Connie Mitchell is the lead singer of Sneaky Sound System. She and long-time band partner Angus McDonald (aka Black Angus) married in Ibiza in 2015. The couple are expecting the birth of their first child in coming weeks. For the past two months Mitchell, 38, has been performing on the Greek island of Mykonos. She is also working on another album. She chats to me about what it is like to work with her husband and her excitement at becoming a mum.
What have you been up to?
We spent the last two months in Mykonos playing to a few thousand people every Sunday night on the beach at this incredible venue called Scorpios. Last week we turned away 2000 people, it was crazy! I’m back home now getting ready for the arrival of my baby boy in a few weeks. We have a few shows planned between now and the end of the year, our annual New Year’s Day party at Icebergs, and then maybe a couple of weeks up in Byron Bay where we go every year.
Wow, that sounds like a busy schedule. Will you take any time off from the band when your son arrives?
Ha! Time-off, time-schmoff! I love the fact that I’m responsible for my own income and if I want to buy something nice, I can. So no, I want to get straight back out there! If they can do it in Africa, then I can do it in Australia with all the mod-cons at our disposal. Also, I gotta get that Aston Martin!
With a life on the road touring, how will you and Angus juggle it all?
I can’t wait for the juggle; our lives are all about the juggle! I like the idea of having a semi-nomadic lifestyle while our son is still young and before school ties us down. We travel a lot, and he’ll obviously be part of that.
What are you most looking forward to about becoming a mother?
Hugs, kisses, sports days, swimming carnivals, sausage sizzles, and seeing him grow into an intelligent young man who has the utmost respect for women. And a few more hugs.
What’s it like being in a band with your husband?
We were always really good friends, from the beginning, anyway. I think essentially it’s kind of [an] extension of that friendship. So you’re really tied together now. It’s like you two against the world; you’ve got your own kind of “power buddy” … But sometimes he takes a bit too long in the mirror [laughs].
When did you know he was the one?
It was at the Miami music conference [March 2012] on the dance floor. He is busting out these moves and I went, “That is the one for me!”
You were married in Ibiza last year. Tell me about your wedding.
It was a very beautiful affair, filled with all very close friends and family. It was a very special time and I wish I could do it every year. I did feel like the UN, having to talk to everybody. I think it’s really good advice that every hour or so you should just go and go off together – for 10 minutes, you just kind of sit down and have a drink, talk to each other. Because I think you’ve got a tendency to make sure everybody is OK. It’s like: hang on, this is your day, too. But it was really beautiful … There was lots of opportunities to go out and enjoy yourself, unlike the current situation in Sydney at the moment.
Have the lockout laws affected Sneaky and your career?
Absolutely. I mean, we had a running night at Hugo’s for 10 years. It is no longer in existence because of lockout laws. [We are] directly affected by the lockout laws and so many businesses have gone under because of the lockout laws. You cannot say that it has not had a direct effect on so many businesses, small and large, across the board. I think now, for an international city, we’re a bit of joke.
When it comes to songwriting, how do you and Angus collaborate together? Who does what?
Well, he will usually start with the music and the melody and then have a certain lyric already, which makes sense because he has been there, from the start. And then I’ll just kind of fill in the gaps, which is great because it’s like I’ve just been given pointers along the way.
Do you have a gut feeling when a song is going to be a hit?
You never know which ones are going to be hits. I think you just essentially know what you like or what kind of sticks out a bit, what kind of raises its head a little bit.
Do you get friends to listen to it?
Yes! All the time. I think that’s quite an integral part. I mean, unless you’re an absolute genius, how can you really judge what’s good or not?
Do you and Angus ever disagree on a song or musically?
All the time. Well, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’re like, “Oh yes, absolutely, that’s great.” Sometimes I’ll be like, “I really like that one.” Angus will be like, “Ah, I don’t like that one so much.”
Who wins in that situation?
Angus is a bigger talker than me [so] he would probably win that one.
Sneaky released the single I Ain’t Over You in April. Do you have plans to release an album?
Potentially we have enough material to do so. It depends on what’s going to happen. We might just put out lots and lots of singles. There is a big question mark hanging above that because we don’t live in the same time frames as we used to with making albums. [It is] so daunting to put out an album these days, unless you’re someone like Adele or Justin Bieber.
Sneaky Sound System has found success for 15 years and you have been part of that success for the past decade. What has been the best aspect of the past 10 years?
I think the travel, getting to see the world, doing something that you love to do … Jumping into the unknown and coming out with your head above water. I like that too. The small shows, the big shows, the shows in between. I think they’ve all been crucial for the journey.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the past 10 years?
International flight travel with no sleep [if you] had a big night the night before.
What do you love most about performing?
I like to push myself to always sing in tune. I know, being a concertgoer, there is nothing worse than somebody going to a concert and them really singing [out of] tune – that really gets me no end.
Did you come from a musical background?
I think if you’re musical as a grown-up, you would have been pretty musical through your childhood. I always played musical instruments as a kid [and was in] school plays … I was a bit of a show off.
Did you always know you were going to be a performer?
Yes. I think that was pretty cool… [My school friends] are not surprised. When I was five or six we used to have like The Connie Mitchell Show…I did a comedy [and] singing routine.
If you didn’t go down this career path, what would you be doing?
I would have loved to go into plastic surgery. I think I would have been really good at that. It’s the challenge of taking something and breaking it, to remake it better.
What do you do in your time off?
I like dinners with friends and I’m quite into [water] sports at the moment. It’s good to maintain all those sports that you’ve played when you were young. I like gaming and playing Game of Thrones. This year, my goal is to get my seaplane licence.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I always wanted to say that I wanted to just be one of the first groups playing on a different planet, which is not so far-fetched. We’re getting closer. That would be a really amazing goal – in the planet of Mars, hopefully with another round of successful tunes from Sneaky and a really well-received solo album.
Is Sneaky Sound System or your solo album more of a priority?
Both have equal priorities [because] I wouldn’t be in a position to make a solo album if it hadn’t been a successful Sneaky.
What would you love to achieve next?
I think at some point you’ve got to look back on what you’ve done in your life and what has been your contribution to the world. Do you know what I mean? Something bigger than me.
WE WENT TO Criniti’s Wooloomoolloo
WE ATE zucchini flowers, beef cappacio and eggplant parmigiana
WE DRANK Mineral waters
CONNIE WORE Vintage Moschino jacket and a Chanel ribbed turtleneck dress
KATE WORE Veronika Maine (sold out).
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