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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy TĀNE COF­FIN Styling IRENE TSOLAKAS In­ter­view KATHY McCABE

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.

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