Describing her musical style is a difficult task for Sarah-Jane Wentzki, but I was glad when she brought up that particular comparison, because I surely would have. As Princess One Point Five, Sarah-Jane has been receiving wide acclaim for her third and latest album ‘Vous Je Vous’ since its release in February. Sarah-Jane explains that working under the Princess One Point Five moniker gives her more musical flexibility.
‘I’ve been playing in bands and in pubs since I was fifteen in various different forms. This one started out as a solo project and it’s ended up being a band. Sometimes I’ll do experimental noise with someone under some other name. Princess One Point Give will be a solo thing, or sometimes it will be a two piece, or sometimes it will be a band, or who knows? Keeping it adaptable and exciting and fresh is just really important for its sustainability and longevity.’
For this reason, audiences will always be in for something special when they see a Princess One Point Five show. At the core are Sarah-Jane and long time collaborator and band member Richard Andrew, but some shows on the band’s recent album release tour incorporate a full-band line up, including new bass player Ben Grounds, formerly of Bluebottle Kiss.
‘We’re hopefully going to bring our bass player along… We’re becoming quite attached,’ Sarah-Jane muses. ‘Richard and I have a great time on stage, but with Ben, it’s really playful. It would be great to have him there and I really miss bass when it’s not there now.’
The Vous Je Vous national release tour, which included a stop at the Apollo Bay Music Festival, seemed as lovingly planned and crafted as Princess One Point Five’s songs. Sarah-Jane agreed.
‘After years of playing every show that came along, and not necessarily enjoying it so much, I thought it was far more important to try to stay as passionate about the music that I was doing as possible. I wanted to keep it as something a bit magical, and not this marketable commodity that everyone’s trying to get their claws into.’
Despite her views, though, commercial interest in Princess One Point Five’s haunting pop-rock has been strong, with songs now appearing on a promotional giveaway for a banking company, and on the soundtrack that comes preloaded into the stereo of a fleet of luxury cars. I wondered if Princess One Point Five had ever appeared somewhere unexpected.
‘Sometimes I’ll be reading through a magazine, I’ll go “Woo! That’s me!”’ Sarah-Jane squeals in mock-alarm. ‘It’s really strange. I did get quite a shock when there was a photo of me on a banner up on i-Tunes. I nearly had a heart attack. It was quite odd… But that was back in the days when I wasn’t really that savvy about the business side of stuff.’
These days, Princess One Point Five takes the music business much more seriously, with Sarah-Jane participating in, and being awarded, one of John Butler’s JB Seed grants.
‘It was a great experience,’ Sarah-Jane recalls the programme. ‘We had three days’ intensive training on how to be your own artist in an industry that’s really cut-throat, and came out of it with a really firm sense of creating a community.’
The grant was one of only a number of accolades that have come by Princess One Point Five, but Sarah-Jane insists that it is still the music that keeps her engaged.
‘What I try to keep paramount is the songs,’ she admits. ‘I love being able to get lost in the song writing or playing.’
‘Vous Je Vous’ is out now, and touring details are available at www.princessonepointfive.com.
From Buzz Magazine July 2008.