There aren’t a lot of musos who can say that one of their first gigs together as band is opening a sold-out festival to 17,000 people. However, Emma Fradd from Heaps Good Friends sure gets that boasting right. With a genre as sweet and unique as them, the “peanut brittle pop with txt msg lyric” band recently opened the first leg of Groovin the Moo in Adelaide.
“It was like I was going into battle and I had one of my best buddies with me and a new recruited buddy and they had really big weapons,” Emma said describing the scene. “I just knew we were going to win because I was already having fun before I got out there.”
The 27-year-old singer-songwriter and instrumentalist is one third of the band Heaps Good Friends and this was one of the biggest gigs she’d ever played.
“Just to see people sing a song I wrote is pretty wicked,” she said. “It’s like I don’t know those people you know? I didn’t email them and tell them to learn it before the gig … So to see strangers sing my song was really special. Plus, my mum and dad were there which was cute as … It just felt like a place I wanted to be more often.”
Emma was born in the small town of Port Pirie in South Australia where she lived with her parents and two brothers. She found her passion for music in high school where she quickly caught on to any instrument she picked up. With her older brother also in bands throughout school, it was natural for Emma to follow in that direction.
“I love being in bands. It’s just a lot of fun to get together with friends and get into that special musical bond that happens,” Emma said. “Like the best part of being in a band is when you run out of inspiration you can kind of lean on the other person. But then if you’ve got the inspiration then being a solo artist you can just run with it whatever way you want. So they’re both pretty special and I’ve enjoyed both settings.”
At the age of 18, Emma moved to Canada where she pursued charity work and a solo music career. Living there for six years, Emma built a “great community” around her and went on to record and tour two solo acoustic albums. Her music then took her to England when she met good friend Joanna Grennan and formed two-piece dynamic dream pop band, Interior Castle. Despite music not paying well, the duo decided to pursue the band as their full time income.
“I was like this is the band, this is it, this happening,” Emma said.
But after a year and a half of touring, Interior Castle went their separate ways and Emma returned to Australia in 2016 where she now resides in Brisbane. Ever since then, Emma and long-time muso friend Nick O’Conner have been killing the Triple J music scene with their stream of fun and dance inducing tunes on Triple J Unearthed.
“We were kind of like ‘oh I haven’t seen you in forever let’s write a song’ because that’s what we would always do,” Emma said.
It’s definitely not hard to see why the pair work so well together with Emma speaking so highly of her other band member. Meeting over a decade ago whilst recording demos, Nick and Emma just clicked.
“Back then [Nick] was definitely my biggest mentor,” she said. “I really just connected with him musically and I liked everything he had to say about music and he really just gave me a great opportunity to put my music on CD … We’ve always just been friends that are musical.”
But with Nick settled in Adelaide and Emma not planning to move back anytime soon, working together is challenging with travel costs chewing into their budget. However, Emma stays optimistic about the future.
“We’re just kind of taking it as it is,” Emma said. “But [the distance] can be good as well cause it’s kinda like ‘okay we’ve got two days to write a song so let’s do it’. We don’t have any other option, so it’s good to kind of keep us ahead as well.”
Describing their sound as “peanut brittle pop with txt msg lyrics”, their quirkiness is evident in their music.
“Everyone likes peanut brittle,” Emma laughs. “And then I really wanted something about our lyrics to be in our genre because our lyrics are pretty special. I also see how [songwriting] changes my mood and makes me instantly happy. A lot of my lyrics I take from conversations I’ve had with people you know? Things that they say or things that I’ll think about. I think it was Lachie Macara from Triple J who said sometimes our lyrics sound like they come straight from text messages so we were like okay peanut brittle pop with text message lyrics.”
The band’s latest single Let’s Hug Longer sky rocketed in popularity and quickly made the Triple J rotation, clocking over 20,000 Youtube hits. Emma said she would frequently take breaks at work to have a little listen to her music on the radio. With this success, the band has also recently expanded from a duo to a trio to accommodate live sets.
“[Dan’s] been such a beautiful new asset to our band,” Emma said. “He’s very, very positive and he’s an incredible drummer. He’s a young guy so he brings a bit of flair to our band.”
Like all musicians and music lovers, music plays an important part in Emma’s life and she said she will be eternally thankful for the experiences she’s had.
“We’re really grateful for the response and how helpful Triple J have been and I’m just keen to keep going I guess!”
Words by Bridget Kerry.
Images by Wade Whitington & Groovin the Moo.
Catch Heaps Good Friends at Scouted Super Mini Fest – Friday 28th July
For more info check out the event here.
Facebook & Instagram: @heapsgoodfriends
or Emma Fradd.