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Gemma Ray

What’s your favourite song for inspiration? The opening of At Last by Etta James, the way the strings set up the song is always something I come back to. I would love to make someone feel how I do when I hear that – it makes me melt every time and I become so completely transported into the song that follows. And pretty much anything by Lee Hazlewood, he has the perfect balance of everything I love about songwriting, production and storytelling.
 
What’s your favourite song to play on guitar? I’ve never really been into learning other guitar riffs and songs, I'm too impatient. From my own material, Caldera, Caldera! is fun to play live, it always feels good to play something quite cartoony. I also like playing The Machine and Ifs and Buts as there is space to improvise with the solos and make whacked out soundscapes and a lot of interplay with my bandmates.
 
What’s your favourite song to sing? What A Lonely Way To Start The Summertime by The Bittersweets. Such a high drama entrance melody, leading into a big soulful teenage strop/frenzy that’s all over in two minutes.
 
What’s your favourite film? Fearless Vampire Killers - directed by Roman Polanski, score by Krzysztof Komeda.I love this film, especially the atmosphere of the music. I tried to emulate the strange pulsing oscillation that the female choir singers do when I was recording my song Trou de Loup. I failed but ended up with something totally different and ethereal instead.

Gemma Ray performs the first instalment of NGV Friday Nights for Van Gogh and the Seasons at the NGV Great Hall on Friday April 28.