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2003-03-13: Genevieve Maynard

Rip It Up
by Scott McLennan

Genevieve Maynard may have still been recovering from the first week of her current trek across Australia, but she still found the time to speak to Rip It Up about the release of her pristine debut solo album, Ghost Notes, and her impending Adelaide gigs. Sounding worn out by the first eight shows on her continent-crossing journey, Maynard remained resolutely enthusiastic in her explanations of the origins of Ghost Notes.

"Originally the plan was to do two EPs and not do an album," Genevieve began. "After the first EP I thought that the attention I would get from the media and radio if I released an album would be a lot more considerable than if I was to do another EP. Because I?m also involved with Stella One Eleven, I was worried that an EP might indicate that this is only a side-project, but in reality Stella is my side-project and this is what I?m doing.

"Putting out an album seemed like the viable option to make people know that this is serious. Stella One Eleven is Cindy?s vehicle. It always has been and it always will be - she?s the songwriter and I?m involved purely as a producer. It?s very easy for me to keep the two separate."

What recordings initially set you on the songwriter path when you were young?

"I was the oldest in my family, so I didn?t have the benefit of having someone five years older than me saying, ?hey kid, listen to this - it?s really cool.?" Genevieve commented. "My parents? record collection played a big part for me, and the original cast recording of the British production of Jesus Christ Superstar has been a huge influence on me. It?s a brilliant piece of music that shits on every other production in terms of what they managed to do with the music. It?s so well written and so interesting that it?s just a great piece of prog rock."

Although not quite created in a similar mold as Jesus Christ Superstar, Ghost Notes - which is reviewed in this week?s Rhythm Section of Rip It Up - is an impressive debut from the Sydney musician. Have the media got behind the album since its release late last year?

"Triple J have been fantastic and are presenting my current tour," Genevieve stated graciously. "I?ve had two songs from the album played on Triple J and ABC Regional is playing Aurora Borealis nationally. The national reviews from major newspapers and street press have all been wonderful. We?d like to do a Triple J Live At The Wireless at some stage, so we?re hoping they?ll give us one."

Ghost Notes sees Maynard taking her multi-instrumentalist skills a step further by employing numerous programmed sounds on some of the album?s 11 tracks - are these sounds hard to replicate live or do you simply go for a stripped back sound?

"We use a sequencer on stage to give us keyboards and drum loops and the extra bits," Genevieve summarised. "It does seem to be a bit more stripped back because there are so many sounds on the album that if we attempted to recreate it live it would be too confusing for people to listen to. I?ve found from experience with Stella that when using the sequencer the less is more approach works really well live. In performance, it?s still a good representation of the album.

After making mention of the personalised recipes found on her website, Genevieve revealed one of her non-musical skills.

"I?m a chef by trade," she announced. "I do it when I run out of paid musical work. It?s nowhere near as exciting, but it is a job I really enjoy. I?m really lucky that I have two things in my life that I love doing, since many people don?t even like their job, let alone love it. Last year I was really busy with the Stella album and my album and was able to support myself for nine months without having to turn to cheffing.

"In this industry that?s a rarity, and I was really fortunate to be able to do that," Genevieve concluded.

Genevieve Maynard plays the Governor Hindmarsh on Fri Mar 14 with Tamas Wells and Career Girls and Exeter At Semaphore on Sat Mar 15. Ghost Notes is out now through WOW Records/MGM (see review in this issue).

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