Interview and More With The Heart Collectors
The Heart Collectors
Touring the USA and UK in 2024
By Jim Jacob
The Heart Collectors are a four piece self-described ‘epic folk’ band from the Byron Bay Hinterland in New South Wales.
From humble beginnings, the past seven years have seen the band sought out by some of the biggest international music conferences and festivals in the world, including South by South-West (SXSW), Folk Alliance International, NAMM, Canadian Music Week and Global Music Match.
Merging the inspiration of 1960’s and 1970’s inspired folk and roots music, their latest sound has grown to include piano, electric guitar, banjo, bowed mandolin and cello.
Fleetwood Mac with more of an organic, Celtic-inflected lilt of vocals and melody…. Kymrie’s voice is the stuff angel’s wings are made of.”John T Davis, author of ‘Austin City Limits: ’25 Years Of American Music’
Their fifth studio album The Space Between is, as of February 2, 2024, widely available. The band is about to embark on an exciting, lengthy tour of the USA (‘from Austin to Boston’) including Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as dates in the UK.
The Heart Collectors are:
Kymrie Henge – Lead Vocals, Percussion, Piano, Bodhran.
Reuben Loire – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Mobius Barnaby – Vocals, Cello, Stomp
Tristan DaFoe – Vocals, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar
I was lucky to catch up with the band members at their Clarendon Arms gig in Evandale, Tasmania.
LTTL: Evergreen is the most recent release that I could find. Visually the video to the song is beautiful, very pretty.
Kymrie: Thank you
Who is the main songwriter in that in the group?
Kymrie: It changes, we have a very creative current that flows through the band and all of us participate in the songwriting. However, in the latest work mainly it has been myself coming up with the lyrics and then that will form a melody, like with “Evergreen” and a couple of other tunes. You know we all bring so much to the group individually like with Mo and his classical training when it comes to cello and Reuben on guitar, he finds beautiful riffs. Yeah, and Tristan brings his banjo and mandolin.
Tristan: A bit of sparkle.
With the new album The Space Between, does that represent a change in your style?
Kymrie: It actually represents what we used to be, what we are now and what we are going to be. So it’s a little segment of past, present and future.
OK, might leave that there then (laughter all around)
What are the backgrounds of the members?
Kymrie: We all have different backgrounds. Personally, I wasn’t directed towards music as a child, I was in love with classical ballet and dancing. And that was my passion in life. And then after continuing to do that full time and then going overseas for it and getting an injury, I had to find another creative outlet which turned into poetry. And that was the basis of our first album,
Tristan: OK, I’ve always loved to play guitar, particularly learning intricate finger-style things. And so that’s kind of my background of music, but in terms of coming to the band, the guys spent a lot of time recording this beautiful second album and they needed someone to help play some of the instruments. And so I jumped on board at that point. Yeah. And I’ve just loved being a part of it.
Kymrie: Yeah, he learned them all by heart without us even knowing. Yeah, his hand was up like I’m ready. Thanks goodness for that!
Tristan: Just in case!
Coming from Byron Bay, it’s good place to be isn’t it?
All: Very good!
Mo: Well, I’m from the US in the northern part of the country and I played double bass my whole life and I’ve known Kimrey since I was really little and she and I kept in touch throughout my life and invited me over when I was 18. I told my family “I’m coming” and I just couldn’t manage travelling with a double bass so I sold it, bought a mandolin and they had already kind of started performing just locally. So I learned the mandolin on the plane (laughter) just kidding, over a couple of years. And picked up the banjo. My grandpa had a banjo in the closet of my grandma’s house, so I had always kind of knew that was there.
Reuben: And music’s always been a part of my life. So it’s kind of natural to play with people, other people. So we’re kind of all from the same area, same town, and when it came time to put something together, I was just there.
Kymrie: He was the glue
The thing I’m most interested in is the process of how you got to Folk Alliance International. How did you get there?
Kymrie: We have been working on it for five or six years ago. We were very lucky, a few years ago, to participate in a collaboration called Global Music Match
That’s the COVID thing?
Kymrie: Yeah so Global Music Match brought together artists from around the world with industry and paired us up with people in the US, Canada, Italy and the UK. And through that process, we got to meet so many artists and industry members alike, and we formed this connection. So from there we heard about Folk Alliance International and we applied and it’s an incredible process, a peer review process to be selected. And when we got the OK, we were overjoyed.
You should be proud of yourselves because it is a big deal. The theme running through the conference is ‘Connection, Discovery and Inspiration. What are you taking away from that?
Kymrie: Oh, we’re just bringing out positivity (laughter all round)
Tristan: We’re all about those things, in terms of our songwriting, our presence in what we do in the world. We want to be a positive presence rather than singing and writing songs about how my girlfriend left me and all that kind of stuff. It’s more about being a positive presence. So that’s kind of the theme of the festival, you know, is connection – music does that, and so we feel like through songwriting and four-part harmony, our performance really suits the festival’s ethos.
Are you ready for the cold?
Kymrie: No, not at all.
Tristan: Kimrey looks at the the temperature in Kansas City every single day and tells us.
Kymrie: Listen guys, we’re gonna need some layers!
Mo: Part about trip to Tasmania was to acquire some nice wool bits.
Think you’ll need more than wool (laughter all round). The US and UK tour?
Kymrie: Yes, we go to Folk Alliance and then from there we go down to Austin – we have shows in Texas and then we make our way through the country from Nashville to the Carolinas and then you know Midwest and then New York, Michigan, Massachusetts.
All: We have even written to Kevin Rudd asking for a show at the (Australian) Embassy. He has yet to reply, so come on Kevin!
Kymrie: So we’re titling it the ‘Austin to Boston Tour’ and it is out first official headline tour, so it’s exciting times.
Have you got a list of those venues?
Kymrie: We do, it’s coming out on our social media, updated as more shows come out.
So can we check in with you after the Alliance, see how things went?
Well, it’s been great chatting with you. I really do hope you do well. I’ve seen some of the acts, about thirteen of the artists that are going to be over at Folk Alliance and you’re among fantastic company. You don’t need luck, you’ve got talent.
All: Thanks so much!
All Photos: LTTL
More Music Adventures Await!
Interview and More With The Heart Collectors