Interview with Australian singing duo Microwave Jenny

A lot of what goes up on My Local World has to do with events and experiences that may have originated outside of Australia’s fair shores. But it’s totally safe to say that we’ve got some pretty hot homegrown stuff too.  Case in point: Microwave Jenny.

Whilst writing up a lil’ piece about Sydney’s Courtyard Sessions for another site, I discovered this delightfully talented Australian husband/wife duo Tessa and Brendon Boney, also known as Microwave Jenny.  They describe their music as Pop/Folk/Love, and I know that kind of sounds like it could be anything, but I fell in love with them IN.STANT.LY.

Here’s why:

I think I heard this one first and it made me wish I could be a singer.

Tessa and Brendon are both not originally from Sydney (Tessa from Woy Woy and Brendon from Wagga Wagga), but music brought them to Sydney and music brought them together.  Through their musical collaboration (and love collaboration, I full on had to go there, sorry) they’ve won awards, played at festivals (The Woodford Folk Festival, Peats Ridge Festival, The Dreaming Festival, Festival of the Sun, and Bluesfest) and even worked on film soundtracks together.

I admire them for their enormous talents, their dedication to each other, their dedication to their lifestyle (they’re completely independent, self-managed, touring, musicians) and their contribution to Australian music.  I got a chance to ask them some questions and here’s how it went down:

1. How did Microwave Jenny start?

We were both just young little high schooler solo artists trying to do our own things and we met backstage at the big ol’ School Spectacular. We just started jamming together at rehearsals and ended up having too much fun together so we decided to make it into its own thing and it’s been great!

2. How would you describe your music/style?

Pop/lounge/soul/fun

3. Do you consider yourselves role models for other artists starting out?

Yeah why not? We’re pretty happy with the way we’ve looked after ourselves in the industry and how we handle our career. We’ve got a solid idea of what success means to us and we’ve been constantly reaching that bar and pushing for years now.

4. What’s a defining moment in your career?

Looking back so far we’d probably say the first time a festival invited us to play. It was The Woodford Folk Festival in QLD and quite seriously it was maybe the 2nd or 3rd gig we’d ever done as Microwave Jenny and it was the catalyst for every show that came after. I’d say it all started there.

5. What’s a defining moment in your relationship? When did you know you would do more than just work together?

We’re not too sure to be honest. We were just jamming together one day then we were married. Not sure what happened in between… So far it’s going well.

It’s really quite difficult to be making severely ‘poppy’ sounding music in an industry where there only seems to be 2 ways of reaching a large audience, triple j or reality tv.

Side note: I just love that response

6. What is a typical day like for you? 

Now it starts at about 6am when our little Molly Wattle wakes us up for food and playtime. After that there is no real typical routine to our days. There are things that everyday will include like lots of emails, lots of driving, some instrument time and food but I think the main reason anyone gets into music is to try and rid your life of typical days.

7. The best part of your job is…

The travel. Being able to just have something on hand with you that you can take anywhere and be able to connect with people.

8. What’s been the biggest challenge so far?

We think our biggest challenges are still something we’re dealing with all the time. It’s really quite difficult to be making severely ‘poppy’ sounding music in an industry where there only seems to be 2 ways of reaching a large audience, triple j or reality tv. Neither world we comfortably sit in so it forces us to work extra hard and creatively to try and reach fans.

9. What would you be doing if you weren’t singers/musicians?

Tessa: probably wedding planning
Brendon: high school teacher, teaching highly emotional teenagers. Then writing young adult novels about them.

10. Where do you see Microwave Jenny in 20 years?

Putting pressure on our children to be super rich.

11. How do you juggle your personal lives with your career, especially a career where you have to be creative? 

Juggling personal life hasn’t been as big an issue for us as it might be for some people. We’re lucky we both know exactly what each other’s work lives are like and we’re nearly always together for it. So as far as a tip goes I’d say to be generous and try to involve the people you love in what you’re doing. It might seem hard at times but in the end it’ll be worth it. In all honestly we haven’t truly figured out how to balance work/personal life/creativity. You just do each one as needed.

I think the main reason anyone gets into music is to try and rid your life of typical days

There’s an idea that once you have kids you miss out on stuff and your career might suffer, we’ve found the exact opposite. Having Molly has shown us what’s really important to us and gives us more drive to get out do what we love and set an example in that way.

Give yourself work to do. There’s this idea that musos, writers, artists, most creatives just want a life of waking up in the morning and doing nothing but their art. Personally that kind of routine almost always ends in writers block. I’ve found that all of my favourite art that I’ve created came into my head to distract me from a day job I really disliked.

Stay fit and healthy, this has been pretty important to us. We’re not ridiculously fit athletes but we’re active and try to get out and do all kinds of things. Plus we try to eat really well too. It all keeps the brain buzzing.

 

Microwave Jenny are playing at the Seymour Centre on Friday, 26th February as part of the annual Courtyard Sessions.  More details can be found at www.seymourcentre.com/events/event/courtyard-sessions-2016

 

FYI, the name MICROWAVE JENNY comes from a scene in the Aussie film The Castle.  

 

Featured image courtesy of Microwave Jenny promoters

Comments:

  1. What a voice!! :O Wow, such a talented duo! I love that they’re doing this by themselves too. Industries are tricky things to navigate, especially when you don’t fit into a box that they deem “marketable”. It doesn’t mean someone lacks talent, rather it means they just have to work a little harder or go down different avenues to be heard above the noise. I’m now going to go look for some of their music. That was magic! Thank you for sharing!

    xx

    • Yeh they’re great, aren’t they? I just love their attitude to music and their careers and how it drives their lifestyle. They’re no fools, they know that by not “selling out” they won’t get to superstardom status, but it’s their integrity and talent that really makes the amazing. There should be more Microwave Jenny types out there!

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