GIRL&GIRL Zachariah’s Third Eye
Zachariah’s Third Eye
By Ian Browne Shamrock News
Described by Chase Atlantic’s lead guitarist Pat Wilde as “70’s Aussie rock meets Bowie”, I felt more like I was back in the early 90’s at a Caringbah Buso’s indie rock gig. I arrived to Currumbin Pub, February 2019, to photograph Girl&Girl. The crowd ultra friendly; celebration the order of the day – both sexes up on their feet and dancing.
Meaty guitar riffs drowned away the work week; inhabitions removed, this energetic, fun-filled band are certainly worthy of a night out on the town. Frontman Kai Aubort did just that - sent everyone into orbit - the crowd enjoying the uplifting buzz. But I’m not sure that anyone had expected me to climb up on stage with my camera, my friend Melissa James was perhaps less surprised, as she found her way around her drum kit - while doing her best to put up with me. Melissa has been doing this for some time and she also holds women’s African drum cirlces in Currumbin Valley. Some of the circle found their way to the gig, students like Kerry Bailey were there to dance to the groove with others from her class.
The band lineup includes Kai Aubort on vocals and guitar, Jayden Williams on lead guitar, his brother Coby meditative on bass, and Melissa James splendid on drums. Having ticked the playing live box on the Girl&Girl journey, they thought it time to release their single Zachariah’s Third Eye. I interviewed Gold Coast singer Kai Aubert, and his Aunty Melissa James, about all things Girl&Girl - and the single relase of Zachariah’s Third Eye.
Describe the Girl&Girl sound
Melissa: Girl and Girl’s sound is original indie garage rock. It’s been described as a cross between 70’s Aussie Rock and Bowie, with a sense of urgency about it, I quite like that description and tend to agree. I think there is also an energetic, fun, angstie vibe about the songs. The one thing I really love about the songs that Kai is writing is that he doesn’t write them to fit into any one box/ genre - but they are an expression from the soul - and the life experience of an almost 20-year-old. They are an exploration in creation and expressing oneself.
Kai: Girl and Girl’s sound spawned I guess out of anger - a very low two years of my life - a long term fermentation of all kind of feelings. Normally I refer to the band as a child of divorce, as was I at the time (I guess still am today), we differed in the sense that Girl and Girl was a child that wasn’t afraid of calling out people’s shit and telling someone to fuck off - if they had to. I on the other hand, was not. I guess that was when I realized the power of music, you know you play a new song for someone and they’re like: “that’s just metaphorical isn’t it”, and you’re all like “sure”.
We started as me and Jayden (lead guitar) playing the acoustics in his garage, playing Yellow Submarine and things like that. Our own music wouldn’t start for around another year, and the band another six months on top of that, when Aunty Liss joined and whipped us all into shape. I think we’re off anger for the moment. I’m sure she’ll be back, but we’ve definitely begun to pinpoint sounds, as the pedal boards grow, and the experimentation continues, things are getting a little freakier - which is always exciting. Girl and Girl is my very first band. I write the lyrics, sometimes it just flows right out of me, other times it can be a bit more finicky. I like to sing, and I like to sing about whatever I want, that’s the general trend in the music (I hope) that we’re just doing what we want.
You are energetic and charismatic on stage. Describe the pleasure this brings.
Kai: When you’re on stage, for me anyway, generally a few songs in you reach a level of complete comfort. Complete comfort is lovely in such a situation, you can do anything you want, most importantly you really feel the music and the audience’s energy. Influences are basically exponential: Parquet Courts, Thee Oh Sees, Together Pangea, Foxygen, A. Swayze and The Ghosts, I find new inspirations basically every week, I tend to become obsessed with an artist and have to stop writing to avoid becoming them. Most of them are people who are writing whatever they want, and nothing is more appealing than that in the music industry.
We just want to give people a chance to dance, push each other around (playfully of course) and shake their heads a bit, any gig like that we want to play it, and anyone with similar views we’d love to play with, oh, and of course, if Together Pangea are back in Aus looking for support bands - our hands are up. We’re also looking to expand our borders in the foreseeable future up Brisbane way, and down the Byron direction as well. Closer to now however is our release party for the single, it’s going to be so large. Follow the gram or Facebook for further details, all I can tell you at this stage is that Jayden’s promised to take his shirt off for it.
Why is drumming for Girl & Girl ‘fun’ and ‘fulfilling’? What do you both like most about the dynamics of the band?
Melissa: Drumming for Girl and Girl has been so much fun, and it’ been so rewarding watching the boys growing their musical talent. I have been blown away by how quickly they have come along. I’m loving the music they are writing and I’m having a fantastic time having a creative input with the drums. I haven’t had so much fun playing in a band for such a long time.
The band dynamics seem to be working well, perhaps it’s unusual with the generation gap between myself and the boys, but it’s working well. I’m enjoying playing with them and they want me to stick around for now.
Kai: Jayden Williams on lead guitar, it’s been him and I from the beginning. We used to fantasize about playing in a band and now we’re doing it. Generally, I’ll write the lyrics and Jaydos gets going with the tune, we’ve been close friends for a very long time now, which makes running ideas off each other so much easier. I think that being comfortable around each other is so important, especially when lyrics become revealing of deeper feelings and things like that, and there’s not many I feel more comfortable around than Jaydos. Also, Coby Williams, we went through about five bass players before we found Coby, who is in fact Jaydos’s younger brother, and man oh man does Coby slap the bass hard. All up I think we work really well together, running ideas off each other, writing new songs, and adding to the old ones.
Jayden & Coby Williams
Zachariah’s Third Eye
What do you want the world to know about the band, why is this single worth listening to?
Melissa: That’s a difficult one, I haven’t really thought about what I would like the world to know. I guess I am just so proud of the boys and I think the music they are writing is so worth listening to. It’s different, fun, and with the audience response so far to our gig’s, it is so worth listening to.
Kai: Zachariah’s Third Eye, the lyrics and music all poured out of me in a matter of minutes - sitting on the kitchen table at home. Like all music, it’s totally up to interpretation, but to us it’s a look at the younger generation: keeping them in the dark, thinking that’s the best thing for them - and that might sound like cheesy teen angst - but you reach a stage you know where you don’t really have time for people that still treat you lesser for being younger, like age is something you’ve worked hard at, and earnt - and not something that’s just happened. I guess also coming into that point of independence, where the older generation don’t play as much of a pinnacle role in your life: if you don’t want to treat me equally then I’m just not going to hang around you - sort of thing.
Where would you like to gain air play, and where can we purchase Zachariah’s Third Eye?
Triple J is a goal for most starting artists I guess, and I kind of see it as Australia’s world stage. There’s nothing else really, that I know of, that’s going to give you that kind of exposure, at least here in Australia. The release will be on the 26th of April, and you can stream it on Spotify, or you can also stream as well as review it through Triple J Unearthed. We’d love to hear all of your thoughts and opinions, especially what it means to you, if anything, and you can do this on Triple J Unearthed. Also, don’t be shy about shooting us a message on Facebook or Instagram, girl and girl music: we’d honestly love to hear from you:
The local community & their support
Melissa: The local community of Currumbin have been fantastic, so supportive. A lot of people came out to see our first official pub gig, many of the people in the audience were Currumbin locals that came along the night that you saw us. We were completely blown away and humbled by the amount of support from the local community.
Currumbin Pub is a fabulous little venue, supporting many local bands of all different genres on the Gold Coast as well as touring bands. Currumbin Pub is providing a much-needed space on the Gold Coast where you can go to see fresh new music, there are too few venues like this on the Gold Coast.
Kai: Currumbin Pub is always a classic, we get so much support from the Currumbin community and love playing there. That’s the perfect kind of gig - intimate but busy - people just enjoying themselves, relieving some stress. If we can help with that then I think we’re doing something right. We’ve received ridiculous amounts of positive support for our music, and we can’t be anymore thankful. Our first gig we ever played we were overwhelmed with support, with around 80% of the crowd consisting of mum’s friends, which if you know my mum, calls for a rowdy night. Because before you play that first gig it’s kind of hard to measure what you’ve been doing: you spend a year or so writing words, making noise, it’s easy to get caught up wondering if you’re even achieving anything. From that first gig to now we’ve been inundated with support and love from everyone around us, and we’re eternally grateful for it.
All about Melissa James
Describe the women’s African drum circles you hold in Currumbin Valley. What benefit and enjoyment do the women gain from this?
I have been playing the Djembe for approximately 22 years, which eventually lead me to playing with a women’s African drum ensemble on the Gold Coast,“Oshun”. We would play together at different events throughout the Gold Coast regularly 10 years ago. We still occasionally get together for fun and to play at special events. More recently over the past three years, I have been teaching the Year 6’s at Currumbin Valley State School how to play the Djembe. During the last two terms of the year, I spend time teaching them an African rhythm, and we work towards a performance for the end of year awards night. The students love playing the drums and it is particularly rewarding for me to see them at the awards night, and how they are so thrilled when they play their drums in a big hall with amazing acoustics -and then they have the overwhelming response of an audience - thrilled with their performance.
The more recent women’s drum circle has been instigated by the women themselves who want to play in the drum circle. They are a group of women 40 and over who enjoy the challenge of learning rhythms on the drum, and the buzz you get when playing with other people. It’s social, fun and a fantastic way to release energy, and this builds on your coordination, and when you do get going and enjoy playing for the sake of playing, it can be great to zone out in a particular rhythm – and it’s also fun to improvise.
The women’s drum circle does not partake in Girl and Girl’s musical journey, but the women who come along to those circles have been amazingly supportive of me and my drumming and what we are doing in Girl and Girl.
How important is music to you?
Music has been a big part of my life. When I was growing up we had a piano in our lounge room that my father would play and my two sisters and I would sing along with the songs that he would play. He had these busker books that had all the great music hits in them, he would sight read them, playing them using what was called the ‘chef method’, a method that he had learnt when learning to play the piano, he would sight read the treble, then play a chord pattern in the bass. At Christmas time this became a family tradition for us, with extended family all singing around the piano. When I was 8, I started to learn how to play the piano, I continued with lessons right through school. At the age of 15, inspired by an uncle, I started to have drum lessons, by 17, I was playing drums in my first band, “The Epileptic Pigmeez” an indie pub rock band, the lead singer was Dion Dickinson – he now fronts and plays multiple instruments with “The Handsome Young Strangers”. The Pigmeez first gig, if my memory serves me right, was at Caringbah Inn, Sydney supporting “The Trilobites”. Members of the band eventually left, and we became “Mushroom View” for a little while. In my mid- 20’s I formed a band called “Peel” with Brad Ferguson formally of “Voodoo Lust”, we had Jarv Benaud on Bass and Vocals, you would probably describe us as riot grrrl/ punk rock.
After Peel dissolved, I took a break from playing kit for a while and took up African Drumming, after a while I went back to the kit and did a couple of reunion gig’s with the Pigmeez, and then Dion asked me to play for a new band of his “Gallery”. Gallery dissolved and I made the sea change to the south end of Gold Coast where my older sister and her family lived. I played in a couple bands with friends up here, having fun doing covers, and then my nephew at the age of 17 asked me to teach him how to play the drums. He learnt for a little while, picking it up very quickly, then I suggested to him that he should have a go at learning the guitar, explaining it was something that “I wish I had always done”, and that he could have a lot of fun being creative and writing songs. Soon the guitar took over for him and he was writing his own music. He decided to form his own band and eventually talked me into playing drums for them.
Do you often have out of body experiences during gigs?
Um, that would be a no! I find that I have to remain present in the music, concentrate and be careful not to get too lost in the music. Over the years I have been playing in bands I have come to realise that I need to detach from the audience and find my own zone in the songs, where I sit in the feel and expression of the song.