“No way! It’s not a pornstar name!” snaps Nancy Vice, mock-horrified at the suggestion. “It’s just a silly stage name. Nancy’s my grandma’s name, and ‘vice’ is something that we’ve all got.”
With her cascading mop of curly red hair and kick-ass attitude, the Beau Monde frontwoman is all personality. Stamping up and down on stage, she channels the powerful female vocalists of Woodstock-era rock – Janice Joplin and Grace Slick.
“Of course, if this doesn’t turn out it’s always a fallback,” she laughs.
I suspect Nancy would be successful at whatever she put her mind to, and right now it’s fronting girl rockers Beau Monde. The four-piece have been playing together for a couple of years now, and watching them perform you get the feeling they are on the verge of something big.
Nancy belts out her vocals in a style that owes as much to Gwen Stefani and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O as her 60s icons. The stockings, ankle boots and purple-sequined knickers suggest that No Doubt is perhaps closer to where she’s coming from. She’s no stranger to the stage either, having performed vocals on TV Rock’s electro hit Bimbo Nation.
The songs have been honed by regular playing and touring. They tell me they have played over 100 gigs since forming. It’s easy to believe; they have a communication on stage that only comes from experience.
Guitarist Jane Arnison works at a recording studio, which means they also have an in-house engineer-producer. Drummer Tamara Piller explains: “We’re lucky because we’re starting to really develop our sound through Jane’s studio. We can work the songs out and record and do everything up to mastering stage.”
The songs are a group effort, says Jane. “We all bring our ideas together and see how they slide. It’s important that we all have input.”
And what about bass player Viv Charpentier? What’s it like being the only guy in a girl band? The girls jump in: “he loves it!”
“Surprisingly, it’s really easy,” smiles Viv. “Of course I was a bit apprehensive with all these girls and me, but no, it’s fine. We’re all just musicians.”
Tamara laughs. “We needed to get a boy to carry all our instruments around.”
Nancy adds, “He likes to wear sequins too, so it’s fine.”
Check out their MySpace page or Triple J’s Unearthed for a taste. Their latest mastered songs have been stripped back to a more poppy, accessible sound, but the best way to appreciate them is live.
“We’re playing Sosueme with Femme Fatales, then Uncharted is coming up, so we’ll be trying to get voters, and hopefully get on the Big Day Out stage. We’re playing the Wonderland festival on the gold coast later in the year.”
“Our immediate goal is summer festivals, touring on the east coast, and recording – getting an EP out in a couple of months.” After that? “World domination.” You’d better believe it.
Beau Monde (supporting Femme Fatales)
Sosueme @ Q Bar, 44 Oxford St, Darlinghurst