The story of Camilla and Craig Jackson’s self-titled debut as The Sirens of Venice is one of happy contradictions. The record’s lush pop vistas and sweeping atmospheres rose from the most unassuming of domestic settings.
“I really don’t think we had any kind of vision,” says Camilla. “It was more that I’d just be writing songs on the guitar around the house and Craig would go, ‘Oh, that sounds good’ and then we’d work on it. All of a sudden, we had this batch of songs and we started doing demos.”
“I think it was more the fact that we were so broke at the time,” adds Craig, better known as the frontman of Melbourne stalwarts Gersey. “We couldn’t really afford to go out, so we had to entertain ourselves, and playing around with Garage Band was one of our only forms of entertainment,” he laughs.
With Camilla writing the initial melodies and chord progressions on guitar, Craig set about filling her songs out via Garage Band, adding vocals, textures and instrumental arrangements. “Before we knew it we had about fifty tracks on each song and it started sounding really big and lush,” says Camilla.
With songs in hand, they turned to Jed Palmer and and former Underground Lovers frontman Vince Giarrusso to produce the record. “They just really took it and ran with it and we were very happy to give them open slather on the whole thing,” explains Craig. “We were all on the same page and all running in the same direction. So it was frightening, but at the same time really rewarding.”
The resulting suite of richly hued pop vignettes speaks for itself. “The more we thought about what the sirens of Venice actually were – these sirens that warned of a rising sea – the more it seemed to relate to the kind of haunting, dark, beautiful thing we were trying to go for,” says Craig, before Camilla interjects, laughingly.
“We soon realised that a name like Boogie Jungle just wasn’t going to work.”
The Sirens of Venice is out now through Speak n Spell/Inertia