Perch diving into family fun
GROWING up on a property 10kms out of Uki with seven siblings, an ‘‘eccentric’’ musical father and a house full of instruments can only lead to an intriguing outcome.
For Camilla, the eldest of the Hodgkins tribe, that outcome is The Perch Creek Family Jugband.
Camilla shares lead vocal duties with her two brothers Christi and Lear, sister Eileen and her partner, James Chandler.
Now based in Melbourne, the quintet swap between a range of instruments as diverse as the trombone, frailing banjo, washboard, double bass, over driven blues harp, musical saw, tap dancing and a whole lot of other stuff including, of course, the jug.
‘‘There are a lot of instruments in the mix – we are always adding more but I think currently we have more than 20 on stage,’’ says Camilla.
The banjo and keyboard player says each of the eight Hodgkins kids started with one instrument and gradually added more strings to their bow.
‘‘It comes from having an inspired and eccentric father who loves collecting instruments and having them around the house – that’s why we’re all not piano or guitar players,’’ she says.
‘‘Dad cultivated the beginning of the band. We would play songs with him and we started going out and busking as a family. It feels really normal to me, but from the outside it’s eight kids, a wild dad and all these instruments.’’
The Perch Creek Family Jugband’s sound is fringed by their vast array of influences – including other jug bands, jazz, blues, roots and country artists and new contemporary flavours.
The five-piece arrive on the Coast this weekend for three shows at The Mullum Music Festival and a venue gig at Currumbin’s The Soundlounge.
‘‘It’s going to be action packed but that’s how we roll,’’ says Camilla.
‘‘We are used to being busy. We have done a lot of big summer tours and festivals. The band’s been to Europe twice in the last two years. It’s a big adventure and there’s lots of characters to look at on stage.’’
Camilla says performing live is an artform for The Perch Creek Family Jugband.
‘‘We all love dressing up and it’s definitely five strong personalities on stage,’’ she says.
‘‘There’s a lot going on with all the instruments. The lead singing gets thrown around and there are heaps of harmonies. We also tell a lot of fun stories about all our adventures and relationships – just funny family banter.’’
Skits and tricks aside, Camilla knows the audience warm most to the fact they are watching a family perform together.
‘‘We are all born about two years apart, the youngest is 10 and I’m the eldest at 26 – we have a whole soccer team in our family,’’ she says.
The Perch Creek Family Jugband play The Mullum Music Festival today, Saturday and Sunday and The Soundlounge, at Currumbin RSL, with Daniel Champagne tomorrow night.
The Perch Creek Family Jugband