Tex: You have a lot of different people playing on this record. is that a result of different times and circumstances or a deliberate decision that certain tracks needed certain people?
Penny: Well, I had the luxury of being able to choose from a large pool of musicians mainly because I have been playing with different bands backing me when I have toured in Australia and overseas. I was taking advantage of this situation I suppose, and choosing who I thought was the most appropriate player for how I wanted the song to sound. So yeah, it was a deliberate decision that certain tracks needed certain people.
Tex: Tell us about your producer Craig Harnath
Penny: Craig Harnath is engineer/producer at Hothouse studio in Melbourne. Hothouse is equipped with a Neve console that was used to record such classic albums as AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds”. I find that sound engineers can fall into two categories – those who are purely technicians and those who are musical as well. Craig falls into the latter category. He is also an accomplished musician and composer. He played bass on a couple of tracks on my “Penelope” album, glockenspiel on “Memories Remain” and programmed some beats on ‘City of Sin” as well. He also engineered my ‘Electra” album and produced it with me.Craig is extremely proficient and fast as an engineer. As a producer, similar to Tony Cohen, he does not interfere with the music too much. He helps to bring the music out of you rather than impose his ideas onto you. He is not short of ideas if you need them though. I love working with him because he is really good at what he does. He is a really smart guy and I like working with smart people.
Tex: Yeah I love the production on both records.. really smart interesting great sounding rock n roll records did you and Craig want todo anything differently with “Penelope”?
Penny: Do you mean differently to what we released? I can’t really speak on behalf of Craig but as for me yes, I would want to do some things differently in retrospect. But I didn’t know then what I know now and I couldn’t know what I know now if I didn’t do what I did then. Hope that makes sense. I’m always learning new things with music and I do most of my learning in public. To me music is something that is always evolving. It is not static. So you just have to roll with it…and accept that some things you would have done in a different way if you had the chance to do them again. Or did you mean something else with this question??…
Tex: I meant after you`d done “Electra” and it was time to think about making another record did you think `well i`ve done this kinda thing now i`d like to do this kinda thing` or did you just start making another record and what ever will be will be
Penny: OK. I definitely wanted to make an album that was different to “Electra”. Not because I didn’t like “Electra” but because I can’t see the purpose in doing the same thing twice. I like a challenge! With “Electra” I was trying to make the music “breathe’ – I wanted to create space in the music for sonic sound scapes and solos. To create a space for the sounds that often get left out of recorded music as I know it. I also wanted to slow the music down. Maybe that was a reaction to the fast and busy modern world of today. I think I was trying to get an ancient feeling in the music as well with that idea. I was also interested in mixing up raw and harsh sounds with beautiful and gentle sounds. Opposites in sound. So these were some of the concepts I was working with.With “Penelope” I was working with ideas about what I like in pop music and trying to mix it up with garage rock and “grooves”. With my idea of pop music came shorter more concise songs and faster tempos. The lyrics are a lot lighter in feel and don’t have the gravity of the lyrics in “Electra”.I don’t want to get stuck in a box with what I am doing with my music. I see myself very much as a solo artist and I will follow where the music leads me. I want to be free! If I was in a band maybe I would stick more to one particular sound.
Tex: Anyway Pen love the album and lookin forward to the next one …
Penny: Thanks mate.