Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Red Lips and Swing: The Three Belles Talk To COASM
COASM is proud to welcome the utterly charming trio The Three Belles, who have popped in to have a chat with Patrick Scattergood about their music, their inspirations and their appearance in the book We’ll Meet Again by Matt Wingett.
PS: Hello and welcome to our little part of the Internet.
With the vintage style being so popular recently, how did the birth of the group come together?
Gail - Well we formed at University in Portsmouth in our final year as a bit of a project and it worked so well that we ended up going full-time upon our graduation.
Dorothy - We all had a love of vintage fashion and music and the style just seemed to suit all of our voices. So we put it to the test and here we are three years later!
PS: You perform under three distinct personas in the shape of Betty, Gail and Dorothy. What made you decide to go that route?
Betty - Yes it is hard to tell where our real personalities end and our stage personas begin! It was actually an idea from one of our lecturers, we found it difficult being on stage singing 1940s songs but speaking as if we were modern girls! So we decided to take on these characters and let that take over during our performances.
Dorothy - The characters are all based on extreme versions of our own personalities but with a 1940s twist. For example, I’m the more sensible of the girls, so Dorothy is the most sensible and straight laced character!
Gail - And I’m the cheekiest one, on stage and off!
PS: After having performed in so many different and varied venues, do you have a favourite place to perform?
Dorothy - We love the St Ives Guildhall in Cornwall.
Gail - Oh and France, we love singing in France in general. They love the music and they are so interested in the history there. It makes a real impact to your performance, to receive such energy from the crowd.
PS: Your singing personas appear in the novel We’ll Meet Again by Matt Wingett. How did that collaboration come about?
Betty - We met Matt Wingett at our first production of In The Mood, which is a 1940s experience night that we produce ourselves.
Gail - It was upstairs in the Portsmouth Guildhall. He came and dressed up in an RAF uniform. He enjoyed it so much he asked if he could write the book and of course we were very enthusiastic.
PS: Were you surprised at how popular the book became with vintage fans?
Dorothy - We were certainly pleased for Matt and ourselves that the book sold well. People at our gigs enjoyed finding something different to take home, other than CDs and posters, this was something they could read for weeks after the gig. A nice souvenir and a fun story.
PS: Who would you say has been your biggest inspirations during your career?
All - The Andrews Sisters!
Betty - We love them, particularly Patty, she is so fun to watch and has an awesome voice.
Gail - Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, The Ross Sisters, all of the old big bands, Ray Ellington, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima and so many other amazing acts have influenced us in different ways. Usually just their feel and how much they swing is inspiring.
PS: The 1940’s, as well as being a turbulent time, was also a very popular time fashion wise as well. Why do you think it has made such a re-emergence lately?
Gail - Well everyone loves red lippy and seamed stockings! What’s there not to love?
Dorothy - The dress patterns are flattering and nothing is too short or revealing making it a very classy decade.
Betty - The hair styles are great fun too. Super glamorous and a nice challenge when your getting ready to go out.
PS: You released your debut album last year to much acclaim. What would you say was the best part of creating it?
Betty - The album launch was probably the best bit! It was a time when all the musicians came and played together, we had cupcakes with our faces on them to give away by Restoration Cakes, we had brand new merchandise including funky t-shirts and posters. It was a great night. Not to mention working with such talented musicians. They did a great job and we are thrilled with the turn out of the album and how well it has sold.
PS: Where can your fans expect to see and hear you next?
Dorothy - Our next big concert is at the Portsmouth Guildhall on the 5th December. It is In The Mood- a dance night, where everyone dresses up and has a really great time. We have Bovril, Bunting and Boys in uniform! You can find out more about it on the Guildhall’s website or at www.thethreebelles.com where there is a gig list of all our upcoming events. We are also on Facebook and Twitter so you can see our latest news there.
PS: Thank you so much for taking the time to pop in to our neck of the woods. It’s been a pleasure.
All - No thank youuu!!