An Interview With Hemispheres (US + AUS)

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing guitarist and all-round musician Kate Plummer (AUS), who alongside cellist Maren Haynes Marchesini (US) forms the duo, Hemispheres. This cross-continent duo are releasing their debut album The Corners of Mountains this Friday 16th November and believe me – It. Is. Stunning (I was lucky enough to enjoy a sneak peak listen). Do yourself a favour this week – get a copy of this album and soak in the sounds of the Montana wilderness.

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Tomorrow you are releasing the debut Hemisphere’s instrumental album, The Corners of Mountains. How was this project born and what’s the story behind it?

Yes, we’re excited for the release! I’m originally from Sydney, Australia, but moved to Helena, Montana, 5 years ago. Hopefully, my writing on this album shows the way the sparsely populated, mountainous Montana landscape has slowly become a part of my story, seeping into my bones and reshaping the rhythms of my life.

I invited Maren to play on the song Mountains Over Flathead and in the first few seconds realised there was a special connection worth exploring past only one song. Maren bought a gorgeous, rich sound and thoughtful ear for melody that complimented the guitar’s artistic textures. Thus Hemispheres was born.

The songs themselves are summed up in the album title, The Corners of Mountains, which captures the emotion of places we never saw coming. The music communicates a rarified reference for life, illuminating into our souls.

Hemisphers-COVER

As a duo you bring different musical backgrounds to the project that also span great distances around the world – how did you collaborate and work together as a team to create it?

We met 18 months ago after Maren moved to Helena. Maren grew up in Bozeman, Montana, but went to music school in Spokane and Seattle before moving to Berkeley, California. Along the way, she played in various indie rock projects, and studied with musicians from all over the world.

My experiences draw from my musical life in Sydney where I played in a number of projects as a guitarist and singer, as well as recording 3 albums of my own where I had the superb fortune to work with esteemed producer, Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil), all of which was influenced by a good deal of travel and cultural encounters around the world. We both enjoy working in eclectic circles and a variety of styles, so as we work together we don’t draw inspiration from any single influence, but rather bring our whole lives and histories to the collaboration.

Kate & Maren (85 of 96)_WEB

What’s the sound landscape of this work and were there specific roles for each instrument that you planned or discovered along the way?

From the moment we started playing, we found space for each instrument whereby neither one was dominating the other. While we never intentionally drew out a plan for the way we played, I believe we shared unspoken understanding to contribute to each song what it needed, or we felt was melodically or texturally supportive. We gave each other open license to chase creative ideas as far as they would take us. The songs always emanated a “Big Sky” sound, much like the spacious vastness of Montana geography. This topographical reference point inspired our sound.

We recorded with Chris Cunningham (Storyhill) at Basecamp studios in Bozeman. I first met Chris playing guitar with him across a lakeside campfire in Northern Minnesota at music festival called Storyhill Fest. That was well over a decade ago. We’ve musically crossed paths a few times since, so it was great to reconnect and work on this project.

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Tomorrow will be the debut performance of the tracks from this album and it’s looking like a really special event (including an online live stream!) – what can you tell us about it?

We’re delighted to be performing in a unique artspace and studio, Free Ceramics, owned by local potter Emily Free Wilson. Interestingly, ceramics are the most celebrated artform here in mountain town of Helena. We are an intriguing community that way. Often, an artist will work while an event is going on which makes it a rich connection of artistic expression.

We were blessed to have both David Casey (bouzouki) and Josh Loveland (percussion) join us while recording the album and they will be joining us live to create the live experience. We also invited sisters Annie Tommerup and Erin Wolfe to open the night with their gorgeous folk harmonies.

For those who live in Helena, Montana, grab your tickets for their album release HERE.

HemispheresRelease_SocialSQ
What’s on the horizon for you as a duo?

We’re looking forward to playing and sharing these tunes in the midst of this expressive and generative landscape. I think we’re both excited to find out where this collaboration next leads us.

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Album Artwork – Brian Manley
Album Cover Photography – Lenny Eckhardt

Photography – Jason O’Neil

 

For those who live in Helena, Montana, grab your tickets for their album release HERE.

The Corners of Mountains will be available online – head to the Hemispheres website for more details.

Follow Hemispheres online:
Website: hemispheres.online
Instagram: @hemispheres.online
Facebook: Hemispheres.online

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