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:: Spotlight :: Bond - Classified for an assault of a different kind

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

They don’t play straight-ahead classical music. They are the best-selling string quartet of all time. They are sexy and free to display their unique brand of musical adventure. Their name is Bond. They arrived in a blaze of publicity a few years ago and have kicked on to great heights. Comprising two Australians, Haylie Ecker and Tania Davis, Eos Chater from Wales, and Gay-Yee Westerhoff from England, Bond has recently released the album “Classified”, which again shows their panache and verve while going more classically orientated. They are about to land in Australia for their first shows in this country. I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the Australian girls, Haylie, about their incredible career to date.

Q. How was your most recent US tour?

A.It was fantastic. All our US shows were sold-out and we were amazed at the response. It was nice to be able to relate to an audience as big as America and relate to people of English language, as Asia is usually our biggest market.

Q.Your such an international act now, having grown to superstar status in Asia and in Italy, I have seen you perform on cable television…

A.We love Italy. The first show that we ever did there was on a variety programme, in between the news and the football. Everyone in the studio started dancing in the studio. It was really cool. The producer of the show even has family in Australia and we talked about the Aussie connection.

Q.You’ve travelled to many territories and you’ve virtually been on a worldwide tour this year. What are your best memories since Bond started touring?

A.I only wish I had been writing a diary. The first time we met a famous musician was when we met Luciano Pavarotti. We played at his famous hometown concert that he does each year in Modena. It was a beautiful experience. We also did the Miss Universe show in 2002. They choreographed the whole of the pageant to our second album “Shine”. We’ve been very lucky and the four of us have a great time travelling around together.

Q.Tell us about the reaction towards this album so far?

A.Our live shows sound so different because we can’t take it on the road. With “Classified”, we’ve had a warmer reaction from the audiences because we’re not classical as such. We’re classically influenced. So a lot of the people in the audience aren’t the type to go to a classical concert. They just love to recognise a melody, which is why we called the album “Classified”. Iy’s more classically influenced than the previous two.

Q.You must have been thrilled to have had “Explosive” used as Channel 7’s Olympic Games theme this year…

A.Yes. It was really exciting when we found out, ahead of time of course, that the track was going to be used. I called my parents at 4.00am to tell them. We were in America at the time of the Olympics and that made us feel even more patriotic. It was great to see an Australian take gold and have music like that associated with their highlights. Tania and I were really proud.

Q.Your own track “Dream Star” is quite moody and subtle. Tell us a little about that…

A.I was listening to a lot of chillout music at the time and I thought that it would be really nice to have a chillout track because a lot of our music is high energy. When I go home to the south-west of Australia, at night you see millions of stars so I named the track in that vein, Dream Star.

Q.Such is the versatility in Bond’s sound, that it moves wickedly into an altogether different track, “Highly Strung”…

A.Yeah, my sister named that track. I took the demo home last Christmas and she said, “Oh my God, I feel so strung out. Listening to that.” So that’s how it was named.

Q.You’re in Australia very soon. Do you get a chance to come home much?

A.No, not much. It’s so far away. Obviously, because my family is there, it is a priority for me. I make it home twice a year, even if it’s just for a few days each time. Last year, Tania got married, so we were out there in December and she had a honeymoon. Bond took a month off, which is extravagant for us. We spent that time in Australia and that was amazing. Being there for a month meant I got into the groove again of living as an Australian.

Q.Do you have much spare time for other activities?

A.I’m an outdoor chick. When you’ve been on the road for so long, as well. I would never normally think of living in 5-star hotels, getting room service, and being treated like that, which is fantastic, but I’d rather be camping or swimming. That’s really important to me and, when I can, I’ll go outdoors and do that kind of thing to remind me who I am.

Q.How do you view your achievements? Have you answered the critics who said you were just four beautiful girls taking the mickey out of classical music?

A.It’s much easier to be critical of something than not to be. With critiques, it’s always one of those things where you think, “Why aren’t you getting up and doing it yourself?” I don’t really listen to what the critics say. They will always be around because some people don’t like what we do. That’s good anyway. It’s not real having everyone like what you do. It’s important to have both sides of it. We embrace it for what it is. It’s nice to be appreciated by a certain audience. One of the most satisfying things is playing a concert and making people smile. Music is there for that purpose. We’ve managed to get this far. What is special is that we’re four really good friends.

Q.What can we expect from your Australian shows?

A.The whole Bond sound is different to the album. Audiences will get more of a clue as to who we are. We do two thirds of the show electric, one third acoustic. It’s a big pop show, more than classical. Tania and I are really excited and we’ll give our best. It’s our first shows in Australia.

Check our national gig guide for Bond's tour dates.

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