AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Lara Goodridge of Baby Et Lulu (Sydney)

Another act set to appear at this year's Adelaide Cabaret Festival is Sydney's Baby Et Lulu. A musical partnership between talented and respected songstresses Abby Dobson and Lara Goodridge, Baby Et Lulu is going to take the audiences on a French journey, covering songs by the great French songwriters of the 20th century. Goodridge tells me about the show, working with Dobson and why it's French in particular that turns her on so...

I’ve just been looking up some press material for the show that you and Abby are set to bring through Adelaide for the Cabaret Festival, it is very exciting.

Yeah! It is! We’re really looking forward to it.

Can you tell me roughly how long this show has been in the works and how long it’s been on the road for?

Well, we initially started it a few years ago, about four years ago. It started off, literally, with one song at a party and we had so much fun doing it, singing one song in French together. We decided to book a gig at The Vanguard in Sydney and it just sold out without any advertising or anything and we thought, ‘Ooh this could be something’! We did a very slow progression of building the repertoire; Abby was living in Melbourne at the time and then she moved to Sydney and it was a year ago that we put out our album in July. A year ago that we recorded. We put it out in July and we did a very tiny little tour; it was literally just Sydney and Melbourne and a little bit of the regionals around Sydney. It was earlier this year that we really got it on the road for the first time. It’s still really fresh and new.

Awesome. You just said that it had its humble beginnings at a party; how did you go about forming the repertoire and then picking the talented musicians you were to work with?

Again, at the very beginning, it started off that Abby and I happened to be in Paris at the same time, as you do dahhling. [Laughs] So we met up for a glass of wine or a coffee and I had just bought a book of 1920s songs in French and we both worked out that we loved French and we were like, ‘Let’s sing a song in French!’, so we sang one song from this book and then, since Abby was living in Melbourne, when we booked this gig we said, ‘Right, we need some repertoire’. We just started sending YouTube clips and iTunes samples of songs to each other and somehow we just happened to stumble upon the same tastes and the same ideas; we just wanted to cover songs over the 20th century of the great writers of France and also some of the more eclectic ones and maybe some unexpected ones. We didn’t want to be, you know, like a French revue that played all the classics; we wanted it to be a little bit quirky as well. That’s how the repertoire came together.

The band – both Abby and I knew the guys that we play with from other bands and a lot of them do play or have played in Monsieur Camembert, and that is a very similar vibe. Those sorts of worldly, fun and beautiful classic European songs. They all work with each other so well and have done for so long with different bands, that we just asked them, ‘Who do you think we should use for this’ and they’d be like, ‘You’ve got to get so and so’. The band really came together organically as well.

That’s what you want, really…

Yeah! There is a great dynamic between them and we just feel so incredibly supported and luxurious amongst them, you know? They’re so good and they’re just such a great band that we get to just relax and sing and have a good time!

I guess, as a performer and a lover of the music you perform, that is all you can really ask for.

Exactly.

From the bit of research that I’ve done on your career specifically; French culture and European music has played a major part of your career and studies, I’m gathering…

Yeah it really has; I guess that Abby and I have loved everything French and yes, I ended up studying lots of European languages and I guess for me, in the same way that music just excites me and fills my heart and it turns me on… in the same way that music does that for me, so does European languages and their poetry and their literature. It all goes very nicely together and I guess this band is really the culmination of all my favourite things.

Clearly, there’s something inherently sultry and sexy about the French in general…

Yes, yes there is!

I imagine it must feel quite indulgent to be able to take on this music and perform it!

[Laughs] Absolutely! There’s a beautiful indulgence and Abby and I are looking at each other onstage and we love each other’s voices and we love singing together. We love the songs, we love the band and we just go, ‘Wow, this is fun’! We’re glad people like it!

Working with Abby specifically… considering both your musical backgrounds, how do you think those two coming together has influenced the way the two of you do interact and perform onstage?

It’s a great question; for me, it’s been one of the most beautiful musical experiences I think I’ve had. I think that, as people, we really vibe off each other; we’re good friends and we have a really similar ridiculous sense of humour. We’re both very silly together, but we can both trust each other that we understand each other. We’re on the same wavelength on many levels and we work really well together, so that’s that side of it. Musically, Abby is such a great singer and such a strong singer and also, she’s such an inspiring performer. She’s really passionate and so authentic, I think. She really brings herself to every performance and brings everything she’s got to every performance; I found that really wonderful to work with and I feel like it’s helped me step up. I’ve worked really hard to come to the party, you know? I’ve always loved singing backing vocals or singing in harmonies, I love singing in harmony because I feel exposed if I’m out there on my own; to have her voice just as a support next to me, I get to indulge again. There’s more indulgence there! I get to indulge in her strength and I feel really safe and I feel like it’s really helped me come out as a singer and as a performer.

So great to hear. Obviously, I’m keen to see you ladies come back through town as I missed out last time; it’ll be an amazing few weeks of shows during the festival. Are you taking the show elsewhere this year?

Yeah! Well, earlier this year we came to Adelaide for the Fringe and played at the Paradiso Spiegeltent and we played at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne and we did a tour in March, so we’ve just come off a 10 week East Coast tour. We’ve booked a few more Sydney shows and we’re just sitting down to book the rest of the year now; we’re possibly playing at the Broadbeach Jazz Festival and we’re playing in Canberra, we’ve been invited to a jazz festival there. We’ve been invited to a Victorian festival as well and possibly Woodford at the end of the year, so we definitely want to keep it going and keep getting the music to people, because a lot of people still haven’t heard about us. We’re going to keep working it, you know? It’s great fun.

It definitely sounds like it. Well, best of luck for all of it and I’ll catch you when you come through!

Thank you! Beautiful, I hope you come along!

Definitely being there! Have a good afternoon!

Excellent! Thanks so much for your time.

Baby Et Lulu will perform on the Festival Theatre Stage on June 16 at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. Visit www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au for more information.