If Olivia ‘Liv’ Hally and Pepita ‘Pep’ Emmerichs were exhausted after returning from their month-long 26 date tour across North America and Canada, you certainly wouldn’t know it. Jumping straight into radio interviews and performances, the charming Melbourne-based duo that call themselves Oh Pep! have returned to the place they seem to know best – behind a microphone with instruments in hand. It’s only been a few short months since the girls released their third EP Living, a mix of reworked visions and new releases of folk, rock, and bluegrass that have been adored by homegrown and overseas audiences alike. Having won over fans at the likes of Nashville’s Americana Festival, Kansas City’s Folk Alliance International, the National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Woodford Folk Festival, Oh Pep! will round out a huge year by taking to the stage at Port Fairy’s Folk Festival. But before they do, Liv and Pep took a few moments to have a chat with The Push about their latest travels, highlights and their own musical evolution.
You’ve just returned from your first North American tour. How did the tour go, and how are international audiences responding to your music?
The crowds were really inspiring. We were really grateful to play for incredibly attentive, enthusiastic audiences who had been following the Oh Pep! story via the inter webs. It was very exciting, but also really humbling.
Is there a particular moment from the tour that stands out in your memory?
One stand-out was at a show in Boston. I noticed a lady up the back singing along to a new song of ours. The whole song I was kind of playing to her, simultaneously thinking ‘Are you reading our minds?’. I didn’t realise it at the time, but our Tiny Desk show had been released a couple of days prior. Internet strikes again.
Playing our first show in New York to a packed out crowd at Rockwood Music Hall was a pretty amazing feeling. Celebrating finishing our album in Lake Echo by swimming the whole way across it was also an amazing feeling. There were a lot of amazing feelings.
Your third EP Living has been out for a few months now, what has the reaction been like so far?
It’s been super positive. Off the back of it we’ve been able to play some amazing things, like KEXP, Daytrotter and Tiny Desk. All of which we were listening to as fans a couple of months prior. We feel very grateful about how it’s been received so far.
What’s your favourite song from this EP, and why?
Tea, Milk and Honey. It’s a slow burner and our longest song to date, but it is always hits us the hardest when we play it live.
You’ve been making music for a few years now, having come together back in 2009. How do you feel about how far you’ve come in that time and the traction you’ve gained?
We just keep chipping away at it as that is all we can ever do. We feel very lucky that we get to call this our job and that we love it so much and are really proud of how far we’ve come.
Do you feel pressure to keep up the momentum you’ve gained?
As long as we’re working hard with the best intentions and having a good time, all’s well.
It’s not just your music that has evolved since you started half a decade ago, the scene around indie pop music has shifted too. In your experience, how has it changed and what has that meant for you and your music over the years?
True, these things are always evolving. Most recently, technology in general has affected our music more than any particular genre… learning how to make new sounds with new tools.
Who’s been your favourite artist to share the stage with so far?
Oh, man! That’s a hard question…
When you’re not playing shows or making new music, what are you doing and listening to?
Pep can be found riding her bike around town, eating olives or drawing. Liv’s always doing something new, most recently learning how to code. Both of us will always meet up for a swim in the sea!
What’s the most profound thing you’ve learned over the past few years?
To care less. About what other people are thinking, what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Pretty much, just do your own thing.
What’s in the works for the rest for 2015? Any tour plans or new releases?
We’ll be releasing our current EP in Australia over the next few months with the awesome people at Barely Dressed Records. There will be shows with that, so keep your ears to the ground!