Tinpan Orange’s lucky number five for Fairbridge Folk Festival and new album Love Is A Dog


Tinpan Orange will make two trips west in the coming months.
Tinpan Orange will make two trips west in the coming months.

TRAVELLING to the west is like a homecoming for Tinpan Orange, according to vocalist Emily Lubitz.

Though the indie-folk trio has firm roots in Melbourne, she said it felt like WA was “almost where we began, in a way”.

“We’d been busking in Darwin for a time and making heaps of money,” she said.

“It was 10 years ago, so I was a waitress and earning like $10 an hour, then we went up to Darwin and we were busking and playing in pubs and just terrible gigs, terrible conditions, but we were making certainly more than $10 an hour.

“We were nobodies; we were just kids, just cutting our teeth.

“Then this girl came up and said her uncle books a festival in WA and can she have an album to give to him. So we gave her an album then we got this email from Fairbridge Folk Festival saying ‘we’d like to book you’ and we were like ‘what’s Fairbridge Folk Festival? Okay we’ll go’.

“We went and it was this gorgeous, huge festival.

“We started off playing to like eight people at 11 o’clock at night at this festival, then by the end of it, the seams were popping off the tent that we were playing in.

“Then we played at Clancy’s (Fish Pub) in Fremantle the next week and we were thinking maybe 20 people would come and that would be cool.

“We just had very low expectations at that point.

“Then there was like 600 people who came to the show and they called the police, well the police were there.

“It was just this moment; it was actually a real defining moment for us where we were like ‘maybe we could do this. Maybe we don’t have to be raggedy buskers. We could so this for a thing’.

“Then we always went back.

“We just continue going back to WA and it’s been like a heartland of ours. We love it.”

Lubitz estimates this will be the fifth time Tinpan Orange has played Fairbridge Folk Festival, which is held annually in Pinjarra and this year from April 15 to 17.

The trio will then head off on a national tour to launch its fifth studio album Love Is A Dog, to be released on April 8.

They will return to Perth to play an intimate show at Fly By Night in Fremantle on June 4.

“(Intimate venues) is where we belong, especially now that we’re a trio” Lubitz said.

“On the album, there’s a rhythm section but we’ve quite deliberately started touring as a trio, which is how we started; just guitars and mandolin and violin and then three vocals.

“It’s quite an intimate show, there’s quite a lot of intensity to the show.

“Smaller listening crowds is where we belong.”

Lubitz said the process for making the latest album was also quite different to in the past.

“It was made over quite a long period of time; more than a year it took us to record it, she said.

“Some of the songs we wrote four years ago so it was like a gradual collection of songs that was also recorded very gradually, which we’d never really done before.

“I think our lives just demanded that process of us just because other things were happening.

“We took a two-year hiatus off the road, we just topped touring, because we realised we needed to create new stuff before we started touring again and that’s how long it took us.

“It’s an album that was recorded quite live.

“We really wanted to capture the feeling of us all playing together.

“We’ve been playing together for 10 years so there’s a lot of almost intuition between us by now and our rhythm section, they’re also really amazing and sensitive players and we just wanted to capture the magic of us just playing together so there’s not a lot of over dubbing, which was a fun way to do it.”

She said it was also different because the mixing was done remotely, sending files to Adam Selzer in Portland where “he would mix his thing and send it back and we’d listen and send him notes”.

“We’d never done that before either so that was a new experience,” she said.

THE ESSENTIALS

Who: Tinpan Orange

Where: Fairbridge Folk Festival,

When: April 15-17

Tickets: www.fairbridgefestival.com.au

Where: Fly By Night, Fremantle

When: June 4

Tickets: www.flybynight.org