Bond girls: It is really fun to play crossover styles
Our music seems to resonate in Bulgaria; the audiences are always so warm and welcomingIvanichka Kyuchukova
There are lots of people who now play crossover music. When we started it was a fairly new thing, but the fact that so many are doing it now is great. It engages lots of people and opens up classical music to a new audience. It is really fun to play and experiment with crossover styles. There is room for everyone!, say the attractive girls from Bond in an interview to europost.eu.
This is not your first time visiting Bulgaria. You seem to always include it in your tours. Why?
Tania: Yes, we love coming back to Bulgaria! The audiences are always so warm and welcoming and our music seems to really resonate in Bulgaria. Last time we came we were able to travel more around the country and see the beautiful coast so we would love to come back more and explore on holiday.
Let me take you back to the moment when the quartet was formed. Share a memory or an emotion associated with your personal experiences joining the band. How did it happen, were you invited or selected via a casting process?
Eos: In the very beginning of Bond, while we were students, Gay-Yee and I had met doing recording sessions for other bands. We got on really well and wanted to perform together so started Bond. Haylie and Tania had been friends in Australia and were flat-mates and we were introduced through a mutual friend. The process took a few years; we found a manager and did showcases for different record companies. Then Haylie left after eight years and we had seen Elspeth performing at the Beijing Olympics with Jimmy Page and David Beckham and said “She's our girl!”, we approached her to join and she fitted straight in.
Were you surprised by how quickly you became successful? How did you feel when you got the news of your first gold or platinum record?
Eos: Yes, we were so surprised when soon after our release we were told we had gone silver, then a few days later we had gone gold and then double gold in the UK. The record company sent us champagne and we were all dancing about backstage of a TV show somewhere. It is amazing to think we have now had 56 platinum and 15 gold discs worldwide - seems unreal! Mostly because we never got sent a lot of them - they are probably on a record company exec's wall somewhere! Ha-ha.
Until 2008, the members of Bond were split evenly between Australia and the UK. Now the UK has the majority. How do people coming from the opposite ends of the world manage to work well together?
Eos: I think the only difference between British and Australian cultures is that generally Australians tend to be more direct than British people. But that is really good in a band situation because everything gets said and is out in the open. Also Gay-Yee is from the north and I am from Wales, and those places are generally quite straight-talking, too. Els has been in Bond for 11 years now and we all know each other so well, it is like family.
You were the pioneers of a crossover trend in contemporary music. How was the idea of mixing pop and classical music in your unique style born?
Eos: We all had a classical training with the instruments we play. It is kind of the only way really. But at home we loved loads of different styles of music and Gay-Yee and I played with bands/singers of different styles and just wanted to play music that combined those influences. We still love that and there are infinite possibilities because we do not feel hamstrung by any one style.
Nowadays, there are many classical musicians who do crossover shows in their solo careers. Do you like someone in particular?
Elspeth: There are lots of people who now play crossover music. When we started it was a fairly new thing, but the fact that so many are doing it now is great. It engages lots of people and opens up classical music to a new audience. It is really fun to play and experiment with crossover styles. There is room for everyone!
What inspires you to write your own music? What do you listen to while driving?
Elspeth: We love writing music, and have so many people who influence us, I could not name them all! I love going to hear live music, and discover new music. The music of David Arnold, Michael Giacchino (who we have recently had the privilege of working with) is genius, they get the tone absolutely perfectly. In my car, I am listening to a mix of stuff: Ariana Grande, Mabel, Due Lipa, David Bowie and Oasis, and then Max Richter, Benjamin Britten's cello suites, Kronos Quartet, Voces8, Johann Johannsson, and an amazing Irish supergroup called The Gloaming!
You have created music for two very popular films. What kind of a challenge did that task present?
Gay-Yee: It was very easy because the directors chose the tracks from our albums, but being mainly instrumental, everything you write conjures up images that fit with the music. I have written for other projects and it is great writing to a brief where you have to create a specific feeling with the music. When I wrote Kismet, which was in Johnny English, I was very influenced by certain film composers.
You have been giving concerts for 20 years, even accepting the challenge of performing among the Giza Pyramids and on Wall Street. Tell us more about that.
Elspeth: One of the best parts of our job is getting to play in fabulous concert halls and arenas all over the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, Shea Stadium and the Sydney Opera House. We also get to play in different kinds of venues too, so we have played at the Giza Pyramids (in Egypt) and Wall Street in New York. We played to millions of people at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Times Square, drove onto the stage in Jaguars (once), on yachts and in amphitheatres! We approach it as if it is a normal concert, but playing in an unusual environment just adds to the creativity, brings it to a new audience and makes the performance really unique and fun!
The charming musicians of the Bond string quartet - Tania Davis (lead violin), Eos Counsell (second violin), Elspeth Hanson (viola) and Gay-Yee Westerhoff (cello) - whose concerts in Sofia and Plovdiv are less than a month away (on 26 March at Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture and on 27 March at the SI'LA complex, respectively), are celebrating in Bulgaria their 20th anniversary playing together. The girls' remarkable career boasts CDs that have gone platinum (56 times) and gold (15 times) in countries like the UK, the US, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Mexico, to name but a few. They have done countless world tours with sold-out arenas. Bond has made music for signature soundtracks to films like the British action-comedy Johnny English and XXX: State of the Union.