SIMONE & GIRLFUNKLE Going out on a high note

Local indie-pop favourites Simone & Girlfunkle, as we know them, will take to the stage for the last time this weekend. The group will headline the first ever public edition of immersive Perth music series Tender is the Night at Melville Main Hall this Sunday, September 12 (get more info and tickets here). In the special event, Simone & Girlfunkle’s captivating three-part harmonies will be paired with a string quartet, reimagining their songs with orchestral arrangements. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with vocalist and founding member Bridget Turner to find out why it’s a fitting occasion to celebrate over ten years together and begin a new chapter.

How have you approached this upcoming performance for Tender Is The Night differently given the occasion?

Yeah it has required different prep for sure. We had to prepare demos for arrangers and had to re-think our music for strings. We re-wrote Summer Rain so it was a little darker and emotive to compliment the new treatment.

How did you come to be part of this series, and how would you say these shows are different from your usual live gigs?

Leigh Gardiner (creator and curator of Tender Is The Night) is a champion and he just asked us. These shows are wildly different from usual live gigs as they entwine classical and contemporary music together. We can’t wait to hear the loveliness of the strings and of course the beautiful singing of Tanaya Harper.

I hear it may also be our last chance to see Simone & Girlfunkle live, at least for some time?

Yes this is true, this show is Sarah’s last performance with us so we will be rebuilding our lineup. We want to take our time trying to find a new forever band mate, we want the perfect person. This may mean trying a few different people out for a few shows or just hibernating until we are ready, depending what and who comes along. We are never in a rush though so you should definitely come on Sunday.

And after playing and performing together for some time now, what’s one thing that’s changed since the band was formed? And one thing that hasn’t?

One thing that hasn’t changed is our love of harmonies. That will remain constant until the end.

One thing that has changed is some of us have small families now and we have different restraints on our free time. Everything is scheduled to the max now. We lock things in only if we really want to do them and if it’s going to be utterly pleasurable and/or rewarding. I think before 2020 hit we spread ourselves so thin amongst so many pursuits and now it’s quality over quantity for sure. I never want to be as burnt out as I was before 2020.

Is there anything, in particular, you are looking forward to most this Sunday night at Tender Is The Night?

Hearing our music for the first time arranged in the most loveliest of ways. Also as I said before hearing Tanaya Harper sing…so lovely.

It’s hard to imagine the three of you not continuing in some kind of musical endeavour. Can we expect to hear new music or see you on stage again any time soon, either as solo performers or as part of other groups?

Yes of course, Heather and I are working on some new S&G music at the moment, some with beautiful acapella flavours and some that smash an omnichord string or two. Sarah has been writing solo music which I am excited to hear also. I imagine it is as beautiful as she is.

I have also been playing recorder and singing with Bad Nutrition which is just the most random thing I have ever done in my life and there is always talk of a Christmas album.

Finally…it was and always will be a great band name. Who takes credit for that one?

I think that was Gabby back in the day when we started out as a duo. She always said she was like Art Garfunkel because she was tall with crazy hair. I remember distinctly she wanted to take “Simon and Garfunkel” and make it more feminine because it was lady harmonies. She changed Garfunkel to “Girlfunkle” and insisted “le” was more feminine than “el.” She always cracked me up with the most random things.

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