Interview: Tinpan Orange (Emily Lubitz)

Today we have Emily Lubitz from 3 piece folk group Tinpan Orange with us to answer a few questions. With the trio set to release their fifth studio album, an upcoming tour scheduled and their new single Rich Man recently released, it is certainly an exciting and busy time for Tinpan Orange.

Where did the name Tinpan Orange come from, do you have a particular love for the colour?

We just made it up one night, with a bunch of us throwing words out and seeing what stuck. We used to make up stories about how it has a deep significance, like our grandmother used to make orange marmalade in a tinpot when she lived in Africa or that it was a term made up by some song writers in Tin Pan Ally in New York in the 30’s that described the moment when you are writing a song and you can’t find a rhyme (because orange doesn’t rhyme with anything). But they were all lies.

How would you describe your sound?

Melodramatic folk. Undulating, billowing and simmering songs that we strum, pluck and bow our stringed instruments on to make music that sounds like folk from the future.

Tinpan Orange jump low res copy

Does your music reflect your personal lives?

Yes. For sure. Although I think my songs used to be more autobiographical. I started to become reliant on having a dramatic life. Now I’m married and I have two children so I can’t afford for my creative process to rely on actual real life drama. Now I get my inspiration from lots of different places; books, movies, other people’s stories, memories, and of course my own experiences (I’m not completely dull!).

What can you tell us about your fifth studio album, Love is a Dog?

Love is a Dog is 11 songs that we recorded in Melbourne, over more than a year. We recorded it mostly live and we tried to capture a raw honesty in our playing and singing. The songs range in themes but to describe a few, Lucky One is about the paralysis of privilege, Fools and Cowboys is about the precariousness of having too much to lose and Love is Dog and Light Across the Water is about the pain of loving someone too much.

How did you originally get together?

I play in the band with my big brother, Jesse, so we’ve been making music forever, or at least since we were teenagers. But the genesis of the this band was really when we met Alex Burkoy, our virtuosic string man, 10 years ago. We were at Woodford Folk Festival with a bunch of friends and we were all woken up in the middle of the night by Alex playing his violin. It was bitter sweet. Bitter to be woken up and sweet to hear such playing. We met him the next day because he was a friend of a friend, we had a play at our campsite and the rest is history..

Rich Man is a beautiful track, what is it all about?

It was inspired by a Tom Buchanan and Daisy dynamic from The Great Gatsby. A sad and unsatiated woman who is trapped in an empty marriage.

Who are your musical influences?

Gillain Welch and Dave Rawlings
Joni Mithcell
Carol King
Nancy Sinatra
Ryan Adams

What is life like when you are on tour?

It depends on whether we have our kids on the road with us or not. If my two kids are with and Jesse has his baby, it’s pretty crazy! It’s all about getting to the show with everyone intact, fed and rested. It usually works out fine in the end. When the kids stay home, we can be a bit looser. Stay out a bit later, catch upwith friends, look at shops between sound check and the show, maybe even read a book. We try to rehearse when we are travelling because our lives at home are very busy and we try to make use of the down time of touring.

Give us one quirky fact about each member of the band….

Alex – Can write jokes. funny ones too.
Jesse – Has been meaning to build a boat since he was 17. Hasn’t got around to it yet. He is also deadly at table tennis.
Me – I LOVE mowing the lawn.

If you could play on stage anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Carnegie Hall, NYC

Where can we see you perform?

Check out our website for our tour dates. We are going to most major cities in Australia bewteen April and June. tinpanorange.com

What’s next for Tinpan Orange?

We are going to release this album into the world, tour it, try to smell the roses along the way, and see what happens…

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