"It took a long time of letting it go completely, for the music to come back, I had to really feel a desperate need to make my music be heard again, before the songs began to come through. I had to get the love back, and in order to do that I had to put myself in a position where I had to fight to get it back." Angie Hart, 2004.
What motivates fearless individuals to plunge headfirst into the shark-filled waters that are today's music industry? The glimmering lure of fame, fortune, of untold spoils? To possess them would be the things dreams are made of. Of course dreams are exactly that. Dreams.
In terms of those who have flown close to sun, Angie Hart and Jesse Tobias are sans doute members of pop's mile high club. Between the two of them, they have sold well over a million records worldwide as members of previous incarnations Frente, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and last but not by any means least, Splendid.
2000 was in many ways year zero for Splendid. Their debut long player Have You Got A Name For It, having received a warm reception Down Under, was set for international release, ready to fire on all cylinders, until Splendid had the proverbial rug pulled out from them their US record label folded. Just like that.
It was time to take stock, to work out exactly why Angie and Jesse were in this game at all. For Angie it meant some serious time out. She'd been in the public gaze since her late teens. Her adopted home, Los Angeles, provided her with a welcome anonymity, and she sought refuge pouring her energies into other creative fields.
Husband Jesse continued to do what he does most successfully, be a girl singer's best friend. From musical director for Alanis Morisette he proceeded to land a couple of extremely promising gigs for then nobodies, Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton.
Splendid sat on ice for at least a year. Yes, new tracks appeared in the most unlikely place ("Tomorrow We'll Wake", "You and Me" and Angie's "Blue" on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as you do), but for the large part tracks were written and recorded at home only when the constraints of time and commitments allowed.
So we find ourselves in the latter half of 2004, and it seems for Splendid the sun has indeed come out and the ice has gone some way to thawing. Response to their Australian shows over the last year was so positive Angie and Jesse felt resolute to collating some new music before returning, some still warm from the 'studio' at home, which Splendid fondly refer to as the closet (it really is a closet), where they stole a few moments between their hectic schedules to record the last few tunes.
And so to this EP. Beguiling, deceptively simple, sweet and bitter, it shines with the unassuming brilliance of a newly minted dime. Produced by Jesse, this is not so much a new leaf for the band, but a leaf lifted from a different book, one free from the constraints of marketing teams and crush of house-mortgage music videos. How six songs can document the step from there to the obvious freedom of exploration they now enjoy is remarkable. With Splendid's signature frailty and honesty, you can almost hear the growing pains. It's a rare sound, but a beautiful one.
Tracks on the EP were pieced in an intuitive fashion. Jesse and Angie approaching musicians and writers they admired, letting the process run its own course. We have three new tracks written by Splendid, one of them Angie co -wrote with friend, Ben Lee, a track written by Frente's Simon Austin (possessing an otherworldly, almost Tim Burton-esque feel), a Pet Shop Boys cover, "Tomorrow We'll Wake" in its original demo version glory and two mixes by the band's current Aussie favourite, Machine Translation's J. Walker.