Q&A Scene: Gemma Ray

Photograph by Alessandra Leimer
Photograph by Alessandra Leimer

Tell us about your latest album and upcoming tour ? 

The Exodus Suite was recorded live at Candy Bomber Studio in Berlin, home to 8000 Syrian refugees during that period of time.  
I have been touring it since May 2016 and the last leg of the tour is in Australia this April.
What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
Right now, I can’t get enough of Max Roach – ‘We Insist’, but there are too many others to list! Astral Weeks is always up there, along with ‘The Persuaders’ theme tune by John Barry.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote. 
Um…. well – the other week, whilst driving around the forests outside of Frankfurt (Germany) all night (long story) – I saw 4 big cats at 4am, maybe small females lions, checking out our van and then prowling, sinuously across the road. Coming face to face with a potential predator was a pretty surreal experience for a European!
What, or who, inspires you? 
Sound itself, making something out of nothing.
Which song do you wish you wrote?  
I don’t really wish I wrote any particular song, but I do get an overwhelming yearning for certain productions and arrangements – for example many Brill Building / 60s Girl Group productions, The Wrecking Crew as dream musicians, Eddie Holland’s vocal arrangements, Ira Gershwin’s simple yet heartfelt and clever way with words, Brian Wilson’s arrangements and melodic drama, Sparks never-ending euphoria – I get so positively overwhelmed by these things that I can’t listen to them very often….
What’s next for you?  
I’m finishing writing my next record and working on some other projects – moving around, getting in amongst it.
What’s your scene?   
I’m not a scene person, I’m more into the stuff that falls between the cracks.
Berlin-based, British-born Gemma Ray and her band will bring their unique torch song psychedelia to Australia this April in support of her latest album The Exodus Suite.
Released in mid 2016 – The Exodus Suite has earned Ray international praise, including Paste (“shadowy beauty”), Mother Jones (“Spinetingling”), American Songwriter (“riveting”), Mojo (“beautiful, as ever”), Uncut (“a moving collision of past and present”), Rolling Stone Australia (“deep and meaningful seduction”), and Rhythms Australia (“Trademark Gemma Ray, all space and luxurious, shimmering and ominous”) among others. Her sideways blues is cinematic and brooding, and sit more comfortably in the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds/PJ Harvey school, “blowing sugary femme-pop out of the water” (NME).
It should come as no surprise that Ray has collaborated with members of the Bad Seeds, as well as the late great Alan Vega of Suicide, Howe Gelb, Sparks, and the Filmorchester Babelsberg among others.
Friday 21st April – Four 5 Nine, PERTH WA Tix
Saturday 22nd April – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, ADELAIDE SA Tix
Monday 24th (Anzac Day Eve) April – Newtown Leadbelly, SYDNEY NSW Tix
Thursday 27th April – Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE VIC Tix
Saturday 29th April – Caravan Music Club, OAKLEIGH VIC Tix

About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.