Interview: Geraldine Hollet from The Once (Canada)

The Once have been around doing a whole heap of touring with a basic lineup of harmonic voices and acoustic instruments, and they’ve gradually grown a large following in their homeland with original stories woven within the lyrics of their songs.

In the second of our interviews with artists playing up in Woodford this year, Geraldine from the Canadian trio The Once answered a few questions for us. They’ll be be making their first visit to Australia as part of a contingent from the province of Newfoundland.

I read that you recently conducted a few ‘pop up’ shows across Canada. Could you tell me how that went and what the experience of these surprise shows were like?

They were great. We popped up all over the country. Canada is pretty big so it was a bit rough travel wise. Not as long as the trip to Brisbane. Money was rough. Too many expenses. Good publicity wise though. People enjoyed it.

You were originally actors prior to forming as a band. Did the portrayal of other people in that artform of performing in playing music? Is there a crossover there between the actors stage and the musicians stage?

Our backgrounds in acting really do carry over into the music world. Andrew actually did music in school and dabbled in acting. Phil and I have our bachelor of [email protected]#k all – I mean fine arts ;). We definitely don’t mind telling stories in front of thousands of people. Acting has really helped us there. As for portraying characters, I personally never had any issues imagining what it were like to be other people onstage or otherwise. Me and my imagination have had a lot of fun that way. I grew up in a town with 16 houses. I always imagined being someone and somewhere else.

From what I gather there is still a kind of, bubbling scene of bands residing in Newfoundland (some who are coming out for the festival as well). Could you describe what the musical scene is like in your area, for those in Australia who may not be too aware of music from Newfoundland?

It’s bustling over here. You might only expect Celtic or Trad when you think of NL but there is so much more. We have Hey Rosetta, for instance who is like Canada’s answer to Coldplay and Radiohead. Our folk scene is where it’s at these days. There seems to be a revival. Everyone is enjoying getting back to their roots. People seem to love the honesty of the “lyric” over here, the good stories.

You have a simple uncomplicated and subtle set up in terms of your instrumentation, yet there is an element of interesting vocal harmonies which make your songs rich. How much do you value that vocal elements in your songs?

Well, it’s our sound so it’s pretty important. Harmonies are what we do. Most times there are only two instruments so vocally we try and make the sound more full. And we have a lot of fun mixing it up. Making new sounds while staying true to our sound.

Learn more about The Once here:
More about The Woodford folk Festival:


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