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Empty your head of thoughts … all the thoughts, kick off your shoes, loosen your shirt, pour a neat whisky, slump helplessly into a recliner, press play and surrender to the sounds of Roadhouses’ self-titled debut album. Soak it all in, you’re going nowhere in a hurry but guaranteed to hitch a trip. Roadhouses are Yvonne Moxham, Cec Condon (formerly of The Mess Hall) and James Bellesini, a Sydney based trio who play a style of music which has been aptly described as both sedated rock and codeine-country.

The Roadhouses album has been released today via Broken Stone Records ahead of launch shows in Sydney and Melbourne. A second single, Black Lights has also been released and is accompanied by a striking video that was directed by local filmmaker Jeff Andersen Jnr. Singer, songwriter Yvonne Moxham recently took some time to ponder over a few questions about the album for us.

The press release says that the album is a snapshot of your time spent in LA and Sydney. Could you expand upon places and characters involved in these stories?
At the time of writing these songs I was spending a lot of time on my own. I find it difficult to express my feelings to people, so writing the songs enabled me to release a valve, to let some things out. They are letters to romantic entanglements who were on the way in, out or somewhere in the middle.

Most of them were written in the inner-west of Sydney. When I hear the songs, I picture the details and vibe of the share houses and bedrooms I was living in at the time. Two of them were written in LA, Drinkin’ & Apartment. Drinkin’ references the Echo Park room I was in when I wrote it, and Apartment is literally about hanging out in an old apartment of mine in the inner-west. When I sing the songs I still visualize the rooms they were created in, so I guess a sense of place runs through all of them.

Over what period of time were these songs written and did you have many more than the 8 which ended up on album?
These songs were written over a couple of years. I am generally a slow mover. Each song took a couple of months, but my creative productivity came in between long periods of just living. There are others that didn’t make it onto the record. We recorded the album in 3 days, so timing dictated how much we could include.

The album has a late night/early morning vibe about it. Were the songs generally written in a specific room or during a particular part of the day?
Mostly they were written at night, mostly in my bedrooms.

What do you hope that listeners take away from hearing this album?
Like they found themselves staying in a sketchy hotel room for the night and found a cd left in the player, a diary in a drawer, a coat in a cupboard, or stumbled across a static-edged black and white movie on a tube television set that’s bolted to the table.

Tell us about the guitars, effects and amps used on this album
I played a 1960s Harmony Bobkat which belonged to St Vincent (she had left it in the studio a few months prior). I fell in love with that guitar, so when I got back to Australia I searched for one and only play on it now. Amp was a 60s Ampeg Gemini. We used a few different synths, mostly an ARP Solina.

Were you referencing any other artists or album in regard to production?
Are there benchmark albums for you in regard to sound? References for the album was Wanda Jackson on half speed singing with the Dirty Three. Also Bill Callaghan, Yo La Tengo, Gene Clark and Serge Gaibsbourg. Benchmark album sound – Wit’s End by Cass McCombs.

What are your 3 favourite slow burning songs from another artist?
It’s hard to choose just three….
Jubliee Street – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Blue Factory Flame – Songs: Ohia
Down By The River – Low & The Dirty Three

If money was no issue, what would a Roadhouses show look like?
I like intimate settings with great visual appeal. So, perhaps playing a wealthy eccentric octogenarian’s birthday at the Madonna Inn.

Would you be open to someone remixing or reinterpreting these songs and if so, which artist would you like to see tackle them?
Of course! Angelo Badalamenti or Dolly Parton.

What’s the perfect meal and drink accompaniment to this album?
A skinful of whisky.

What are the plans for Roadhouses after this Australian launch tour?
Working on a new record.

Do you see Roadhouses as a permanent, ongoing project? Are there other projects you are also currently involved with?
So much has changed in the time since I wrote the songs and we embarked on the band. Roadhouses is ongoing, but its evolving, the next record will be a different sound.

Friday June 1 – The Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills
Saturday June 16 – The Labour In Vain, Fitzroy

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