It’s like walking through the city on a perfect day. There’s a slight breeze to keep you comfortable and there isn’t a thing to do more than waste the day in your own mind. That’s what Sydney-based blues-rock band Betty & Oswald (Claudia and Pete) sound like. They bring a new taste of gritty Mediterranean blues to a mixture of unalike voices that compliment each other perfectly. The smooth hypnotic sound of their new singles, Fragile Little Lover and King Of Bohemia, brings the cohesion of the band’s mixed genres to a new level of perfectly fused jazz-rock- with a slight popish undertone. The songs sound like a trance that could replay all day and you’d never find yourself getting tired of the up beat charming sound of the duo. The natural chemistry between the two is heard in the lyrics of their songs and felt whenever they perform. Their captivating presence bleeds into their music and makes their vibrant charisma so unique. With the bands upcoming performance they took a little time to explain more of the bands history and all you need to know about Betty & Oswald.
How would you describe your sound?
“Gritty Mediterranean blues; whiskey on the back of a motorcycle on a tiny island in Greece.”
The band’s sound is a mixture of different genres and decades, how did you first discover your sound?
“I think it was something that happened pretty naturally. We are inspired by a lot of music, both old and new. I think our sound just grew out of combining all these different styles that we love in an interesting way. We are most inspired by music that is authentic, and I guess that’s what we try to create.”
Where did the band first play and how was that experience?
“It was a pretty random experience actually. Pete (Oswald) was playing a festival and I’d come along for the ride and brought a shitty toy accordion with me. And on the drive up there I started teaching myself how to play it and by the time we got there we decided I’d jump up on a few songs. It was pretty spontaneous and crazy and the strangest part was that we were opening up for Ash Grunwald who’s a pretty big name in Australia. And there I was with my little accordion, basically making it up as I went along. I’ve definitely practiced a lot since then. Haha.”
How did the band begin?
“I guess that’s how the band began. A spontaneous idea. And that spontaneity is something we’ve tried to maintain in our music, shows and life. It keeps it all interesting.”
Who are your influences and how are they heard in your music?
“People like Tom Waits and Louis Prima, but also a lot of modern bands; Patrick Watson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Father John Misty. There’s a rawness and grittiness to Tom Waits and Patrick Watson, in completely differing ways, which I think inspires us a lot. It’s the sort of music that oozes the city. Lyrically they also capture something which is very truthful and raw. Father John Misty is someone who also writes very unapologetically and there’s a Canadian guy called Leif Vollebekk who is a genius when it comes to words. I think all these elements inspire us and drive us to capture the essence of things in our music in the most truthful way, not necessarily tied down by any particular genre or style.”
What have been some challenges you’ve faced with your music?
“I guess as we’re just starting out it’s easy to question the direction you’re heading in sonically. If your music doesn’t fit specifically in one genre and sounds a little different, sometimes it can be a little harder to get the support of people who can give you a leg up. But I think you just have to persevere and you will get there. Often it’s the most unique sound that will stay with you the longest.”
What is your favourite part of performing?
“When you get completely lost in the sound that you’re creating and you look out and everyone in the audience is getting into it, and it’s speaking to everyone in completely different ways.”
You’ve been touring, what is the performance you’re most proud of?
“Last year we played our first sold out show at the Brighton Up Bar Sydney which is a pretty rad little touring venue. It was one of our first real shows with the four-piece band and we were all pretty nervous but it all just kind of clicked, and the crowd was wild. I think people were topless by the end.”
What has been the biggest show you’ve played?
“We played at Woodford Festival in Queensland at the beginning of this year, and it’s one of our favourite festivals. I actually grew up going there so it was a bit of a dream to play. We played six times, in ridiculous heat whilst dripping with sweat, and each show was packed out and unique in it’s own way. It was an incredible experience and I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in front of so many damn people.”
How have you developed your sound since your first single to your last?
“We are really trying to finetune our sound and make sure that every note is deliberate and nothing is just thrown in to fill up space. As a result I think our sound is really maturing, slightly changing maybe, but still maintaining the same essence and grittiness.”
What does the future hold for the band?
“We’re pretty spontaneous and our plans are pretty loose. We don’t even really know what we’re doing from day to day. Haha. But we crave being on the road and we definitely want to keep writing and exploring our sound, so I’d say a new EP hopefully later this year.”
What can fans expect at Canadian Music Week?
“We will be playing duo sets, so a little stripped back, but also back to how the band started. A combination of old and new sounds, some late night ramblings and hopefully some outrageous stories. We can’t wait.”
Check out their killer video below and be warned it will be stuck in your head for days.