Bluehouse, Australia’s most successful lesbian band, has a new album, These Days, recorded last year in New York. Producer Ben Wisch is perhaps best known for his work on Marc Cohen’s first album. In the early 90s, Wisch and Cohen scored a hit with Walking In Memphis and along with that came a string of Grammy nominations.
To say Bluehouse’s collaboration with Wisch is a bit of a coup is an understatement. An established industry name of Wisch’s pedigree opens many doors -“ access to the best session musicians, the ear of record labels to name a few. That said, Bluehouse’s Jacqui Walters insists the road to success lies in remaining independent.
A lot of the young kids coming through get signed by a record company and they think that’s making it, Walters says.
Then they get screwed by the record company, they don’t make any money and they virtually never work again. For us it’s been a decision from the start to stay really independent.
Bluehouse have been performing together for 10 years, releasing their first full-length album in 1999. Their second album, Six Minutes Of Breathable Air, was released in 2001 and was produced locally, infamously in a back shed especially renovated for the project. Rumour has it the album’s title refers to the length of time the band could remain in the studio before taking a breather.
In the States, Bluehouse increasingly find their audience in the mainstream. Because our manager in the States is very entrenched in the folk scene he places us in the types of venues that suit our music, Walters says.
Which is not to say they’re turning their back on their sexual identity. Jacqui has plenty to say about homophobia in the industry in this country.
We’ve had record company interest once in a 10-year career, she says. I know we do have representatives coming to our gigs but they seem really intimidated by our gay audiences, which is just bizarre. Why is the pink dollar less valid than any other dollar?
If the example set by bands like The Waifs is anything to go by, Bluehouse could find themselves slapping down a few record execs in the not too distant future. You can only ignore proven talent for so long.