Gabriella Cohen: “If the music makes you smile, that’s good”


One could describe Gabriella Cohen (Brisbane, Australia) in a few words like a mixture of Angel Olsen and Courtney Barnett. Sad but acid melodies at the same time transport us the 60s y convert her music in one of the most interesting products from the successful Australian scene. At the end of 2016 she launched her first album “Full Closure and No Details” that includes the two singles that made her known: “Sever The Walls” and “I Don’t Feel So Alive”. During her presence at Vida Festival we had the opportunity to talk with her and her inseparable friend Kate “Babyshakes” Dillon.

You’ve been in a band for some time, now on your own. Is this something that you wanted to do since you were a kid?

Gabriella: Something I wanted to do as a kid. From a very early age. It’s probably the only thing I was good at. I grew up playing saxophone, keyboard and guitar.

I’ve read in some other interviews that you like to listen music with your dad in the car.

G: Yeah Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan! The best. I listen to that always in the car. On and on. I hated it a first. It was boring.

I guess that your dad recommended you a lot of bands, but what would you recommend him now?

G: (Thinks for a while) My dad is like a recluse. Maybe I’ll tell him to listen to Paul Simon’s new record.  Can you believe that Paul Simon has put out a new record? He’s 70!

It took only ten days to record your first album…

G: Yeah and here by my side is the producer (pointing at Kate): producer, guitarist, keyboard extraordinaire, everything. She’s the brains.  

Why do you think she’s so important to you?

G: She’s the backbone. I fainted last night because Devendra Banhart was so good, I just collapsed. And Kate picked me up on the shoulders.

Kate: (Laughs) I carried her all the way out.

G:  She’s everything. I’d marry her but in Australia same sex marriage is not allowed.

Back to the previous question. Do you think it’s going to take more time to record your new album?

G: Well, we got an album that is nearly finished.

K: The next one is done.  So we know! (Laughs)

G: It has taken ages. We’ve done in like a boat in England, in the country in Australia, we’ve done it…

Both: In Italy! (both)

K: So we took a lot longer. But there’s more songs. So you know it’s ratio.

Therefore, what differences have you seen between the first recording and this one?

G: I think the 10 days was better because it was “pum pum pum”!

K: The first time round we were just trying to make a record and it turned out the way it did. And this time we wanted it to be a bigger record, like longer. So we thought it would just take a month but it’s taken longer.

G: Cause it´s just us.

K: Yeah, it’s just us again. But it’s cool because this time Gabriella has done a lot more production and for the last month she has to finish the record by herself. So I think… like with the first record no expectations, the second record… expectations! And then… it’s okay

G: Mostly from my dad.

K: You think it would take this much and then it takes a bit longer. It’s real, the second album thing is tricky.

Maybe it’s my feeling but these last few years a lot of amazing bands and artists have emerged. Do you think these “boom” of the Australian scene helps to get you known out in the world?

G: Yeah, Thank you Courtney Barnett. Thank you Tame Impala. Thank you Pond. Thank you King Gizzard (& The Lizard Wizard).

K: Because the industry gets healthier, because of these big artists. So that we get healthier helps.

G: And Parcels, they’re fucking amazing.

K: And also like Vida is amazing, because we weren’t able to come to Spain without them. This festival, the fact that they found Gabriella and said “we want you to play” is so important, and it’s really special that they selected US. Because we’re from Australia you know? We’re really lucky to be here.

You already toured around the world, probably in many different venues, crowds. Do you see a pattern, something different between the people?

G: Spain people are happy. I love it.

K: In America we noticed something.

G: The crowds are really responsive. Like yeaah! talking back to you and stuff.

K: In Australia though everyone knows you so it’s just “yeah”. They know where you live and they just watch.

I was always wondering, Australia is really a big country but it looks that most Australians know their bands and even have a relation with several artists. How is that?

G: All musicians are connected.  The community is spread across the country and the world in a sense.

K: And the country size is big but the population is small. And you have to contribute with other artists because the cities are so far apart. When you get to Sidney is like “Ok, help me!”. So you get to know everyone

Do you have any pre-show routines?

G: We just warm-up and relax. We do Thai-Chi sometimes.

K: That’s really important

Do you get nervous up the stage?

G: Yeah, always. It’s good to be nervous. When I’m not nervous I don’t want to play.

Test Madafackismo

A celebrity that you would like to go out for drinks?

G: John Lennon


A Sci-Fi character that you admire?

K: Trinity from the Matrix

G: Morpheus from the Matrix.

K: It’s like the only movie on the Laptop.

G: That and Grease.

K: Because when you’re recording an album on the road, you do it on the laptop and you run out of space and you have to delete movies as you’re recording. So we’re down to these two.

The best show of your life?

G: Bright Eyes

K: Parcels

Describe your music in a few words?

G: Compost-Pop. Because it’s recycled and health is much cooler than rock and roll these days. If the music makes you smile, that’s good.

K: Human rock. That’s cool (laughs)