Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes is all about soul, baby. And the name of her band actually does have to do something with her, ahem, rack.
“The foundations of our sound are connected to old rhythm and blues and soul with elements of pop and R&B. [It] can be described also as cinematic, haunting and Lynchian,” Browne tells GA Voice.
Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes are a 9-piece band hailing from Melbourne, Australia. The band released its debut album, “Baby Caught the Bus” in 2011 in Australia. The album was officially released in the U.S. last summer. Now the band is working on its sophomore album at Atlanta’s own Stankonia Studios, home of one of the world’s most influential rap duos, Outkast. The band’s EP “Love Cliques” is being released Aug. 5, coinciding with its Atlanta show at The Earl.
“‘Love Cliques’ is a four-track EP on 10-inch vinyl with a free download,” Browne says. “It’s a lament about ritualistic love, torment of the heart and breaking through fear. Its a teaser. We are working on an album so stay tuned!”
Browne is also well-known known for speaking out for LGBT equality and has a large LGBT following. She also collaborated this year with former Atlantan and world renowned drag legend RuPaul on his album “Born Naked,” singing the title track with him.
She says quite simply the Atlanta audience can expect a bangin’ good time at the show.
How did you come up with the band’s name?
The name is a homage to girl groups like the Ikette’s and Marvellette’s. I am heavily inspired by the sounds of soul and doo-wop and early rhythm and blues and when we first started out five years ago I was listening to a lot of that stuff. Television shows like The Beat and Shindig had the kind of energy and hysteria I wanted to create in a live setting.
Also it’s a reflection of femininity and sex-positive confidence which is a huge part of what is represented in the music and live show. Not to say we are a direct emulation of an old girl group because I think we have evolved as an outfit since the early makings and now there are contemporary styles coming through the music, but the foundations are certainly couched in soul music, just with fresh beats and stories. I came up with the name when a shop assistant casually commented on my rack. I thought that was hot. So I ran with it.
How did you come to collaborate with RuPaul?
We met through his producer who came to my album launch in L.A and he told me Ru wanted to meet me. I didn’t believe him at first but asked him to bring Ru to a party I was DJing at the following night. When I walked in the next night there was RuPaul, standing at the bar in all his glory. Pretty sure I screamed, “Shut Up!” like a fan girl. We kept in touch and when he was recording his album he got in touch and asked me to sing on the title track. I have spent some nice moments with Ru, one in particular I remember was driving around Beverly Hills talking about our shared love of open inspections and being voyeurs in other peoples homes.
Whats it like recording at Stankonia?
It’s cool. Its kind of been a dream forever so it has been wonderful to be able to exercise creativity with people you have always admired in a space you have always wanted to work. I mean I got to work with Chris Carmouche [aka Mouche, who won the 2004 Grammy for his work on Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”] who I have heaps of respect for. Also many other musicians who played on the record that blew my mind, so I can’t said anything bad about it.
What will be on your album?
It’s still a work in progress. The great thing about going into Stankonia and presenting Mouche with my vision of this landscape I want to create is that he has worked with many artists who’s style greatly influence mine, artists I love and I feel are progressive and true to musicality but super fresh as well. Artists like Janelle Monae, Outkast, Little Dragon … The sound we have is really evolving every day with certainly a soulful vibe but with modern sounds and effects to create a whole world. Expect shiny newness, same fierce attitude and moments of heartbreak.
Why are you outspoken about your support of the LGBTQI community?
I think as a woman and a feminist and especially in this industry the question is more why wouldn’t I be? Issues that affect the LGBTQI community are issues of inequality and discrimination and I think anyone who is a feminist and is politically engaged can recognize this and champion the minority. That seems obvious to me. I would certainly never claim to have the same experience as others under the umbrella of LGBTQI but i can empathize because issues that affect me as a woman open my eyes to issues that affect women of trans experience particularly and anyone else within the community.
When you are a subset within a subset within a subset minority naturally your voice can get drowned out and I think it’s important to recognize that speaking out about your support of the community when you have the opportunity to reach a lot of people can be a powerful thing. I admire the tenacity of those who are activists and pioneers within the community, particularly in entertainment. I have a strong following within the LGBTQI community, my drag queen friends pay tribute to my music by performing it, these people are my friends really, I have grown up around beautiful diversity and have been all the more fortunate for it.
Check out the video for their hit song “Love Letter.”