Madison Violet are a Canadian singer-songwriting duo comprised of multi-instrumentalists, Lisa MacIsaac (who has answered this superb Q&A for us) and Brenley MacEachern.  Together for 12 years, the pair have racked up loads of air miles and numerous accolades, including being the only Canadians to ever win the International John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Their live performances are filled with gorgeous harmonies, intimate lyrics and good old road stories.  They’re coming back to Australia for after a 4 year hiatus from down under.  Come check ’em out!

What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?

I stepdanced on a television show called ‘Up Home Tonight’ when I was 8.  It was my very first paycheque and I recall wearing white pants, a white blouse, shiny black shoes with clickers on them, and a tartan sash.  Yes, I rocked the sash!  I was definitely inspired by my father, who would stepdance in the kitchen when I was little.  Most of my family is musical, so it was inevitable that I would be taught to play something.

You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What and where was the first gig you went to?

My first big arena concert was a Canadian rock band called The Tragically Hip.  It was 3 hrs away, in the big city of Halifax. (I grew up in a town of 330 people)  My Dad dropped my friends and I off at a hotel, and we were off to the races.  I had very trusting parents!  I think Brenley’s first concert was Springsteen.

‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?

Dolly Parton: 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs.  Why?  Because it’s Dolly.  She’s an incredible songwriter.  And witty as old heck.  I used to hear my mom singing Dolly when I was little, so it reminds me of simpler times.  Times when I didn’t have to do taxes.  And laundry.

What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?

Foster The People.  Ryan Adams.  Sweet Thing.

How do you find new music? 

Emusic is a great place to find new music.  It’ll suggest more obscure artists that have a similar vibe to the music you’re listening to at the time.  I’ve discovered many a band that way.

Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?

We have travelled with our mascot Schweetheart for 12 years.  He’s an adorable red monkey with an earring.  We also sing a little ditty before each show including the town name we are in that day.  No kneeling.  No prayers.  Except maybe a little prayer to the Sauvignon Blanc gods.

If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have? 

The festival would be in the Caribbean, on the gorgeous island of Grenada.  Well, not actually on the island, but on the water.  The only way to get to it would be by boat.  (We have already done a dinghy show in Grenada and it was a blast.  YouTube it!).  We would definitely be on the bill, but it would also include Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Charles Bradley and Simon and Garfunkel (a reunion show).  It would be as big as the sea could handle.  Come anchor your sailboat or dinghy.  No cruise ships allowed!  Food would be soulful Caribbean style.  Rotis.  Jerk fish.  Doubles.  Spicy deliciousness.  Drinks would be a plenty.  Cold Carib beer and tequila.

When you’re Rolling Stones Big, what are you going to request on your rider: don’t be shy. We want specifics! 

A massage therapist.  A hotel with a eucalyptus steam room.  Free range chicken.  Fresh gluten free bread.  Stoneleigh.  More Stoneleigh.  And puppies.

Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?

Right now, I think I’d like to collaborate with Sia.  She’s at the opposite end of the musical spectrum, so I think she would take us completely out of our comfort zone, and introduce us to a different style of writing.  Who am I kidding… I just want her to let us borrow her bubble machine that she uses on stage!

What is your band’s music the best soundtrack for?

Laying on a shag rug, quietly by the fire, with a nice glass of wine and headphones.  Or a 3-way.

Where we can see you play next, what releases do you have available and where can we get them?

We are all over NSW and VIC for the next month or so – from 22nd February in Cronulla.  Check out our website for a list of dates.  We have 4 albums out. Worry The JuryCaravanNo Fool For TryingThe Good In Goodbye. You should be able to get them at your local record shop or online, or come to a show and get it right from us.  Even better!