Interview & Photo by Morgan Sette
With their upcoming show coming up this Thursday for Umbrella Fest, Morgan had a chat to Louis from Donnarumma and Toby from The Skeleton Club about Elder Hall Sessions - Umbrella: Winter City Sounds.
Tell me about the bands, Louis, you’ve had a bit of a change with Donnarumma lately?
Louis: Yeah, I’ve been doing the folk thing for so long, so dropping the first name and having a new image has come about since over time the music has changed and it follows along with the new projects this year. New ideas, new projects, new sound.
Now we’ve got Anthony on double bass and Max on drums. Max is so energetic on stage and kinda jumpy, so there’s lots of energy, it really helps the whole band.
Are they altering the way you sound?
Louis: Yes but it’s great, it’s not a solo thing anymore, we’re a band. We’ve just recorded and they’ve had some great ideas so it all really helps.
Toby: I do guitar with The Skeleton Club but with this gig we’re actually playing a few songs together with Donnarumma. We’ve never played together on the same songs, only gigs for a couple of years now.
Louis: Our different projects had aligned a few times. This time, Toby had this idea for the sessions.
Toby: I’ve been playing in a band called the Skeleton Club for a while now and we went along to an information session at the awesome Music SA telling us about Umbrella Festival. They wanted us to come up with some good ideas for the festival, something a bit out of the ordinary.
The whole idea is getting people out in Adelaide around winter. I messaged to Tom in the band about an unusual spot to play a gig, so we emailed the Elder Hall, turns out they loved the idea and wanted to get on board.
Then I messaged Louis and it’s kinda snowballed, we’ve got an image now with posters, some more people getting on board such as local winery Caudo Vineyard, catering done by Dining Miss Daisy. Some artists are exhibiting as well, it’s getting bigger and bigger and growing by itself.
Yeah I've seen some super interesting shows out there. Metal band in the Z Ward, Music in The Zoo, do you think Umbrella festival is drawing that together and pulling the crowd out or would these work as stand-alones?
Louis: I think Umbrella is helping drawing people out at this time of the year. A place like Elder Hall stands out because there isn’t that many venues along North Terrace, and nothing that contemporary is played - it’s all classical and jazz. I think this allows us to prove that as contemporary artists we can actually play here and put on an event, you know, dress up, have a night out.
Toby: There’s a lot of people who haven’t even been to Elder Hall. Umbrella definitely allows you to get your creative juices out there. It’s an opportunity to do something unusual. We were told to use this as an opportunity to put something that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, even if you think it might be too much.
It’s just getting people to shows. It’s proof that Adelaide can come out, in Winter, not just at one time of the year. Hopefully people get on board and go support their local shows. I think they will.
Are people expected to dress up?
Louis: The idea is to put your best suit or dress on. You’ll be walking in and getting a bit of food, a bit of wine, some sangria. In the foyer itself we have all our artists on show through SALA as well.
Toby For people who have never been, it’s just an awesome old room. Big stone walls, a gigantic ceiling, you can hear a pin drop. Acoustically it’s one of the best spots in Adelaide. There’s massive old church organ and old wood … it’s such an inspiring room. We’re not doing anything to it, just setting up on stage. We’re doing a few songs with close to no mics or amplification - just singing out to the crowd which will be really cool.
The room definitely complements our music.
Which Umbrella Festival shows would you be keen to go to?
Louis: I’m going to the Zoo for sure. There’s over 230 different events that have been curated, Music SA have been working their asses off.
Toby: I want to look more into the doom metal gig in the Z Ward.
It’s been so much fun organising this, wacky and weird definitely works.
We’re doing one night only. The pressures on. Hopefully Umbrella happens again as it’s something we’d love to kick up again.
Elder Hall Sessions will take place on Thursday 21st July.