Geniie Boy is a local collaboration two years in the making, melding the talents of renowned multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott French (Cheap Fakes, French Butler Called Smith, Felicity Lawless, Thee Endless) and sassy indie-pop singer song writer Alisha Todd (who we most recently featured in the October issue of the magazine discussing her current single, ‘Rabbit Hole’.)
This particular collaboration has an extra element of pizazz due to the fact that Alisha and Scott are also partners in life as well as music. The first fruits of their melding of art and heart takes the form of a debut single entitled, ‘Fools Play’, which is released on 9 February and showcases their talent for harmony-laden, danceable indie-pop framed within Alisha’s warm and distinctly Antipodean vocal stylings. The track was produced by Scott at his Love Street Studios and serves as a precursor to their upcoming debut EP slated for later in the year.
We recently delved deeper to unleash the genie, chatting with Scott and Alisha about the project.
You both already have busy musical schedules outside of your Geniie Boy collaboration. Did you find it easy to make the time to make music together?
Scott: The idea of Geniie Boy was conceived during early COVID days, so our schedules luckily weren’t too hectic during the early creation period. Alisha foresaw that we’d need to be knuckling down to get all the songs imagined and recorded and she was quick to book in any days I had free in the studio. The more we recorded, the more exciting it became and making time for it wasn’t really something we needed to think about. It also helps that I own my own studio, so I can be in there whenever I want, or whenever I don’t have a session with another muso.
How exactly do you go about the process of writing music together – do each of you take designated roles when it comes to lyrics, song writing and the music itself? And do you approach things from a structured perspective (eg setting aside studio time to jam) or is it more of a fun/random inspiration type scenario?
Scott: We play to our strengths in the song writing process, which seems to be working so far. Alisha wrote the majority of the songs on the EP in a week in bare-bones format of electric guitar, vocal melody and lyrics. Then we’d go into the studio and spend the whole day on one song, where I’ll add all the other musical elements. That’s the fun part; nerding out together on synth sounds, guitarmonies and drum grooves, deciding on which electric bass should we use… Sometimes the songs become totally different, like ‘All Over The World’, which started in a 3/4 time signature (like a waltz) then morphed into a 12/8 Dorothy Masuka-esque African inspired groove.
We get by with a little help from our friends too! A good friend lent us a 12-string electric guitar and fretless P-Bass which were used a lot and another good friend, Tim Bennett from Adelaide, laid some epic bass down on one of the tracks.
Being that you come from different musical backgrounds have there been many challenges or barriers in regards to collaborating musically?
Alisha: One of the things that Scott is best at is being supportive and positive in the studio. We’re also really comfortable with each other so it feels like a safe space to throw ideas around, both good ones and horribly bad ones.
Admittedly I was surprised that Scott didn’t turn his nose up at the Indie Pop style because he’s such a fan of Tool and Rage Against The Machine and other heavier bands. For me it was really important that he shone through in the songs – he’s a humble guy, so we made sure there were some ridiculous drum moments and guitar solos.
You’re working towards putting out an EP this year. How’s it coming along, and is your first single, ‘Fool’s Play’, indicative of its vibe or do you have a few rabbits that you’ll be pulling out of your hats musically, so to speak!?
Our debut EP ‘If You Have Something To Say’ is coming out mid 2021! It’s almost finished, though we might be adding a song to make it a 6 track guy. The first single ‘Fool’s Play’ will set the scene, with the Indie Pop vibe coming through strong, but there is definitely some natural sway throughout the EP towards other genres without fully stepping off the Indie Pop train. We’ve been told by someone from our secret listening party that one song actually resembles a Tool song, with its wacky time signatures and groove changes, and we dip our toes in the Indie Rock pool momentarily for one song. I think with our love of all types of music, listeners will need to expect and welcome some metamorphosis throughout this project.
Any plans to take Geniie Boy on the road and play some live dates in 2021 (COVID allowing)?
We would love to take our live trio show on the road! It is all COVID depending, but please invite us to play at your place by all means!
Scott and Alisha will be officially unbottling their inner Geniie Boy on February 9 with the release of their debut single, ‘Fools Play’, followed by an EP later in 2021.