Tiny Ruins released Olympic Girls Solo last week, an acoustic recording of their third album. We said of the orignal record that “part of the charm of ‘Olympic Girls’ lies in the layers of mystery in each song. Inspired by literature, science, nature and human experience, these mysteries lie waiting to be carefully unfolded.”
Australian Hollie Fullbrook’s affecting, delicate vocals and intricate guitar playing create subtle backdrops which are a crumpled and heartfelt delight to listen to.
The solo recordings are a return to the sparse directness of her earliest work. The album features some of Fullbrook’s most fully realised songwriting. Recorded onto tape in whole live takes at Auckland’s Roundhead Studios. We caught up with Fullbrook to get to know her a little better.
Hi, how are you today?
A little jet lagged. Dragging myself into American timezone with American coffee!
How did you meet?
I moved into a house where bass player Cass Basil lived – a big house full of musicians – in 2011, shortly after releasing my first album. We lived there for several years & toured together as Tiny Ruins in duo form.
Alex & Cass knew each other from jazz school and he joined us on tour in 2013. Cass and I met Tom at a party in early 2012. He later recorded our second and third albums and joined the band in around 2015.
What was the first song you ever wrote?
It was called ‘In My Dreams’
What was it like?
I was 14, it was an unabashed love song, unrequited love of course. It had quite a ‘this boy’ beatlesesque melody/harmony, I can still remember it. Not the worst song I’ve written but definitely on the sweetly sentimental side. My best friend accompanied me on glockenspiel.
What was the first thing you released?
An EP called ‘Little Notes’ I recorded in Barcelona with my friend Lieven in 2010.
What’s the music scene like back home?
I guess it’s all I really know, as I’ve never made the big permanent move overseas. It’s a supportive environment, close-knit. Not a lot of expectations or big infrastructure. Notoriously laidback. A lot of freedom to experiment and for the most part a fairly easy place to concentrate on your own thing.
How would you describe your music in five words?
Layered, thoughtful, coy, big, ambitious
Which artists do you admire?
Oh man off the top of my head Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett, Aldous Harding, Sharon Van Etten, The Beths, Patti Smith, Nadia Reid, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Weyes Blood, Bob Dylan, Marlon Williams, Cate Le Bon, Chelsea Jade, Harry Nilsson, Adrianne Lenker, Wilco, Nina Simone, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Sleater Kinney
What would be your dream collaboration?
It’s already happened.
What are your views on sexism in the music industry?
Yes of course it exists and it is slowly changing. Festival bills need to catch up big time. It’s extremely noticeable now when there’s not true representation of our diverse reality.
Can you tell us about your new release?
‘Olympic Girls Solo’ is a companion to our album released early this year. They are stripped back versions of the songs with just me and guitar playing live whole takes and recorded to 2” tape using beautiful mics and a big Guild guitar.
What’s the best band you have played with so far?
My own band, absolutely. Cass, Alex and Tom. They are the greatest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
Are you playing any shows/festivals this autumn?
Yes see dates below.
26th October – St Pauls Church, Birmingham
27th October – Omeara, London
28th October – Headrow House, Leeds
29th October – Blue Arrow, Glasgow
5th November – Greys, Brighton
6th November – Pound Arts Centre, Horsham
7th November – Railway Inn, Winchester
Thanks for your time