Australian singer-songwriter Carla Geneve is promoting her 2019 self-titled EP. (Courtesy Darren Stapley)

Carla Geneve’s tunes reflect remote Australian upbringing

Songwriter focuses on ‘everyday, mundane’ topics

Australian folk-rocker Carla Geneve never meant to sound so desperate for company in the chorus of her latest waltzing single “2001” in which she pines, “I’m so lonely/ Not used to being on my own.” The track — from her eponymous debut EP — is a metaphor for her relatively secluded upbringing, first in the dinky Western town of Albany, then in Perth, over 2,100 miles away from the country’s bustling Melbourne music scene. “Albany was even more remote, five hours south of Perth by car,” says the 20-year old, who instinctively moved to the capital city as soon as she finished high school. “I think a lot of people do that as a rite of passage, and because great bands like The Triffids were from Perth.” Given her Kirsty MacColl-memorable material, she won’t be lonely long.

You actually used to drive miles nightly to play concerts, then home again?

This is how every Aussie horror film starts. Yeah. There was no train, just one lonely road heading out of town. And it can get dangerous at night, because in the same way you have problems with hitting deer, we have the same problems here hitting kangaroos. They’re everywhere. But luckily, I haven’t hit one yet — that would be horrible. But none of that was scary. It’s actually a really beautiful place out in the bush, which kind of makes up for how long the drive was.

Left to your own devices outside of Melbourne, your sound gestated into something quirky and unique.

And I think that’s another, often overlooked aspect of Western Australian music; Perth is such an isolated capital, and I think that isolation does have a bit of an impact. People don’t normally tour out of Perth. They can’t afford to because it costs a lot of money to get anywhere. So artists just get stuck in Perth, playing with the same group of people, which does eventually make for a totally unique sound.

You wrote a tune about a real place called “Greg’s Discount Chemist.”

What subjects attract you as a composer? What attracts my interest are everyday, mundane things, mostly. On my new EP I discuss that everyday stuff, but I certainly try and say it in an interesting way that really gets people listening to it. I wrote my first song at 12 or 13, it was some little folkie thing. But it was definitely not good. I was always fascinated with history back then, and I still am. I’m still in Perth, attending univeristy there, doing a gender-studies history course part time. And I hope I can continue to fit it into my increasingly busy touring schedule.


San Cisco, Carla Geneve

Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. June 11

Tickets: $18 to $20

Contact: (415) 255-0333,

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