Vitamins galore 

Oz band Fruit plays GLC on Aug. 2

Who: Fruit

Where: GLC

When: Aug. 2

"Passionate, honest and intelligent pop music. Radio are you listening?" asks the Canberra Times newspaper of Australia.

They must be, because this vine’s ripening for the Australian band known simply as Fruit.

"Emotive, instinctive, that’s where all of our songwriting springs from," says singer/guitarist Susie Keynes.

"We’re definitely a combo of styles with our music which is too much trouble to pigeon hole, and that’s fine by us, but if I had to describe it I’d call it acoustic pop rock, with big harmonies."

"Melodic pop-acoustic folk-electric rock," is how the five-member band bills themselves.

The band lineup is Sam Lohs (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion), Mel Watson (vocals, horn, guitar), Catherine Oates (bass guitar), and Yanya Boston (on drums).

Based in Adelaide, the quintet has been together for SEVEN years, and been touring for most of that time. They make their Whistler debut at the Garibaldi Lift Company on Aug. 2. They hit the Vancouver Pride Festival on Aug. 4, and then head to the Tanana Valley Fair two days later in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"It’s what we’re used to, having been to North America seven times before," says Keynes.

Touring is essential to create some international awareness when you’re home is Down Under. The band has released five albums and tours supporting those albums have taken them to Europe as well as North and South America.

"The band is like a family, and it’s our life. And we’re doing it all independently," says Keynes. "It’s not like we get $500,000 from a company who says OK, have a comfortable life until your next tour."

Their most recent album, Live at the Basement , was released in the US in June. One reviewer called the album "part pop, part alternative and part Broadway." Previous albums include Here for Days (2001), a "limited US release" and followed another live album, Shift (1998). Skin (1997) and the self-titled Fruit (1996) gave the band their start.

They’ll play 100 shows in just under four months on their current tour, but the band members are now starting to confront the "what next?" question.

"The challenge is that we’ve been going as a group intensely since we were in our early 20s into our 30s, and now people want to do additional things with their lives, like have a baby, or focus more on relationships back home," says Keynes.

Band members are also venturing out on solo projects. Kiss for Her Fears featured Keynes, while Vox Humana (2001) featured Watson. Lohs’ solos were featured on an album called Six Degrees (2000).

Song writing for Fruit is shared among Keynes, Lohs and Watson, who also split backing and lead vocals.

"Our songs tend to evolve," says Keynes, who points to Nothing But Blood, a song she wrote several years ago which was revamped under a live format for the new album.

"We take care to respect each other’s song writing equally. It keeps the dynamic onstage as well, changing, which keeps it interesting."

Fruit first played in B.C. at the 1997 Vancouver Folk Festival, when the band was just getting started. They’ve been following the festival scene in North America ever since, while still playing bars and clubs.

"It’s not that Australian audiences aren’t excitable, but in the U.S. there are lots of options for festivals, and from there you can (easily) build a tour," says Keynes.

Audience participation is another aspect to music that band members love, and aim for all the time.

"We want to connect with the audience, playing songs where we get them to sing back to us. We’re colour, vibrancy, and selection – we’re Fruit."

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