Love, Life, and Living on the Road Allows Falls to Find Fulfilment
Falls’ story seems like the stuff of soap operas. The Australian duo — Simon Rudston-Brown and Melinda Kirwin — met while the two were attending the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. They immediately clicked, both personally and professionally, prior to establishing a musical residency at a little hotel in Sydney and then heading to the US to play SXSW. Just a few months after that, they signed a record deal with Verve Records and moved to LA to continue cultivating their career. All would seem to have been going smoothly had it not been for a turbulent love life that found them breaking up, making up, breaking up again, and then somehow finding the will to reconnect for the sake of their music.
After making their debut with their Hollywood EP, Falls has recently returned with their first full-length effort, Omaha, which was recorded in the city of the same name by local wunderkind Mike Mogis — the man behind the boards for recordings by Jenny Lewis, First Aid Kit, M. Ward, and Bright Eyes.
In the interim, the duo have toured with the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, and have become staples on the festival circuit. If their success seems to have come quickly, Omaha offers ample reason why. Although the songs bask in honesty and emotion, they’re propelled by an energy and conviction that allows them to catch on immediately. They cite the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ryan Adams, Beck, and Neil Young as primary influences, but the outfit that swiftly comes to mind is Fleetwood Mac, given their propensity for sharing their romantic ups and downs in a way that’s instantly appealing.
“We’ve spent the past 18 months traveling the length and breadth of the United States playing shows, writing songs, and just pretty much falling in love with this country,” Rudston-Brown explains. “When it came time to decide which songs should make the album, it started to become clear how much the songs we had written had been influenced by our time on the road in America … by the landscapes and its people. However, the songs are also deeply personal — they’re very raw, very real, and very honest — and I think we’ve written a lot about the feeling you get when you’re away from home and missing the people you love.”
While Hollywood reflected the sound they project in concert, Omaha finds them expanding their musical palette and opting for more potent possibilities. “When we recorded in the past, we were very conscious of not straying too far from what we do live, when it’s just two of us on stage,” Kirwin suggests. “On this record, we wanted our sound to be bigger, darker, and more lush. That said, there are still a few songs on the album that are recorded the way the song was written: two voices and a guitar. Ultimately, we wanted to make a record that referenced our influences, without imitating them and to try to create something that is uniquely us.”
In so doing, the two remain determined to share their own insights while hoping at the same time that the subject matter will connect with others. “I think the coolest thing about being a songwriter is seeing how these songs that you write on your own, in your little house, end up reaching other people,” Rudston-Brown marvels. “It’s incredible when you find out that your songs have had an impact on someone else’s life. It’s very humbling to hear what they’ve meant to other people and how they make them feel.”
“We try to write songs that are honest and heartfelt,” Kirwin adds. “We can only hope that they provide comfort to someone in their darkest times and add a little more sparkle to their joyous moments as well.”