Canberra Times Interview Jan 4 2010

Well wishes for coins

By Ben Hermann

Not for the faint-hearted:
The Wishing Well played 70 days straight in Europe

Melbourne folk-rock troubadours the Wishing Well are not a group that do anything by half measures. Since their inception in 2007, they’ve traversed not only our own brown land but also parts of North America and Europe, playing almost 700 shows and burning through 32 band members in the process. This month sees them launch yet another tour, bringing them through Canberra twice in two weeks.

”It’s really tiring, and certainly not for everybody. All the musicians we’ve played with have been world class, and absolutely beautiful people, but to maintain our lifestyle takes a lot of stamina and vision”, says Rivkah Larkan, the group’s violinist – a law graduate who worked for the UN before committing herself completely to music.

”When we were recently in Europe, we’d get up around 9am, go find a busking pitch, play for three hours, have a nap, then go to sound check. We did that every day for 70 days. As is the case in Australia as well, the busking is more profitable than the shows. We made back all our money from flights, food, accommodation and venue hiring, plus saved enough to record our next album.

” Such feats would normally have even the most hardened on-the-road musician quivering with a nervous chill, but Larkan brushes it off like nothing more than a hard day at work, digressing to discuss tales from when the group were once paid for their threehour show in wilted beetroots, to playing with Van Morrison, and busking for 500 people in front of Milan’s famous cathedral.

”The amazing thing about music is that if you truly love it, it gives you so much energy” says Larkan. ”You can play a particular chord or lyric and you can physically see how it moves people. It’s a true and deep feeling, and completely and utterly addictive” she says.

”And as the Dalai Lama is quoted, ‘You should judge life by what you’ve given up’. Now, we’re not successful by any stretch of the imagination, but we gave up security, jobs, and I was in huge debt at the beginning of our last tour. But we’re doing what we love to do, and that’s play music. We can do it all day every day and we don’t have to do anything else. There’s not much more we could ask for.”

In the context of such a masochistic touring lifestyle, it’s not surprising the group has only released one album – Life on the Border – thus far. Recording for their follow-up, Fire on the Hill, was scheduled for late last year, but as Larkan points out, time has slipped so easily through their fingers.

”The recording we’ve done so far has been more challenging than our first album. It’s more epic, and there’s a lot more production, which has taken up lots of time” she says. ”But we don’t really have much time to just sit down and work on the music. Jai [the group's vocalist and lyricist] has difficulty finishing his lyrics with such constant disruption. So we’re at a point now where a majority of the music is finished but things still need tidying up.”

But before then, there’s more touring to be done, including trips to both the Phoenix and the Front. Larkan suggests that seated venues dedicated to live music are the group’s ideal, but that every setting is entertaining in its own right. ”RSLs are entertaining every once in a while. Once a guy threw a bottle at us,” Larkan says. ”But it was actually because he liked us. He was just really excited.”

The Wishing Well With: Vamp When: Monday, January 18 Where: The Phoenix, Civic (& The Front on February 1) Tickets: Free

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    Harminder Saini Hey guys
    I heard you for the first time playing in the Melbourne CBD on the weekend. I was completely mesmerised and I had shivers up and down my spine listening to your music.

    I didn't get the chance to purchase a cd....I would love to next time around. Are you playing here anytime soon?

    April 13 at 5:51

    Laura Stadler We bought your CD in Galway but forgot it in the car when we went home... so we will buy it once again :)
    was a great evening, thank you!
    June 23 at 1:05am

    Francesco Cotugno I make you my real compliments for your "Life on the Border" : It's really extraordinary ! Good luck and see you soon in Milan again.... !

    Bich Ngoc Oh how i love your 'Cease Fire' and 'Life on the Border' - thank you with much love in my heart
    July 17 at 5:13pm

    Christian Mahlow saw you in leipzig. I liked it very much!!!
    July 16 at 3:07am

    Hey guys. I had a few hours to kill waiting for the train Sunday @ Flinders Street Station when I was lucky enough to see you play.
    2 hours later after standing in the crowd watching you for that long (I had the Crowded House t-shirt on!), you'd made me a fan and I had to buy a copy of your CD.
    You guys were amazing... love your style & hope to see you play again sometime (I live 200 km away from Melbourne, so unlikely!)... thank you for the free gig.

    I saw you at Salamanca on Saturday and instantly loved your music.
    Keep it up!

    Hi guys... you guys were awsome saturday night in Burnie.. Hope to catch you again.. cheers max.. :)

    I saw you guys playing in Bourke street today and just had to but 'Life on the Border'. It's a great album, keep it up!
    Warren Maggs.


    Mandy Matthews wintermoon lives on in 'life on the border'..... beautiful, beautiful music!!
    May 16 at 6:09pm · Comment · Like · Report

    Leonie Lovell hope your wintermoon experience was as wonderful for u as it was for all that discovered your music hope to see u there next year
    May 15 at 6:20pm · Comment · Like · Report

    Rolf M. Remø Enjoyed your music a lot in Bremen, so I hope you will drop bye to Norway next year, I have allready told a lot of people about your nice music , and sent info to people i know that work whit music as in radio, recordings, gigs .......
    Whish you all the best and a nice tour, and thanks again for a nice experience!!
    July 7 at 7:15pm

    Berni Clark my first wintermoon and what a fantastic time. I was in absolute awe in the talent you all have and the energy you brought across to everyone you
    played to... I and my friends sooooooooooooooooooooo hope you come back next year then cruize on up to Airlie. Being a Melbourne girl , ive told my friends to go check you out.