22 May 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking
  • Articles »
  • Interviews »
  • Caroline Easther and the Cinnamon Girls - Caroline Easther in conversation with Darryl Baser for Muzic.net.nz

Caroline Easther and the Cinnamon Girls - Caroline Easther in conversation with Darryl Baser for Muzic.net.nz

27 Mar 2019 // An interview by darryl baser

On April 6th at Meow in Wellington, singer/songwriter & ex-Chills Drummer, Caroline Easther will step out from behind her beloved drum kit and take to the front of the stage. Armed with her guitar and backed by her band The Cinnamon Girls, she’ll be presenting a collection of haunting indie-pop songs from her debut solo album Lucky, released on April 5th.

In her extensive career she has toured the world drumming and singing with bands and musicians such as The Chills, The VerlainesBarry Saunders (The Warratahs), Let’s Planet and Hobnail but has always been a singer/songwriter in her own right.

Well known musician and composer David Long engineered and produced the album in his Owhiro Bay studio. He has brought his love of candid, organic sounds and his experience as a writer of atmospheric film music to Caroline’s songs and expertly infused them with space and light.

Caroline Easther got comfortable and answered a few questions thrown at her.

Why are you releasing an album now?

There was never any sense of urgency for me. I have had songs on the albums I did with my band Let’s Planet (3 albums, 1 E.P) but I knew the process of doing a solo album in the way I wanted it with the sounds I heard in my head would be a bit more of a process. Working with David Long at the helm was a priority and a side effect was finding time we could both fit in a day or two here and there for recording. So, it just happened to be ready to arrive now!

You're known to many for your drumming skills; The Chills, Verlaines, Warratahs, have you always been a songwriter?

Yes – I started writing at High School for music competitions but have never been terribly prolific or considered myself a serious songwriter, but I have written reasonably consistently and with the encouragement of Alan Galloway from Let’s Planet kept going.

How many years does this body of work span, and what's changed for you as a songwriter in that time?

I don’t think anything has changed for me as a song-writer over the – hmmm – 20 years or so these songs span.-.there are other songs within this time on other albums but these ones I have either written more recently or saved until the day I could really present them as I wanted without the time and money pressures of having a full band in a studio.”

Caroline will be touring with her band, The Cinnamon Girls who are Alan Galloway, Hamish Graham and Murray Costello.

The group begins an album launch at Meow in Wellington on April 6th then play Fairfield House in Nelson, the Mussel Inn in Onekaka, the Marton Players Theatre and St Peter’s Hall Paekakariki throughout May.

What's your song writing process: words first, or music first, or maybe even drums first?

It varies. I’d say music comes first with a line or two I really like and a ‘feel’. Then it’s hard graft – and the lyrical side really is hard graft. I’ve always heard the musical textures and shapes and emotions in the songs I listen to – I often have no idea what the lyrics are until much later apart from obvious chorus bits.”

As a fullah who released my debut LP at age 46 in a terribly youth based industry, what does it mean to you to be releasing now?

It just is what it is I think – there are plenty of people my age listening to and playing and loving music out there… all of us have loads more to play and listen to and love yet!

Two of the bands you drummed with are Flying Nun royalty, and another is NZ country crossover royalty...so what style of music can people expect from you and the Cinnamon Girls?

I’m a lover of guitar-based alternative indie-pop. I’d say Sneaky Feelings and The Chills, and The Go-Betweens are my great loves and influences. There is certainly a hint of ‘country’ in one or two of my songs but nothing you’d see on my sleeve. I do a duet with Barry Saunders of Hank William’s I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry because I adore singing with Barry. He is a fine story-teller and we just fit together musically so well.

When someone’s band is called the Cinnamon Girls, I had to ask the obvious question: Is cinnamon girls a Neil Young reference?

Absolutely. My first love. With Cat Stevens.

The LP's title is Lucky; what prompted that?

A lot of people don’t believe in luck and I understand that. Many people work very very hard to make their own luck and many many people don’t get any whatsoever. I had a great upbringing in a small town with all the usual teenage angst and parents that split up etc, but I was lucky enough to be born with a sunny, positive disposition overall.. So that’s genes not luck I guess but I still feel lucky. And very grateful. Possibly much of that feeling stems from surviving a really dicey motorbike accident at age 16 and learning fast to make the most of every opportunity and every moment.

So, you've got an LP release at Meow, and a North Island tour...and plans to come south, like Christchurch and Dunedin?

I hope so but I’m just small stuff really and it’s hard to get people out to gigs and it’s very expensive to get so far South. I would love to though. We’ll see how the album goes.

Is there anything blindingly obvious that I haven't asked you about your music, life in general, and all that jazz, that you'd like to say?

No – great questions thank you! A lot of people played here and there on the album – Hamish Graham, Murray Costello and Alan Galloway (who are Cinnamon Girls), Dave Berry, Alan Norman, Barry Saunders, David Long, Paddy Burgin (pedal steel) and my husband Chris who is a very musical not-musician (he did some backing vocals on my song Find Me). And my good mate Manan Frederickson does all the art stuff for posters and covers and things. I’m very grateful for the support and encouragement these musicians and friends have given me.

Photos courtesy of Ebony Lamb

About Caroline Easther and the Cinnamon Girls

Caroline Easther has always been best known for her drumming skills, and has played with The Chills, The Verlaines, The Warratahs’ Barry Saunders and Let's Planet among many, many others.

Now, she's venturing to the front of stage to front her band The Cinnamon Girls to showcase the songs from her new, debut solo album, Lucky.

Caroline is a huge fan of the indie-pop, alternative rock genre and lists bands such as The Go-Betweens, Sneaky Feelings, The Triffids and PJ Harvey as among her main influences. Her album, Lucky, would not have been made had David Long not been available to produce the sound Caroline wanted so much at his Owhiro Bay studio in Wellington. The album is essentially guitar driven but is varied in pace and in its sounds and lots of musicians popped in to add their flavour - Alan Norman, Dave Berry, Alan Galloway, Hamish Grahan, David Long and Murray Costello all contributed. The resultis a melodic, spacious, multi-layered collection of songs about the small and the not-so-small things Caroline has observed or loved or experienced...

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Caroline Easther and the Cinnamon Girls


Year: 2019
Type: Album

Other Interviews By darryl baser

WoLF - Interview: Who is WLF?
09 May 2022 // by darryl baser
In the very first issue of Muzic.net.
Interview with Molly Devine
17 Sep 2020 // by darryl baser
With an impressive resume of singing with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and performing with the likes of Martin Phillips (The Chills), Shayne P Carter (Straightjacket Fits), Nadia Reid and Anthonie Tonnon,  Molly Devine is definitely one to watch for.Darryl Baser from Muzic.
VÏKÆ - Interview with Vikae
12 Sep 2020 // by darryl baser
Originally born in Ukraine and seeking refuge in New Zealand post Chernobyl; classically trained musician VïKÆ has done a full 360 dance through the music sphere. Trained as an opera singer, she switched genres when she felt the need to create art that provokes thoughts, is catchy, exciting and fresh.
Interview with Roonie
01 Jul 2020 // by darryl baser
New Pop artist Roonie, previously known as Michaela Pointon, is making lead-way with her electrifying writing about loneliness and love. She moved to Auckland in 2019 where she is studying, writing new songs and building a name for herself in the music scene.
Captain Festus McBoyle's Travellin' Variety Show - Interview: Captain Festus McBoyle
20 Jul 2019 // by darryl baser
In his formative years Captain Festus McBoyle was a rock and roller known as Rich Manic, who performed in bands such as Runninghouse. These days however, he is the ringleader for a Vaudeville musical comedy Troupe from Auckland, Captain Festus McBoyle's Travellin' Variety Show.
Interview: Crooked Royals
30 Jun 2019 // by darryl baser
Described as a band who have "musically hit the ball right out of the park" with their newest EP Rumination, Auckland five-piece Crooked Royals ability to craft songs with a combination of heavy and clean vocals mixed in with huge crushing riffs earned them a spot opening for London prog rock monsters Monument in Auckland earlier this year. Crooked Royals will also be supporting Polaris during their upcoming August tour in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Interview: Molly Devine
10 Jun 2019 // by darryl baser
Molly Devine is a contemporary vocalist and songwriter based in Dunedin.She’s performed alongside some of the city’s rock royalty as well as fronting the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in the Tally Ho series of concerts.
Interview with Eyreton Hall
24 May 2019 // by darryl baser
Eyreton Hall have released their incredible new album Spaces today through Marigold Music. Darryl from Muzic.
View All Articles By darryl baser

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Tommy Richman
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
    Kendrick Lamar
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Benson Boone
    Taylor Swift feat. Post Malone
    Teddy Swims
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem