I had the pleasure of attending Coastella Festival in February and sitting down to chat with some amazing musicians. French for Rabbits released a beautiful, haunting album in March, The Weight of Melted Snow, and are celebrating that in Auckland at REC this Friday 7th April. I spoke with Brooke Singer about the difficulties of this album and where best to listen to it! 

“The album isn’t a one instance gratification kind of thing. Listen to it late at night, alone, in your bedroom with headphones on really loud, lying in bed, and in the dark. That’s the only way. It’s the best way” 

French for Rabbits has been the project of Brooke and John Fitzgerald since 2011, yet in the space of the last two years, their personal relationship ended and they continued with their musical. New album The Weight of Melted Snow was written on either side of this relationship change, and brings with it all the emotions that come with such a change. Brooke feels that most of her emotions are channeled into song, “Actually I am a very emotionally stable human being, but i think the songs are where my unstable bits go. Some of the songs were really hard to write, and when i looked back at the lyrics, having written them out for the album design, I realised how dark the album is.” 

Despite the album being very emotionally charged Brooke is very rational in her thinking of writing, “A song just comes out how it comes out. There’s no trying to make it something other than it is. We wrote the first half of the album and we recorded it and that was prior to John and I splitting up, and then realised that we needed to turn it into an album. I’d written all these other songs that felt like they were part of the album so the album spans both sides of the relationship.” 

“There’s also a song that Ben [Wood – bassist extraordinaire] wrote, and two that are political songs, about human nature and the world. There’s one called ‘Feather’s and Dreams’ that i wrote when there was all the stuff on the Gaza Strip.” Brooke doesn’t see French for Rabbits as a political artist, but, “A portion of my life is spent engaging with the media,” so occasionally these do come out in her writing. 

​”I write kind of stream of consciousness, so i don’t often know what I’m writing about until afterwards. Things do change, and some songs do evolve more than others. Oftentimes there’s so many layers it’s hard for me to explain that a song is about this particular thing.” 

Brooke brings the idea and lyrics and then the band develops them together. “Especially this album, the rest of the band was a lot more involved.” French for Rabbits now includes Penelope Esplin on vocals when they tour, and this has opened up doors for Brooke as she records many layers of harmonies which they can now replicate live. Ben and Brooke spend a lot of time together as he helps with the production, and does harmonies also. “Ben plays drums with Trinity Roots, and he did play drums on our first album but then we were like we want you to sing and we want Hikurangi [Schaverien-Kaa] to play drums, so we kicked him off drums.” 

“I think it’s more shoegaze-y this album,” Brooke comments, before backtracking about how she’s not sure of where the sound landed in the end. “It’s really atmospheric. There’s some darker songs, and I don’t think it’s as accessible as the last album. One and Only is probably the most intimate song we’ve ever written. There’s going to be a few that will be hard to play…but they’ll be good!” 
French for Rabbits are playing at REC (38 Customs Street East) on Friday 7th April (this Friday). Follow this to find all the details and grab some tickets!

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