The Make Up Album

5 June 2012 | 11:45 am | Michael Smith

From bad things, if you’re lucky, come good things. Thankfully for Perth’s Blanche DuBois, it produced a third album that might never have been, as Michael Smith finds out from vocalist Adriana Begovich.

“Yeah, it's proof that life is what you make it.” Adriana Begovich – singer, guitarist and, with sister Nadija, one half of Perth's Blanche DuBois –  is talking about their third album, Young Heart, which comes four years after their second, All The Things We Never Say, and almost didn't happen at all. “Probably about fifty percent of the songs were written whilst I wasn't talking to my sister, by me,” she laughs self-consciously, “and then obviously I had like half-baked ideas and I realised, 'I'm crap without my sister.' So when we kissed and made up we sat and looked over those ideas and the songs that were half-baked she pretty much put the icing on the cake. Then there were a few we wrote together and co-wrote with a few other artists.”

When the sisters fell out, Adriana decided to take herself off to Melbourne, which ultimately proved just as emotionally difficult – a relationship fell apart – and surprisingly creative at the same time, in part because of the opportunity to co-write with two very different artists, Angie Hart and Mick Thomas.

“The third track on the album, Hell, and another track on there, The Wires, were the songs we co-wrote with Angie. We actually sat down –

 I was living between Perth and Melbourne at the time – and invited her over to this really old, cold house I was living in and we were freezing our butts off in the lounge room one day and we cranked out about six song ideas, but those two were the ones that came to fruition most when we took them to the studio. It was just funny, we were swapping tales of love and heartache and, you know, 'Oh yeah, really? Mine's better than yours,' [laughs] and kind of came up with the idea for Hell, where I guess somebody is saying a big 'screw you' to somebody who broke their heart, whereas The Wires is more about the concept of the universal notion of hurt and although two people can go through the same thing, the way they feel about that thing is different, but for some reason we all hurt the same.

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“[Mick Thomas] is one of our musical idols from way back and he's just such a great lyricist and musician. That was us really just experimenting and again we came up with quite a few songs but we chose Run For Miles as one to add onto the record, which is a little bit moodier and a little bit grittier than the rest of the record and it was really out of challenging ourselves to write someone like Mick, who's completely different to how we write, how we create. Because we hadn't done it for so long we wanted to test ourselves and co-writing was something we'd been considering for many years. Living over here in Perth, there are lots of great musicians here to write with but the ones we wanted to write with were pretty much over the other side of the country.”

They also decided to record in Sydney with producer Matt Fell, whose credits include records for Tim Freedman, Paul Greene and Josh Pyke among others.

“He was recommended to us by our publishing company Mushroom and then we'd meet with other people and he was recommended again, then Mick Thomas recommended him, it was just this name that kept on being thrown at us,” Begovich recalls. “So we rang him, went across to Sydney for about four days in December 2010 and had a really productive time tracking demos and committed to coming back through certain periods the next year.”