An earthy, contemporary style of music that fuses jazz, blues, folk, rock and world music. Leesa, Rob and Matt perform their own original material which reflect those influences, as well as playing their own interpretations of well-known hits and classics.
A multi-talented singer songwriter. Drawing on her background in jazz, soul, rock and classical music, Leesa has captivated audiences at festivals, on television and on many stages with her sultry soulful voice. Leesa's musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Sting and Julie London.
Rob's musical journey has included playing electric and acoustic guitar in small band, big band and solo settings across a range of genres both locally and overseas. With key influences from jazz, rock and blues, Rob cites some of his inspirations as Barney Kessel,Tommy Emanuel, Robben Ford, Bill Frisell, and Peter Green.
One of Melbourne's finest violinists. Matthews musical influences range from gypsy jazz through to classical, folk, rock and the music of Eastern Europe and the Indian sub-continent. His inspirations include Stephane Grappelli, Jean-Luc Ponty, Pat Metheney, Herbie Hancock, Bach and the great violinists of the western and Indian classical traditions.
Question: What should we expect from the upcoming Brunswick Festival?
Leesa Farrugia: We'll be playing at Bridie O'Reilly's pub in Brunswick during the Festival, on Sunday 6 March. We can't wait. We'll be running some of our EP set list and it'll be an opportunity for us to test some of the original material we'll be recording in April/May. We might also play a couple of classic rock hits from the past that we've reworked and re-imagined into our own style.
Question: How would you describe the new EP?
Leesa Farrugia: Yeah we're really excited to be going into the studio in April/May this year to work with Greg Arnold who'll produce our new EP. Greg's a great producer and musician. He had a lot of success with the great Aussie band, Things of Stone and Wood. The EP will showcase some of our new original songs and we'll also be exploring some new arrangements. Should be great.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Leesa Farrugia: Yes we do. That's one of the joys of working with Rob and Matt. We sometimes write as a group and sometimes we bring our own songs to the band then work them up into a final arrangement together.
I get my song writing inspiration from my own life experiences. I feel kind of lucky that I can capture different parts of my life and turn them into a song. For example -Planet Girl' is a song I wrote a few years back about my teenage daughter who at the time was experiencing the heartaches of growing up not knowing how she fitted in, etc. And another song, -Same Skies' is about the journey of a long distant relationship. Song writing can be a great documentation of your life and also great therapy!
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Leesa Farrugia: I listen to a pretty wide range of music - everything from rock to jazz and classical. From Julie London to Sam Smith to Sting. Ella Fitzgerald is a singer who takes me to places beyond myself and another other favourite is Rickie Lee Jones - she simply inspires me. But I always come back to Stevie Wonder - he is my guide and when I need a lift he gives it to me.
Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?
Leesa Farrugia: Well recording the EP is the next thing on the list. It'll be all original material and we can't wait to work with Greg who's a great producer. We'll start with some pre-production work in early April and then it's into the studio to record our new songs.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Leesa Farrugia: No, even though it hasn't always been easy. As a sensitive, creative type you do find yourself doubting and questioning all the time. But music is something that I just have to do to be true to myself. Having the opportunity to sing is amazing, especially with Rob and Matthew. I think LOVE JUNKYARD has something special and throwing in the towel just isn't an option.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Leesa Farrugia: I think we'd all agree that live performance is the most satisfying part of music. I just love to be communicating directly with a crowd in a live setting. Sharing your music and getting immediate feedback and participation from the crowd is a real joy.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Leesa Farrugia: As a kid I had the opportunity to watch my father perform at many gigs. He would take me to rehearsals in a garage and I would sit and listen and watch him in awe. Dad's band let me sing at a few gigs and my first was when I was about 11 and I sang -Hopelessly Devoted to You' (by Olivia Newton John). I was so nervous and excited all at once.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Leesa Farrugia: It definitely has to be dealing with all the times you are told NO. You have to learn not to take it personally and remember that the music you're producing is being sold as a product. It's sometimes hard to keep the commercial side of the music business separate from the emotions, because the music you're producing is YOU. It's a great lesson and it definitely makes you stronger. You just have to keep moving on to the next and the next – it's a numbers game.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Leesa Farrugia: Behind the scenes…. First of all I might tap into my social media adding events, pics, comments, etc. Then I might look up venues and upcoming events, emailing and contacting people regarding gigs. I'll look over our new original songs, do some writing and some practising. Some days I head to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with my guitarist Rob and we play and sing tunes for the patients and visitors in the hospital. I also teach some singing students in the afternoons, then eat, sleep, repeat …. Life is good!!
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Leesa Farrugia: It's definitely about the people you meet and have the opportunity to work with. I've met some amazing people in this industry who've become life-long friends. Every one of them with the same passion and love for their music.
Question: Do you have a website fans can visit?
Leesa Farrugia: Yes fans can go to our web site at leesaandrob.com. We'd love to hear from you! We're currently in the process of updating the site with new information, photos, audio files and videos. When our new EP is released, there'll be more information, updates and links on the site to our new music.
Question: What is the story behind the band's name?
Leesa Farrugia: The band's name actually came from a great song written and recorded by one of our favourite artists – Rickie Lee Jones. One night we were heading out to a gig in the car and Rickie Lee's song -Love Junkyard' came on the radio. The songs we write are often based on life's experiences, the good the bad and the ugly. They're just like a junkyard of broken dreams and promises, tears, heartache and, thankfully, some joy. So when we heard the song 'Love Junkyard' we just knew it was the name we'd been looking for.
Interview by Brooke Hunter