world and working with some massive names. Was there anywhere, in particular, that was particularly profound for you?

Yes, they were all profound in different ways. We came back changed at the core. Muscle Shoals Sound (working with the Swampers – especially Spooner) and Sun Studios blew our minds but seriously, it was Royal Studios in Memphis that stole our hearts and blew our minds most profoundly. Check out our IG clip of working with Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell – the son of Willie Mitchell who discovered the legendary Al Green.

I got to use The Reverend’s “Number 9” mic and we used Charles Hodge’s keyboard and his drummer’s kit on Lift Me Up. You can hear the voices of those fabulous instruments on this track.

Despite being based in Sydney now, you’re originally from Perth and we’re happy to call you our own. What were you doing in terms of your music career before you were the voice of The Soul Movers?

I was lucky enough to be a student of the legendary Mrs. Sally Christmas. Her incredible capacity to teach and share her perfect knowledge and passion for music changed me forever. Her, partner, John, headed up many music departments as does her daughter now as Head Of Music at Perth Modern.

Much as my parents tried, with violin, clarinet and guitar, the only thing I could ever do, was ever motivated to do, was sing and I had the very best start possible singing in the Kelmscott Primary School choir. It’s crazy to think that the very first album I recorded was at the ABC with KPS choir, also the first time I sang in Sydney was at The Opera House with KPS choir, and now, three albums later I am in Sydney and recording our third album for ABC Music. Who knew, right?

Who were the artists or even people in your own life that inspired you to write and perform the music that you do?

So many!! To name a few, Etta James, Candi Staton who I had the pleasure to meet and hear sing last year, and of course the Queen, Aretha Franklin. Carole King, Carole Carpenter, Deborah Harry, Dusty Springfield – so many amazing women and voices… and then there is Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Joey Ramone (laughs).

Can you describe what it is about a song or an artist that gives it ‘soul’? You could suggest it’s as much about a ‘feeling’ as it is a ‘style’ of music…

I’ve thought and talked a lot about this idea, what makes a song “soul-full”. When you sing from the soul, about the soul and soulful experiences it has a distinct quality. It can have an emotional possession of pain, joy (or) walking-on-air love but the main quality, in my opinion, and experience, is one of the song being “fully imbued.” Soul should never be half-baked, it just doesn’t fly. You gotta give it 100% or leave it well alone. When it’s right it’s cathartic. As a singer you are just the vessel and nothing is finer than totally dissolving in the process.

Other than all the amazing shows you have coming up, what else can fans look forward to from The Soul Movers in 2020 and beyond? Any more new music on the way?

Yes indeed! We are over halfway into our next album. We will be ‘road testing’ the first five tracks on Perth audiences and they include some very rockin, poppin and groovy soul.

This time around we wanted to write a few songs that make folks run for the dance floor in the first two bars. Also, it’s the first time we have had a chick on skins. Lozz Benson has played with some of the very best including The Oils and more recently Freo’s own John Butler. We are so excited to call her a Soul Mover, to be writing with Lozz and to be hitting the road south with her to Nannup where we intend to keep hassling her about her legendary Instagram keytar solos. She made the mistake of showing us her keytar blisters at our last rehearsal. Muz is gonna have so much fun with that.

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