The Germein Sisters are a trio of singers from South Australia. Growing up in the Adelaide Hills surrounded by a loving family who encouraged them to follow their dreams, they are totally down to earth and completely well adjusted, with a very bright future ahead of them. We found them to be really focused on their career, and with an enthusiasm and zest for life. Here’s our interview with Clara, Ella, and Georgia Germein.
EP: We were talking about your surname and how you’re from the Adelaide Hills, which is an area with a big German heritage – do you think that’s why you’re so popular in Germany and Switzerland?
GS: (Clara) I think they do think Australia is quite exotic, and what we’ve found is they all say, “We’d love to go but it’s too far” – it’s like a little bonus for them.
(Ella) When we played in Germany one of the shows, on the drum it says, “Germein Sisters” and someone in the back was like, “German Sisters? But you’re from Australia! How does that work?” I think what Clara said, the exoticness of coming from Australia, I think in Switzerland Australia is like one of the top 10 destinations as somewhere people want to go.
EP: I’ve been listening to “Because You Breathe” a lot, I love it (GS: aww thanks). You’ll get this all the time, about the Corrs – it’s a very similar sort of sound. Have you ever thought about getting your brother in and becoming “The Germeins”?
GS: Well…he sings on the last song on the album, as you know, but…he’s not interested. He’s very good at singing, but he loves horses and training them, and that’s his passion, and I think once you’re a horse person…that’s it.
EP: I stalked him online, there’s a lot about his horses on Facebook!
GS: He’ll do the occasional show back home in Adelaide, if we do a festival, he’ll get up and have his moment of fame on the stage, and everybody cheers – he loves that.
EP: So he is your younger brother?
GS: Yeah he is, he’s 21, he’s the youngest.
EP: Do you think the Corrs thing, is that a sound you’ve gone for, just how you are, or is it your producer making you sound that way?
GS: (Clara) We emailed Billy Farrell, who had produced a couple of Corrs songs, we were like, we’re three sisters, he specialises in sibling harmony; obviously we didn’t want to mirror their sound exactly, but we wanted someone that had experience with female vocals to do the album, but yeah, I guess that’s where the sound comes out of…
(Ella) Before we’d even heard of The Corrs or done much stuff, everyone was already comparing us to them, like, when we first started out it was like, “oh three sisters and the music is pop/folk/rock…”
EP: I think you sound like you!
GS: Aw yeah thanks! We don’t have a problem with sounding like them, and Sharon Corr features on the album.
EP: I saw that! How cool!
GS: It was really cool!
EP: Did you actually meet her, or did she do it all in Ireland?
GS: We met her on Skype, so it’s not the same thing really. We recorded our album in Ireland but she was in America at the time, so when she got back we’d already left. She’s playing at the Isle of Wight festival and so we’re hoping to catch her show.
EP: Billy was cool?
GS: (Clara) Bit nerve-wracking! It was the first time Ella and I had been in a studio – Georgia had done a solo album before (but for us) it was really nerve-wracking…it’s intimidating singing and doing all your individual parts by yourself because we’re always used to playing together, so we can’t exactly hear what we sound like, when you’re in a studio you’re like, “ooh was that a bit off?” (laughs)
EP: They put it all together…it’s pretty cool how it’s all layered together…
EP: Surfing! Who surfs? Everybody?
GS: We all do!
EP: Where do you surf? Not Glenelg, cos there’s no waves…
ES: The South Coast – Middleton, Gawler… (Clara) The East Coast when I was living in Brisbane, there were some really cool spots, but we’re by no means doing the pipelines and all that! We just like the exercise, it’s just nice to get out on the water and feel really fresh – there’s something about the ocean that feels really healing, especially after being on a plane for a long time, or in the back of a car – there’s something about the ocean that always feels so much better.
(Ella) Clara taught surfing…
(Clara) It was my job when I finished school, teaching surfing. It was good fun, I’d get freezing. It sounds like an awesome job but you’re just standing there telling people what to do. But it was awesome, I’d go surfing afterwards and stuff. We don’t get to go as much anymore, but when we do it’s fun.
EP: Talk to me about China! Where did you go? Everywhere?
GS: We did some shows in Beijing, then we went to Xing Dao (?). We went with a company that was taking delegates from South Australia to go promote their businesses in China, and they picked us as the band to go, and it was for a few weeks, and we went and played at all different types of venues, from little clubs to great music venues. We played at the Australian Embassy in Beijing, we played at a big festival and corporate dinners. It was really random, but so fun. (Clara) I’d had my worries, we’d heard stuff but we were pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was, everyone was really nice, so many cool things you could go see and do, great clothing shops, got so much awesome stuff there…
EP: And it’s also like, “You’re from Australia! Ahh!”
GS: We went to the Great Wall of China, and it had rained the day before, so the air was really clear, and it was so beautiful.
(Clara) We were at this festival – we played at the opening dinner, then we went to look at the festival, and there were four million people there, Georgia and I were standing eating popcorn – nobody would have known we were in a band – all of a sudden there was a line of people wanting to have a photo with us. Dunno if it’s the blonde hair maybe?
(Ella) If you want an ego boost, just go to Asia. At the airport, all the people with their camera phones…
EP: Georgia – tell us about World Vision!
GS: (Georgia) I started out with World Vision, I was a Youth Ambassador in 2010 and went to Nepal to see projects…
EP: How did you get into that!
GS: (Georgia) It was through the 40 Hour Famine, if you raise $200 or more you can apply to be the Youth Amabassador of your state, and I got picked for South Australia, which was really amazing. I got to go to Nepal, that was cool. It opened my eyes, in my songwriting, broadened my perspective. It was an emotional trip, but it was really great. Now we’re Artist Associates as a band with World Vision.
EP: You’ve got other charity work as well…wildlife…
GS: Yeah! Georgia has five pet kangaroos, she’s in fauna rescue…
EP: Just sounds very cliche Australian…
GS: Have to remind people that not everyone has pet kangaroos in Australia, you can’t just buy them from the shops…
EP: Where are you going to be in five years? Do you make those sorts of plans?
GS: (Georgia) We like to live every day as it comes, it’s very easy to look into the future and worry about what’s happening. We want to be internationally recognised touring artists.
(Ella) We love playing our music, playing big shows, supporting big artists, touring, having fun, writing songs…we want to be able to…not live comfortably, but we want to be able to support ourselves, while still being able to play music and do things. Like Georgia said, it’s all about taking one day at a time, you never know – one minute it might be awesome, the next it might be down the toilet…just trying and going for everything, taking all the opportunities. A lot of the things we’ve done we’ve initially thought, is this worth doing, then you meet someone watching, or someone knows someone and it’s just…
EP: It’s all the connections – joining all the dots…
GS: We just want to get our music out there, try and be good people. do some good with it. Just enjoy the ride.
EP: Really good attitude!
EP: So – your Mum – she’s your Mumager – she recognised things were happening…how’s she doing?
GS: (Clara) She’s good! She’s the queen of Google, and it’s worked in our favour, I think, but she’s got our best interests at heart, obviously, being our Mum, and always finding opportunities etc.
(Ella) We weren’t born into a family with any music connections, far from it – Mum was a nurse, and Dad works in a bank. We’ve all learned as we’ve gone, and it’s about listening to people’s advice and taking that on board and not being afraid to try. The best advice is, the worst thing someone can say is no – and so you just say, cool, and think, how can I get to that point for them to say yes? We just try to be friendly to everyone, give them all respect, and then you get respect back.
EP: Really really good attitude to have – everybody’s got to start from somewhere!
GS: We’re all humans and equally important…everyone goes to the toilet…
EP: If your parents had said, “You can’t be singers! We want you to be doctors!”, would you still have done this?
GS: Pr0bably! Some days we’re just like “Wish they’d let us do normal occupations…” but we’re lucky that they’ve encouraged us, because music is something that they know we’ve always loved to do, and it’s just – other friends who’e been told, “Oh you can’t do that, music isn’t a carer that’s going to get you anywhere” – Mum and Dad are open to whatever, and encouraging, even though at times it looks pretty bleak – with the things you’re doing but it’s just furthering along as we go on…we were always encouraged as we were growing up to have a go. If there was a school musical Mum was like, “You should audition” or if there was a colouring in competition, “do it!”. If there was something we wanted to apply for, she was like, give it a go, and if you don’t like it, what’s the worst? We were lways raised to try our best and work hard – like our brother and his horses – that’s not a job everyone has, he trains horses and that’s his passion, and he’s encouraged to do that – he started riding donkeys, he’s worked his way up to horses. There was a great video on YouTube, someone asked uni students what they were going to do, and then asked, what do you enjoy doing? You could be the master of that hobby and you can eventually have the financial rewards from it – doesn’t even matter about the money 0- it’s about loving your job.
EP: What’s your favourite career memory so far?
GS: There’s been so many cool things, it changes every year cos something else cool happens. Recently we played on this show in Germany, the Fernsehgarten, and about 300 million people watched the TV show. It’s a bit like a lifestyle show but it’s all filmed live and we got to play on this big swimming pool thing, it’s on our YouTube channel. It was really cool, cameras everywhere, a couple of thousand people there at the grounds watching, that was surreal.
We played in Adelaide for a Fringe Festival, that’s always fun. It’s a bit nerve-wracking with the home crowd, cos you’re always seeing people you know; or when you play a Christmas show, for 40 thousand people – we play Carols By Candlelight in Adelaide, that’s a special thing we’ll always remember. Recording our album too, that whole experience, what we’ve learned in the studio in Ireland, going to Ireland, it’s like OMG we’re in Ireland…even saying that, there’s been smaller shows, even having a kid come up to you and wanting to have something signed, or someone saying, “That song really touched me”, that’s worth it to us as well. At times you can feel it’s just a business, and what am I doing this for!
EP: If you were asked to do Eurovision for Australia, would you?
GS: Definitely! We’ll try anything – within reason. We were glad they picked Guy Sebastian, and Jess Mauboy last year – two awesome artists…it’s great to have Australia accepted in a European Song Competition – so yeah, if ever they asked, yes!
EP: Best venue?
GS: WE played here a few years ago (Underbelly, Hoxton Square, London), with a few other acts, that was really good. We played on a big stage with a few other acts just recently, in Queensland, before we came on this tour, that was really cool. Carols by Candlelight was really cool. We stuck fairy lights on our instruments and they’re still there!
EP: Dream collaboration?
GS: We’ve thought about this recently – we think Coldplay, or Pharrell Williams: or a rapper or a male artists, male vocalist.
EP: You’ve been in the business for a couple of years now, What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get into it?
GS: Nothing comes easy. If it’s your dream you have to work for it. You get knock backs all the time, so you’ve got to realise maybe that wasn’t the right time for that to happen anyway. When a door shuts, a window opens. Working hard. Taking every opportunity – no opportunity is too small (within reason). Surround yourselves with good people, people you can trust, have a good team – be prepared to work hard, you’re nog going to be earning millions of dollars the first year. Just be true to yourself as well, with songwriting and performing – people want to have that connection with you on stage. If you’re making music you’re not 100% loving, the audience isn’t going to love it either. The way you’re going to have a good career is have that interaction with the audience to make them feel like they’re on your journey – it’s finding that niche and putting a good product together.
EP: What’s your USP?
GS: The three sisters thing, we all play instruments, it’s just us three on stage, the harmonies and instruments. Like, we’ll have someone say, “so you guys are singing?” and we’re like, “yeah, and the drums…and the bass etc”. It sucks for travelling because all our luggage is our instruments.
(Ella) I put my undies in my cello case and they open it up and bras will be hanging out and I’m like, “look we don’t get enough luggage”. Hopefully one day we’ll be like Platinum Qantas members and we can have more luggage allowance. It’s all good.
We have a lot of fun on stage together. We don’t take things too seriously – we take the music seriously but we have fun on the way.
EP: Sting and Paul Simon – did you meet them?
GS: No! It was a really cool gig, we were contacted a few weeks before they came to Adelaide, we didn’t play on the main stage – just to the side, we were on an hour before they started. Everyone was sitting with picnics in front of us, free entertainment. It’s another opportunity, we weren’t on the big stage, but we had all their fans come in and watch, that’s a way to build our audience. We also got a free ticket to see the Sting Concert!
EP: What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
GS: We’re all vegetarians, none of us drink alcohol, we’re not rock’n’roll party. We’re all very different to each other, personality-wise. We all have different interests off stage, but we all get on really well.
EP: What are the top 3 tracks/albums in your music collection?
GS: (Clara) Ed Sheeran…we’ve been watching some of his tour videos online, he seems pretty cool, very genuine.
(Ella) I’ve been listening to a lot of James Bay
(Georgia) I listen to a lot of Coldplay…
(Ella) I always listen to Lara del Rey, her stuff is really cool. And Michael Jackson…John Mayer. There’s so much new music coming out!
EP: What question do you wish you’d be asked but no-one ever does?
GS: (Ella) People always ask what we do in our spare time…
(Clara) Maybe not politics stuff – but like – how we think the world could improve – I’m into the environment, and conservation, it’s one of the biggest issues. I want to do more work with that, through music. I want to reach more people, and spread positive things about the environment.
(Ella) If it’s something we want to say we’ll say it anyway!
(Clara) I’d like to be asked about being something the world needs – you know, it’s all about being the next big thing. I think if you can’t be making a positive impact, regardless of making billions of dollars, etc, if you can’t be doing something positive with it, then is it worth it? Think with us I’d like to be able to get the music big so I could do some good, helping, you can still do good even with not being massive. Just more thinkers and doers, and ways to improve the world. That sounds so “Miss Universe”!
(Ella) “World Peace!”
EP: Can you go back into normal life?
GS: (Clara) Soemtimes it’s so appealing – there’s times or hours when I’m not ready to crack but you get so out of the loop – you’ll be home for a couple of months, you get into a routine, you feel like…you go on tour and you’re doing this and that and a different hotel, it can throw you about a bit – especially if you’re going through personal issues in your life as well – trying to figure out what you want; if you’re not going through the best times you have to go on stage and put on a happy fun performance – then at the same time, when I’m home, I want to be, when’s the next tour? I want to be doing this…I want to be moving…it doesn’t have to be playing on the huge stage, just like – well recently we were in Switzerland, we saw the hugest lake, it looked like a postcard, and we were saying, “this is what makes it worth it. I don’t care if we don’t get to do (this or that), this is great.”
(Ella) I don’t know what else I’d do – when I finished school I’d studied teaching for a semester, and I wasn’t into it, but music came along and it was exactly what I wanted to do. I don’t know what I’d do but I’m sure I’d work something out.
(Clara) You can play around the world in pubs and restaurants and stuff, just jamming together, that’s probably one of our most fun memories, covers, mucking around – some of our best gigs have been at restaurants where people have beers, dancing, requests for “Brown Eyed Girl”…
EP: You get people involved…
GS: Obviously we’d love to make it, we’ve worked so hard, down the track there’s things we won’t be able to do, so we might as well try now. We’d just like to make use of the opportunities while we’ve got them, see where it goes.
“Because You Breathe” is available now. Check the Germein Sisters’ official website for details. We have a competition to win a signed copy of “Because You Breathe”! See our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for details.