Andrew Chats with CALMLY

Andrew Chats with CALMLY


CALMLY, formerly known as Childsaint, are a rock band from Perth, Australia. They feature Chloe McGrath and Jane Azzopardi on guitar and vocals, Rhian Todhunter on bass, and Ashlyn Koh on drums.They recently played their first northern hemisphere shows at SXSW, where they were one of the highlights of the famous “Aussie BBQ.” They caught up with Andrew to talk about influences, disco dancing, and  “country drone doom”:

Andrew: So these are your first shows in the northern hemisphere! How does it feel?

Jane: It doesn’t feel real. Like I know that we’re in America at the moment, but we’re just gonna go play and do our thing, so it doesn’t even register…we’re curious what the crowds here are like!

Andrew: It’s different everywhere in the country…I’m used to New York crowds and Minneapolis crowds–NYC is are rowdy, but not always the friendliest. Minneapolis crowds can be friendly, but they’re definitely afraid to get down and dance. Don’t know about Austin, though, since this is my first time here too.

Rhian: I’m hoping that this might be our opportunity to get a mosh pit going in the crowd, even though our style of music doesn’t necessarily suit a mosh pit…

Andrew: Maybe it could be a new style of moshing!

Jane: The “new trend” in moshing.

Chloe: I would like that claim to fame of a new style of mosh.

Ashlyn: I’ll be into that–CALMmoshing.

Andrew: Amazing. So what’s your origin story?

Jane: I think Chloe and I got really drunk together one night and I said, “we should start a band.”

Chloe: We wanted to start a band, and no one else was really keen, so it was just Jane and I playing together…wekind of forced Ashlyn to be in the band–she didn’t want to play with us at first!

Ashlyn: I hadn’t really played drums before…I think I’d played once.

Rhian: So they started playing as a trio, and one night I went up to them and said, “hey guys, can I play banjo in the band?” and they said “how about you play bass instead?”

Andrew: Did you have banjo experience?

Rhian: Nope.

Andrew: So you just threw it out there?

Rhian: Yep.

(all laugh)

Andrew: Have you ever tried it in the studio?

Rhian: No. We did one gig with it once, but it’s not something I think we’re going to go back to.

Andrew: Are there any artists growing up getting into music where you thought, “I have to do this?”

Chloe: There’s this Australian band called The Drones that were pretty big for me…now the things I spend the most time listening to and getting direction from is a combination or country music and drone or doom.

Jane: We’re kind of similar to that, I’d say.

Andrew: Country Drone Doom. I like it. It sounds like something you’d put on at a really cool college party and smoke weed to.

(all laugh)

Andrew: Are there any artists you listened to growing up who made you who you are?

Ashlyn: Yeah, there were heaps of bands. I listened to a lot of emo music growing up, so really anything sad.

Andrew: So My Chemical Romance?

Ashlyn: More like Neutral Milk Hotel. Kind of MCR when I was very young, but I wouldn’t say they were too big an influence.

Andrew: Have you gotten the chance to see Jeff Mangum live before?

Ashlyn: Yeah, I went to Atlanta a couple years ago and I saw him at a festival.

Andrew: It’s always amazing when you can finally see one of your heroes in person. Did you talk to them?

Ashlyn: No, which was fine with me.

Andrew: I get that. What about you, Jane?

Jane: As a teenager, Cat Power and Feist for sure.

Chloe: I’ve been inspired by a lot of disco as well.

Andrew: Any particular artists? I went through a disco phase when I was 11.

Chloe: It’ll come back around.

Andrew: It never left.

Chloe: My mom used to smash the Bee Gees when I was younger. Chic…

Andrew; Very important question–can you do the hustle?

Chloe: No,

Jane: I think it’s an american thing.

Chloe: We’ll find out in the next few weeks

Andrew: It’s the iconic disco dance!

Rhian: Want to each it to us later?

Andrew: I would love to do that. 2018: the year Calmly learns to hustle. (All laugh). So you guys recently went through a rebrand any particular reason?

Jane: Well. There’s an American band that’s called Child Saint–with a space–and they made it very clear to us that they would prefer us to change the name. Once we decided to come here, we decided to switch it and go with CALMLY. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.

Andrew: It’s happened to a lot of great bands. Like Suede went by The London Suede in the USA, The Beat went by The English Beat, etc. Where did CALMLY COME FROM?

Chloe: Basically we just locked ourself in Ashlyn’s apartment and decided we weren’t leaving until we came up with a new name.

Rhian: It wasn’t about finding something that we liked, but rather finding something that we didn’t hate. We had a list that we all hated.

Andrew: What were some of the names that ended up on the cutting room floor?

Rhian: Oooh I don’t know, I feel kind of embarrassed now..

Jane: What if we said one and you liked it more?

Andrew: I promise I won’t.

Ashlyn: It was between Hot Mirage and Half-Shade. I wasn’t really keen on either, and I just didn’t care anymore! CALMLY came up and we just said “yeah…” it started as Calmer, but there was another band with a similar name, and we were so scarred by the Childsaint incident that we changed it to CALMLY and that was that.

Andrew: I like the name CALMLY. It’s unique and evocative. Everyone likes being calm. It’s a state everyone can aspire to.

Chloe: The definition of “calmly” in the dictionary is “without agitation or emotion,” which is not at all our music.

(All laugh)

Andrew: So you’re gonna drop and LP soon, right? When can we expect that?

Rhian: Well it’s been in the works for  really long time, about three years. It took a while getting into the studio, it was a lot of time and money. We just finished a month ago, tracking the last couple of things and all.

Andrew: Do you have a name for the LP yet, or…?

(all laugh)

Ashlyn: We haven’t gotten that far.

Chloe: It’ll be good, whatever it is.

Andrew: If we’re used to what’s been out, what can we expect from the new material?

Jane: It’s definitely built on those songs, it’s a bit different, a bit more dynamic maybe, more poetic, but still heavy on the distortion pedal.

Andrew: Thanks so much for sitting down with me! Are you doing a US tour soon?

Jane: Hopefully!

Andrew: Well if they do, everyone make sure to catch it.


Keep an eye out for more info surrounding the release of CALMLY’s record!


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