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:: Spotlight :: Interview with Abby Dobson

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Abby Dobson is still fondly remembered for being a founding member of the band Leonardo‘s Bride. She went on to make some wonderful records with them, including the gold selling album 'Angel Blood’ with its Top 5 single ‘Even When Im Sleeping’.

A spell away from the music limelight caused Abby to re-evaluate her position and she has now come back with a recently released album “Rise Up” and a new single out now called “It's Only Love”. She is currently touring with Lior and is then set to join Joe Jackson for a national tour in May. See below for tour dates.

I caught up with Abby to discuss her musical rollercoaster ride over the past fifteen years.

Just to clear the air on the Leonardo’s Bride story, tell us what happened in the end?

We just disappeared. We’d been together for a while. Dean (Manning) and I had probably known each other and worked together since 1990. The band started in 1992 and broke up in 2001. It was a long time for a group of people to be together. We had just released an album but then our record company got sold. Thereafter, we didn’t get the support for the record as we’d liked. We had put our heart and soul into everything we did – all consuming – and we had opportunities overseas. The companies restructured and our supporters left. It was a bit too much for me and I had to take a break.

During the past six years you worked mainly with people like Paul Mac. Was that a good way to stay in touch with the music scene?

Yes, it was nice to work with Paul on his projects. He asked me to come on board and it was something different to what I’d done before. I recorded a few songs and went on tour with him. It was good to make music and perform without any pressure.

What did that long break mean to you as far as re-evaluating your career?

I had to give some serious thought to my relationship with music. I had to consider why I’d do anything more than the corner pub once a month. I just kept working my way through. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got a band together and worked around Sydney. I kept busy with other artists too, like David Lane’s record, and the Holidays On Ice one. There wasn’t much downtime.

Tell us about getting the right band together?

It was about getting the right personalities to help with the organic sound. I worked with people like Stella Mozgawa from Mink. She is an awesome drummer. Generally, I am pretty careful about who I choose to play with.

How does it feel working independently?

It’s a bit different working independently. Craving Records has been great in looking after me. It’s very hands on and has been significant in getting to this point. I’m looking forward to getting on the road with this album and the latest single out. I’ve been living in Melbourne for the past twelve months and this is a new Melbourne band. We’ll have six members on stage.

I suppose the Internet, particularly Myspace, has been beneficial in keeping you aware of people’s reactions to your album…

It’s an amazing thing. I’d been reluctant to have a website for a long time; to be contactable really. I didn’t have much to talk about for so long. I just wanted privacy. But it’s fun now. People write some gorgeous comments; really encouraging.

Your voice has always been the distinguishing feature. Do you adhere to any vocal exercises, or no-no’s?

When I first started singing before any so-called success, I used to smoke, drink coffee and didn’t really know what I was doing. I then got to a point when I realised that I had to protect my voice. I don’t think I do anything unusual. I warm up before each performance, which is important. I do a few little exercises, especially if I’m not singing for a few days. I like to sing in my car. I don’t have cigarettes any more, although I miss smoking.

Tell us a little about the preparations for the album?

During the time of the Paul Mac albums, I bought a computer and started to teach myself on music software. So I experimented at that time to teach myself the technology of music without a band. It was a big learning curve. I did lots of loops, layers upon layers, and gradually got things into shape. I was very hands on in this album and worked with some capable people who helped polish up the record. I’ve been very happy with the results.

Lastly, would you consider reforming Leonardo’s Bride again?

I haven’t ruled out reforming Leonardo’s Bride. I wouldn’t say that we’d get back together, but it was a wonderful combination of people to play music with. It would be a great pleasure to play with them at some stage, but whether we’d get into a Tarago van for more than a week would be questionable.

Upcoming shows
Wednesday, April 16 – Brass Monkey - 115 Cronulla St, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday, April 17 – Lizottes - Lot 3 Avoca Drive, Kincumber, NSW
Friday, April 18 – The Basement - 29 Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW
Saturday, April 19 – Waves Towradgi Beach - 170 Pioneer Rd, Towradgi, NSW

Upcoming shows supporting Joe Jackson
May 20 - Convention Centre. Brisbane
May 22 - State Theatre, Sydney
May 23 - State Theatre, Sydney
May 24 - The Clarendon, Katoomba
May 25 - Royal Theatre, Canberra
May 27 - Palais Theatre, Melbourne

The new single “It's Only Love” is now out on Craving/Inertia.

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