A triple threat
After side venture Seeker Lover Keeper proved such a success it was only a matter of time – eight full-on years, to be exact – before Sally Seltmann, Holly Throsby and Sarah Blasko got the band back together again
After side venture Seeker Lover Keeper proved such a hit, it was only a matter of time before Sally Seltmann, Holly Throsby and Sarah Blasko got the band back together.
If musical soul sisters Sarah Blasko, Holly Throsby and Sally Seltmann had kept up their boozy songwriting sessions, their band Seeker Lover Keeper may never have produced a second album. “Those ﬁrst sessions, it was a lot of chatting, red wine, beer and cheese,” Seltmann admits to Stellar. “We were a bit nervous.”
The trio of acclaimed solo artists surprised fans, and themselves, when they revealed their harmony-charged collaboration with a self-titled debut record in 2011. Like all great supergroups, this one came together thanks to a night of drinking, after Throsby and Blasko had been to watch Seltmann at a gig.
What was intended as a fun side hustle by three friends resulted in a record that charted at number three – peaking higher than any of their previous solo releases – and two sold-out tours of Australia. Things wound up at the end of 2011, but those who knew them surmised that after the ﬁrst ﬂush of success, another record was surely ahead. It was just a question of when, as the ladies juggled respective creative and family lives.
And those lives were jam-packed. In the intervening eight years, Throsby, 40, published the novels Goodwood and Cedar Valley, the former of which is being developed as a series by the ABC. Seltmann, 43, also wrote her ﬁrst novel, Lovesome, and with musician husband Darren composed music for the ABC series The Letdown. Blasko, 42, released three more albums and composed music for a Sydney Dance Company production.
“Apart from the fact we enjoyed the experience, it was a bit overwhelming how people embraced it,” says Blasko, as the trio relax after their shoot for Stellar.
They note how much their songs, particularly their signature hit ‘Even Though I’m A Woman’, resonated with female listeners. “That was just… wow,” says Blasko. “We had lots of families of women coming to our shows, which made it feel really special. There was the grandmother, mother and daughter, or a whole bunch of ladies coming for a night out and getting completely plastered.”
Plenty of their own female family members were fans, too. “I remember my aunty coming along and telling me that she loved Seeker Lover Keeper way more than my own music,” adds Blasko. “Oh yeah, thanks for that!”
She, Seltmann and Throsby eventually reassembled for those weekly wine and cheese meet-ups in 2017, coming together at nights in a small studio Seltmann had rented in Sydney. Unlike their debut release, which was constructed from four songs that each had brought along to record, the women decided this time that they would write each track together, from scratch to completion.
Seltmann, a seasoned veteran of session songwriting in Australia and the US, was used to the process of sitting in a room with other artists and debating music and lyrics. The other two, not so much. All agree that those initial chats were somewhat awkward.
“I found it really tough,” concedes Blasko. “At certain points I was, ‘Oh, I hate this. F*ck this!’ You can’t have your way and that’s the ﬁght within you of wanting to enjoy writing. We have always talked about how we would never have come up with these songs, they would never sound the way they do, under any other circumstances.”
Respective book and album launches ended up interrupting these sessions for around a year. When they ﬁnally joined up again, they changed their approach as well as the refreshments they consumed.
“When we came back after a year, it was daytime and
coffee the cafe, and [and lunch we at were] explains completely Throsby. sober,”
This more productive and collaborative policy led to marked differences this time around. While the beautiful harmonies inspired by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris’s acclaimed 1987 album Trio remain front and centre, our local threesome share lead vocals within each song so deftly that at times it is difﬁcult to discern who is singing.
Blasko, Seltmann and Throsby would also throw out any “depressing” or “angry” lyrics for uplifting optimism, and Throsby can’t help but wonder if this approach was actually a subconscious reaction “to the horror of the culture wars and the tone of that conversation”.
“We are all engaged culturally, to an extent,” she explains. “So I do feel we did want to put something out there that was classic and timeless, but which on the other hand reﬂected a shared world view. Which I think is quite an
optimistic one given what we have all been through and where we’re at.”
As with all good friends, the three enjoy an easy, familiar rapport as they talk over the top of each other. Given the new album is called Wild Seeds, Stellar asks if ill-fated relationships or youthful indulgences may have informed the title. In response, they erupt with laughter.
When she ﬁnally catches her breath, Blasko replies, “Oh, it’s a bit of everything. It’s about the messiness of youth; I can’t even remember half of it. It was fun and ridiculous and timewasting and reckless, and you’re just glad you’re not there anymore.”
Wild Seeds is out on Friday. Seeker Lover Keeper are touring nationally in September and October; seekerloverkeeper.com.au.
“It’s about the messiness of youth; it was fun, ridiculous & reckless”
(opposite, from left) SALLY WEARS Macgraw coat, macgraw.com; her own dress; Roger Vivier boots, rogervivier.com; Mimco necklace (below), mimco.com.au; other necklace is her own HOLLY WEARS Wrangler jeans, wrangler.com.au; her own top and sandals SARAH WEARS See By Chloé dress, mytheresa.com; Roger Vivier shoes, as before; her own tights (from top) Sarah Blasko after winning Best Female Artist at the ARIA Awards in 2009; Sally Seltmann in 2006; Holly Throsby at the Sydney Festival in 2012; the trio at the Splendour In The Grass festival in Woodford, Qld, in 2011.