Adelaide-born Sarah McLeod shot to national and international fame as the front woman for Australian rock outfit The Superjesus, even being dubbed ‘Australia’s iconic rock chick’. Since flying the coop in 2004, Ms McLeod has dabbled in a bit of everything. Her debut solo album Beauty Was A Tiger was a return to her rock roots, while a spontaneous collaboration with Hook N Sling in 2006, He Doesn’t Love You, set dance floors and clubs across Australia and the U.K racing.
Her follow up album is Madness. No, that’s the name. I haven’t heard it yet, but when you’re working with the likes of the legendary Steve Aoki, Chew Fu (Lady Gaga, Rihanna), Benny Blanco (Kesha, Britney Spears, Katy Perry) as well as U.S crooner Mike Posner, the madness seems implied, really. Sarah returns to Adelaide next week for an intimate acoustic performance at the Bird in Hand Winery, and took time to speak with GLAM Adelaide writer Gianni Borrelli.
GB: You’re originally from Adelaide, do you remember the first ever gig you played here?
SM: Yeah, I played at a place called The Broadway Hotel in Glenelg, my friend’s folks owned it, I had long hair and I wore a bandana in it and I had an Epiphone Les Paul sunburst guitar. I remember it ‘cause I’ve a photo from it somewhere, I look about 12.
GB: Your collaboration with Hook N Sling, ‘He Doesn’t Love You’ was such a huge hit in clubs across Australia and the U.K. What marked the shift from rock music to the dance floor?
SM: It was just one of those things, I didn’t mean for it to happen, in fact I didn’t really know it was happening until I saw it in the charts. We had a remix done of the song just for kicks and it just got picked up by underground DJs and began to spread. It was more of a right place right time thing as there wasn’t much push on it. After that, I started to get into it; it was a way of reaching a new market, having your tracks played in clubs is like touring without leaving the house. SHAZAM!
GB: Do you still perform with the other members of The Superjesus?
SM: We haven’t performed together for years. We are all still tight though and always talk about the day when we’ll get off our asses and do something together.
GB: Your album, Madness, is coming together nicely. Tell us a bit about it.
SM: I called it Madness for a good reason, in my brain it’s been out for years, the ever morphing beast that it is! But yes it will be out soon. I just kept stuffing about with it, I need to learn to keep my hands in my pockets…
GB: Stylistically, is it more similar to your work with The Superjesus or your more recent dance floor ventures?
SM: Its nothing like The Superjesus, it’s an outlet for a different side of my creativity, there’s no guitars, its all electro and big beats, it’s groovy as hell though and the songs are cool. Maybe one day you too can hear it!
GB: You’ll be performing an intimate and unplugged set at the Bird in Hand Winery, do you enjoy the stripped back performances more than simply thrashing out with your guitar and a full band?
SM: I LOVE playing acoustically, it gives you a chance to relax and just enjoy singing, to embrace dynamics and to connect with your audience on a much more personal level.
GB: Do you have a favourite song to perform live?
SM: Actually probably my favourite from this set is I’m Stained. It’s a Superjesus song and it’s really intricate and hard to play but once you nail it you feel pretty chuffed. I’ve never performed it acoustically before but because I am bringing a bass player with me I can get away with harder songs now. She holds down the groove and I can get fiddly… although having said that, her parts are really fiddly as well, it’s good for our chops!
GB: Both solo and with The Superjesus, you enjoyed popularity overseas. For Australian acts, overseas success is sometimes fleeting. Why do you think this is?
SM: Because they can’t connect with our accents, I’m sure that’s all it is. They love to listen to us speak but not sing. If we sung in an American accent it would be a different ball game. It’s still hard but we would have at least a shot that the locals would have, living over here and having weird accents puts us at the bottom of the ladder unfortunately.
GB: Aside from the Bird in Hand Winery performance, what else is in store for Ms McLeod?
SM: I also play club gigs. I sing remixes of my tracks late at night in dance clubs, it’s really fun. I need only bring myself and a backing track, LOW maintenance man!
Sarah McLeod performs at the Bird in Hand Winery Friday, 15th April 2011.VIP tickets include a two course meal and Bird in Hand wines for $110 ($1000 for tables of 10).
Visit https://www.starsinhand.com.au/sarah-mcleod-unplugged-at-bird-in-hand-winery for more information and to purchase tickets.