“This song is full of fond memories but ultimately looks forward towards new beginnings,” reflects Charm of Finches about their new release ‘Clean Cut’. Ivy and Mabel Windred-Wornes, the names behind the evocative melodies, aren’t your typical pop duo. They are sisters, bound not just by genetics but by a shared harmony that resonates from early childhood. Imagine choirs led by their mother, Bob Dylan echoing through their father’s laughter, and two inquisitive minds transforming a school project into a melody that now reverberates through the folk and indie scene.
Their music isn’t about catchy hooks or fleeting trends. It’s the soundtrack of their lives, woven from shared experiences. Balancing the stage and sisterhood demands a delicate dance, as they themselves acknowledge with a knowing laugh: “We also live together which is convenient for practicing and spontaneous songwriting sessions. It’s kind of nice to have an established dynamic where we can be very honest with each other. We do have to be careful to make sure we don’t talk about the band all the time and consciously make time to do other sisterly things.”
But beyond the personal lies the artistic. We, at C-Heads, recognize the magic siblings can create when their visions intertwine seamlessly. And that’s exactly what Charm of Finches does with their new track, a bold pop offering infused with the essence of classical and folk influences. It’s their signature sound, familiar yet ever-evolving, like the bond they share.
In our conversation, we explore the wellspring of their inspiration, the unique challenges and rewards of being a sibling duo, and their upcoming album “Marlinchen In The Snow”.
header photo: press
Congratulations on your new single! Can you share more about the personal experiences and emotions that led to the creation of “Clean Cut”?
Thank you! We wrote ‘Clean Cut’ while on a four-month tour in the UK and Europe which ended up being the catalyst for Ivy’s breakup. When we were in Norway, staying with a friend, we penned the song on her beautiful grand piano during a sun shower. There’s this bittersweet feeling we get when we’re on tour where we feel sad about leaving people behind in Australia but also excited to explore the world. This song is full of fond memories but ultimately looks forward towards new beginnings.
What inspired the unique concept of a haunted doll museum for your music video, and how was the experience of working on such an intense 22-hour shoot?
It was so much fun, exhausting and thrilling all at the same time! One of the best things about being a musician is the collaborative part where we can include our artistic friends – actors, makeup artists, dancers, choreographers, other musicians, film enthusiasts, etc! Everyone poured so much energy and passion into the shoot to make the video amazing.
We felt the mood of this song needed a surreal mystery with a dark edge. We had this idea of ‘Night at the Museum’ meets ‘Frankenstein’. We decided to make it a doll museum so that we could involve our friends (and little brother too!) The child-catcher scene in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (a movie on high rotation from our childhood) was also subliminally an inspiration. That scene where the Pott Family dress up as dolls to hide from the terrifying child-catcher played by Robert Helpmann. We have a love for all things eerie yet beautiful and otherworldly and there’s also a trend of someone meeting their demise in one way or another in our videos! This is no exception…
“We have a love for all things eerie yet beautiful and otherworldly and there’s also a trend of someone meeting their demise in one way or another in our videos! This is no exception…”
With the upcoming release of “Marlinchen in the Snow,” what is the story behind the title?
The album title comes from the last song we wrote while in the studio, inspired by a Grimm’s tale ‘The Juniper Tree’. We both remember being told the story when we were about seven years old with not a small amount of fascinated horror.
We recorded the album in February 2023, when we spent a month in the studio with our amazing producer Daniel Ledwell in Nova Scotia, Canada. Dan’s little studio is in the woods and it was so surreal for us, as Australians, to be surrounded by snow and a frozen lake at our doorstep! It was like the landscape of a fairytale which unlocked the memories of the tale where Marlinchen buries the bones of her dead brother before he transforms into a bird singing the truth of his death at the hands of his stepmother. It’s like the original horror movie! There’s a lot more to the story metaphorically though. We feel it’s one of female strength, battling oppressive obstacles and rising above them to pave a path led by your inner voice. These themes inhabit a lot of the songs on the album and in a sense, encapsulate what it’s been like for us as artists. Go check out the story and read it to your seven-year-old if you want them to have haunted memories that they then unpack later in life. (laughs)
What challenges and advantages have you faced in maintaining a balance between being sisters and professional partners?
(Laughs) yes, our lives are pretty intertwined – we also live together which is convenient when it comes to practising and spontaneous songwriting sessions. It’s kind of nice to have an established dynamic in which we can be very honest (sometimes brutally honest) with each other. We do have to be careful to make sure we don’t talk about the band all the time and consciously make time to do other sisterly things like going to the pool on a hot day or hosting a dinner party.
And how do you navigate differences in creative vision or musical preferences during your collaborative process?
We have very similar tastes in music which means our musical ideas align with each other most of the time. We also recognise each other’s strengths which helps – Ivy writes a great melody while I (this is Mabel writing) am very lyric-focused. Sometimes if there’s a disagreement about an idea we might have a squabble but it’ll blow over in half an hour and we’ll come back later and know who was right about it!
“It’s kind of nice to have an established dynamic in which we can be very honest (sometimes brutally honest) with each other.”
Do you prefer performing live or working in the studio?
Both are great for different reasons and it’s nice to have touring and album writing/recording cycles. We love the travel aspect of touring! Getting to play at music festivals and meeting great musicians from around the world. The studio is a special place for us though, where we get to create and explore artistically… so maybe being in the studio!
You have an extensive tour schedule! Do you engage in any pre-show rituals or practices to help you connect with the energy of each performance?
We do have a busy tour ahead of us! After we do some Australian shows we embark on a UK tour over four months with lots of headline shows and then summer festivals – we can’t wait! But it’s definitely a full-on time! Before shows, we always like to do a vocal warm-up and sit quietly with a hot lemon and ginger tea with honey.
How do you balance your dreams with the realities of daily life?
We always make sure to give ourselves the time and space to dream big about all the possibilities creatively as well as all the places music could take us. We think it’s so important to stay curious and imaginative! We’ve sort of learnt to switch between that dreamy creative side of ourselves with the more practical side which can often work out how to fit the creative visions into reality. Like when we come up with the most magical and wonderful music video idea which in reality might have the budget of a blockbuster movie! We’ll have to switch to the practical mindset to make it doable with the resources we’ve got. For Clean Cut, we made a museum out of a friend’s warehouse and our friends were the museum’s artifacts!
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
We hope to continue to explore the emotional well of songwriting that continues to expand and deepen before us. Learn more about ourselves, others, the wide world, art and literature and continue connecting more of the dots between those things in some sort of musical web.
Thank you so much for your time!
Pre-Save “Marlinchen in the Snow” https://charmoffinches.lnk.to/MarlinchenInTheSnow