Piperlain ponders the concept of being ‘lost & found’ on their new single “Bloom”, recorded at a secret location in the Warrumbungle National Park. Video interview

A lot is going on in the world these days, most of it rather grim. Additionally, bad news travels fast and “sells” well, so we find out about everything almost instantly, whether we want it or not.

No wonder many people are feeling anxious, myself included. But if these difficult times have taught me anything, it’s that spending time in beautiful, natural surroundings has a truly healing effect.

Judging by “Bloom”, Piperlain thinks so, too. So I invited the singer Rebecca to chat more about escaping to nature.

PART 137 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE / THE SILLY & GREEN PROJECT

Piperlain is a duo of musicians who are also an item privately. That’s why their creative connection is pretty special.

Rebecca Voorn-Knight and Benjamin Knight have been writing quirky acoustic songs with passionate vocals since 2014. The pair, originating from The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into only one “sound”, however.

Although they’re still trying to find their musical identity, they lean towards the alternative indie folk/rock/pop vibe. Plus, their lyrics are very poetic. “Emotive is definitely the word that describes our music”, says Rebecca when we catch up on Zoom.

On their home turf, the duo has often been compared to Josh Pyke or Sarah Blasko. But the husband-wife team combines various musical backgrounds and influences to make that eclectic sound.

Rebecca is a folk-type singer/songwriter, also inspired by acts like Janis Joplin, The Doors or The Cranberries. And Ben is more of a rock-kind-of-guy, with Pink Floyd, Faith No More and Tool being some of his favourites.

Despite the different styles all those influences represent, there are some elements they have in common. It’s the dark edge, fervent vocals and a lot of intensity in their delivery. Piperlain’s sound is also defined by those characteristics.

The first time a wider audience heard about Piperlain was back in 2014. The duo made the finals of the B&T Mad Week Battle of the Bands, where they received a commendation on their live performance and songwriting talent from Sony.

That same year, they released their first single, “Deliverance”. It was followed by a few other songs in 2015. “We wanted to test the waters first” – this is how Rebecca summarises their “baby” steps.

Two years later, Piperlain released a full-length concept album, which received good reviews from industry professionals and media outlets. It was also nominated for an AIR award, even though it is quite a heavy listen.

“It comes from the point of pain”, Rebecca admits. Mother Mourned recounts the personal and emotional journey of two people growing up with and caring for mothers with serious illnesses.

Luckily, 2017 was also a time when the pair met producer Paul Iannuzzelli who has been with them ever since.

As a muso himself, Paul often presents a different point of view when choosing the songs for release or their arrangement. But Rebecca and Ben trust him. So the three have developed this special “formula” over the years, which seems to be working in their favour.

Piperlain’s approach to songwriting is collaborative from the get-go. Rebecca and Ben are a good team in that sense.

Sometimes, they would be casually jamming together, her on the guitar and him on the bass, and a song would “happen”. On other occasions, she would write something on the guitar or keyboard, like the chord progression or melody line, and he would instinctively complete the arrangement on the bass or drums.

“Ben is very talented. He plays every instrument and has a very good ear”, says Rebecca with admiration. Apart from a degree in music, he is also a sound engineer, which comes in super handy at gigs, for instance.

In 2021, Piperlain dropped a follow-up to their album. The EP, entitled Time, is composed of songs written many years ago. With producer Paul’s help, they made them more contemporary, updated the sound or rewrote the lyrics completely.

The final product received positive industry reviews again, this time regarding the duo’s versatility and musicianship. And it scored them the second AIR award nomination.

Plus, Piperlain became an official entrant in the 2022 ARIA Awards, a recognition few emerging musical acts can include on their professional CV.

“Bloom” is their first song since Time. It was released on January 20th, and it announces another body of work we’ll hear in its entirety on February 24th.

Shine on You is a four-song EP, recorded at the MusicPro Farmstay Studios near the Warrumbungle National Park in western New South Wales, a six-hour drive from Sydney. The tracks were recorded over a week on-site, surrounded by nature and farmland, to capture a more organic sound.

“They’re all coming from different places”, explains Rebecca. “But the EP’s entire concept is all about being >lost & found<“. Hence, the songs’ themes are the loss of a relationship, the pressures of social media, and especially the image of perfection imposed on us artificially, or finding inspiration again after coming out of a dark time.

When it comes to “Bloom”, the idea came from people moving away from the city to rural areas following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The track is about people rediscovering something special in nature, as well as perhaps something forgotten in themselves. Because re-prioritisation of what’s important in life often comes with a change of pace and a chance to reflect.

Apart from the enchanting melody line, I was drawn to the song’s lyrics. The chorus is particularly encouraging:

“Bloom, wherever you have landed

Bloom, bloom where you are planted”.

But the lyrics are not the only thing Rebecca and I spoke about during our virtual catch-up. Find out more from the video below.

It forms part of my “Silly & Green” YouTube series, intended to bring you stories about the “greener” and more natural side of the music business, in Australia and beyond.


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