Ragamuffin Children writing their own script
Ragamuffin Children are Brook Singer (pictured right) and Anita Clark, two talented musicians who write quirky, original music. They have a busy summer of music ahead, and shared a few of their secrets - but not all - with pulse.
- Thought there was a silver lining but the other side was bare – More of Me
The line just drips disappointment – can you tell me where More of Me, which brought you national attention via the Loop Recordings song contest, came from?
- Nope :-)
It’s a secret! Anita probably doesn’t even know what is about really…
- Violin, Glockenspiel?? You use a range of different instruments – does that pose challenges when you play live?
- We quite often have other musicians playing with us when we have a show.
Our friend Tui sings backup vocals, Benjamin plays clarinet, and sometimes we play with a drummer and guitarist too.
Anita also plays guitar and violin as well as singing.
- Do you include Minstrel, the singing dog, on stage?
- We would love to have her come sing with us, but she might get a bit sidetracked if she saw a whole room of people watching her…
Maybe one day.
- You say you’ve traded in your wooden legs - did you celebrate Talk like a Pirate Day?
- Well we sort of did…I think we said ‘Arrrrrr ye matey’ a few times. We have quite a few pirate friends who all celebrated it.
- How did you get into writing songs – is it something you’ve always done?
- I (Brooke) started writing songs when I was about 5 years old.
We had an old piano and I used to make up songs about fairies and things. The first song I ever wrote was about my pet cat Monty when he died.
- Is musicianship and performance something you work hard at?
- Anita has always been an amazing musician, she started playing the violin when she was four and seems to have learnt how to play a lot of different instruments since then! She came from a musical background with her Dad playing guitar and singing in bluegrass bands.
I used to get really nervous playing in front of people, but over the last year playing so many shows I have found it is quite fun!
- I could hear this music as a movie soundtrack – especially some of the spooky wailing… Where would you like to take your music? Have you made videos?
- We are actually making a music video now for a song called ‘Lullaby’.which we plan to release later this year.
We are hoping to get a publishing deal, which is something we are currently working on. So maybe our music will get into film and television one day soon!
- The music is quite laid-back and contemplative; do you perform it differently on stage?
- It depends on what kind of audience you have.
With a younger audience we tend to play our more upbeat and quirky songs, but with an older audience we can play all our slower, more serious songs. Although it depends on what moods we are in! Our next album might be more upbeat.
- You have lots of gigs lined up over the next couple of months, is music your full-time job now?
- We wish it was! It makes it very hard to have a job when you have to take a couple of weeks off at a time to go on tour. This summer we hopefully will be working at vineyard around the shows that we do so we can save some money to go overseas.
It’s quite a balancing act.
- Werecat lullabies – has it had good sales success?
It seems to be going quite well.
- We have a nice distribution company Rhythmethod who put our album into stores around New Zealand for us.
- Was it difficult to get a recording contract? What’s involved?
- It depends on a lot of things. In New Zealand I don’t think it is necessary to sign to a label especially now everything’s changing so quickly with the internet, digital music and myspace.
We met Jody Lloyd (randomly through myspace) who runs an indie label called She’ll Be Right records, and because we had no clue what we were doing he helped us out, which was super! We would probably only sign to an international or overseas label (if they offered us millions and billions of dollars and were nice too).
- You’ve come up with some interesting labels for yourselves - Tea folk, indie soul. Does it annoy you when people try to label your work?
- Oh we don’t mind really.
I quite like the word “tea-folk”. We like drinking tea.