FourPlay String Quartet is an indie rock band that just happen to be a string quartet. They began their professional lives entering a UNSW Band Competition, then surprised themselves by winning. Their trajectory from there was fast and decisive, the band rapidly being booked for major festivals while selling out club gigs across Australia. Their first album Catgut Ya Tongue? was one of the most successful independent releases of the late ’90s, seeing the band self-distribute their albums through a PO Box, a fax machine, and a rather punk/DIY attitude.
FourPlay started by performing covers predominantly by a diverse array of artists: The Strokes, Rage Against The Machine, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen, Robert Johnson, Sufjan Stevens, and many, many more.
They went on to tour the world, play the album Pet Sounds with Brian Wilson, collaborate with Plaid (Warp/UK) on a live filmscore to the animated feature Tekkonkinkreet, create live comic books scores, perform at three TEDx Sydney events, and most recently collaborate with wildly popular author Neil Gaiman.
The Gaiman collaboration was originally created for a live performance commissioned by the Sydney Opera House’s Graphic Festival, but Gaiman enjoyed the project rather a lot. So, it was recorded, Eddie Campbell — the illustrator of the work — painted 65 new pieces, and it became a book, an e-book and a CD released worldwide by Harper Collins and William Morrow, the performance recently taking them to sold out audiences at such esteemed venues as Carnegie Hall (New York) and the Barbican Centre (London).
Now, FourPlay return from wowing audiences at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Centre with their new album, This Machine — the next step in the evolution of the string quartet as songwriters.
What’s in store? Epic soundscapes, rock ‘n’ roll, chainsawing violas, jazz, eastern influences, pop songs.
It’s been eighteen years since the first FourPlay album, and the band has certainly come of age. The four members (brothers Peter and Tim Hollo, Lara Goodridge and Shenzo Gregorio) have lived their lives together, played at some of the world’s most famous venues and festivals, and spent countless hours writing and jamming together — all of which has created a rare synergy and an unspoken understanding in how they go about their work. FourPlay’s sound and musicality has matured and evolved, resulting in a truly original album, which will cement their growing national and international reputation as an eclectic and diverse musical tour de force.
This Machine was recorded, co-produced and mixed by Tony Buchen (Evans, Megan Washington, Andy Bull, Ronan Keating, The John Butler Trio, Dereb the Ambassador) and features new artwork by Dave McKean (Neil Gaiman, Heston Blumenthal, Richard Dawkins).
Since FourPlay began in 1995, some personnel changes have occurred: In late 1995, original violinist Philippa Allan left the band to pursue a career as a classical violinist. Lara Goodridge joined in her place, lending her beautiful vocals to the band as well as her songwriting and violin-playing talents. In 1999, at the end of FourPlay’s first European tour, founding member Chris Emerson left, also to pursue a classical career, and Veren Grigorov joined FourPlay on viola shortly after. Veren wrote a number of brilliant gypsy-inspired originals, and stayed in the band until mid-2004, when Shenton Gregory aka Shenzo Gregorio, replaced him, bringing his spectacular soloing skills and a fresh enthusiasm to complete the current line-up.
During FourPlay’s history, the band has supported a wide range of bands, both Australian and international, including The Whitlams, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Corrs, Savage Garden, The Screaming Jets, and many more. FourPlay have also recorded strings for, and played live with a variety of acts including The Whitlams, george, Gerling, X, Jodi Phillis, JuJu Space Jazz, the Stiff Gins, Skunkhour, and the list goes on…
Lara Goodridge (violin & vocals)
As a singer and violinist, Lara has worked in many genres and areas with a vast range of experience in her 20 years as a professional musician. As well as being a member of FourPlay, Lara is “Lulu” of the knockout French singing band Baby et Lulu (with Abby Dobson of Leonardo’s Bride fame and a standout band of Sydney’s finest musicians) which has enjoyed much success over the past couple of years. Baby et Lulu has delighted audiences around Australia including major festivals such as Womadelaide, Melbourne Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Port Fairy Music Festival and critically acclaimed sold out shows at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
She is a highly sought after session musician who has contributed vocals and violin to many recordings and live performances of diverse genres. Some examples are Glen Hansard (The Frames, The Swell Season), Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Bill Callahan (SMOG), The Church, The Whitlams, Leonardo’s Bride, electro pop producer Josh Abrahams, folk pop singer Josh Pyke, Australian country duo The Noll Brothers, James Blundell and acoustic blues acts Karma County and Jimmy Little. She has opened shows for The Corrs, Savage Garden, Youssou N’Dour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Art Garfunkel, Lunasa, Leo Kottke, Luka Bloom, to name a few. She continues to perform with musicians on a regular basis, including Abby Dobson, Miriam Lieberman and more.
Lara also has a strong background doing session work in theatre and film soundtracks working on Baz Luhrman films (guide vocals for Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge) and the plays The Recruiting Officer (Sydney Theatre Company) and The Little Cherry Orchard (Belvoir Street).
Lara founded a record label (which ran until 2009, at which time she had her son) called Craving Records supporting women singer songwriters in Australia. She released albums by Tania Bowra, Greta Gertler, Abby Dobson, Jackie Bristow and Kara Grainger. Lara holds a masters in French, a bachelor degree in Russian, French and Spanish and a diploma of languages in Yiddish.
Shenton Gregory aka Shenzo Gregorio (viola & vocals)
Shenzo started to play the violin at age 4 and picked up the viola 10 years ago when he first joined Fourplay String Quartet. He received his AmusA on Violin and a classical Violin Degree from the QLD Conservatorium in 1997.
Shenzo is now a full-time freelance multi-instrumentalist, composer and Music Director with a number of arts organisations and ensembles within Australia.
He composed and musically directed Opera Australia’s first indigenous musical, which went on to win the award for Best Community event in Australia in 2013. He also musically directed James Morrison and Graeme Connors for the 2013 QLD Music Festival production Tambo – Heart of an Open Country. He has also composed another three musicals prior, including Charters Towers The Musical (QLD music Festival 2005), Coorparoo Skate (Brisbane Festival 2008), Fire Water (Vivid Festival 2009), and a total of six mini operas with Wot Opera. Wot Opera is Australia’s only privately funded opera company dedicated to giving selected high school students the opportunity to compose their own opera, of which Shenzo continues to be MD/composer and keyboardist.
Shenzo currently performs with Australia’s leading percussionist Ben Walsh in his orchestral project ‘Orkestra of the Underground’, a 16 piece ensemble that requires each musician to have excellent reading and improvising skills in multiple styles of music. The orchestra has worked with Oscar winning animator Shaun Tan and with India’s top musicians touring Australia and India.
From 1999 to 2013 Shenzo created and performed his world first performance act ‘Shenzo Gregorio – Stunt violinist’ where the combination of high wire aerial stunts meets classical violin. A band was created (Shenzo’s Electric Stunt Orchestra), which went on to extensively tour Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Notably, playing suspended 27 metres high inside Sydney’s iconic Queen Victoria Building made world wide news on the 27th of June 2011.
Having freelanced professionally since 1997, Shenzo has performed in concert with Natalie Cole, James Morrison, Leo Sayer, Neil Gaiman, John Walters, Elena Kats-Chernin, Graeme Connors, Smokey Dawson, Greg Sheehan, Casey Donavan, Bobby Singh, Katie Noonan, Maggie Noonan, Johnny Diesel, Flamenco Fire, Monsieur Camembert, Bandaluzia, Gerard Mapstone, Alesa Lajana, Laique, All Jigged out, Lyndon Terrachini, The Date Brothers, Il Divo, The Ten Tenors, Christine Anu, Shellie Morris, The Tango Saloon, and supported international acts such as Mariah Carey, Mike Patton, Leo Kottke, and the Buena Vista Social Club.
Tim Hollo (viola & vocals)
Tim started studying violin at the age of 6, picking up the viola at 16. He was awarded the Sir Charles Mackerras Music scholarship to Sydney Grammar School in 1987 and AMusA in 1991, was principal viola and sectional tutor of the SBS Youth Orchestra from 1996 to 1998, and was selected for membership of the Australian Youth Orchestra from 1994 to 1996.
Founding FourPlay with Peter in 1995, he has since recorded and performed live with Jodi Phillis, george, Jimmy Little, Stiff Gins, Karma County, Deborah Conway, The Whitlams, David Lane, Primary, Paul Mac and Paul McDermott, Glovebox, Max Sharam, The Klezmer Extravaganza Orchestra, Company B Belvoir, the Sydney Theatre Company and many, many more.
Tim is a committed environmentalist, campaigning on climate change since 2000 for Greenpeace, 350.org, The Greens and others. He was Director of Communications for Christine Milne, sits on the board of Greenpeace Australia Pacific and appears regularly on political panels on Sky TV and ABC News 24. Tim’s impetus led to FourPlay’s efforts to reduce our environment impact, including reducing energy use and transport, packaging our CDs in recycled card and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency through www.climatefriendly.com.
In 2013, Tim founded Green Music Australia, a not-for-profit organisation working to help the music industry green up its act, reducing climate pollution and waste streams, replacing hot stage lights with LEDs, plastic water bottles with good old fashioned jugs and glasses, thinking about cleaner transport options and more.
Tim has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Environmental Law. His passion for theatre combined with his love for music led to him Directing and Musical Directing various plays and musicals such as The Threepenny Opera and Guys and Dolls for the NSW University Theatrical Society and the Footlight Theatre Company.
Tim’s proudest creative achievements, however, are his two beautiful daughters, both of whom are showing budding talent as performers!
Peter Hollo (cello & vocals)
Peter has been playing music since the age of six and cello since he was eight. He received his LMusA on cello in 1994. Peter was lead cellist and sectional tutor in the SBS Youth Orchestra for many years, and played in the Australian Youth Orchestra (1995-1996) as well as in the Camerata of the AYO in 1996.
Peter creates experimental music as raven using cello, piano and electronics, and recently formed two new ensembles: post-everything improv group Tangents with Ollie Bown (of Icarus), Adrien Lim-Klumpes (3ofmillions, ex-Triosk) and Evan Dorrian (of Spartak), and indietronica trio Haunts with Greg Stone and Matt Furnell of Underlapper. Live, he sometimes performs with live laptop processing, but just as frequently uses a primitive looping pedal, and while he adopts every extended technique available to coax unusual sounds out of his cello, the aesthetic qualities of melody, harmony and rhythm the instrument makes available are never far away.
He has recorded and played live with many artists including (but not limited to): Oren Ambarchi, Neil Gaiman, the Hinterlandt Arkestra, Sophie Hutchings, Jimmy Little, Manyfingers, Monsieur Camembert, Ollo, Part Timer, Mark Pritchard, Kevin Purdy, Saddleback, Sub Bass Snarl, Holly Throsby, The Whitlams, X.
Peter was responsible for putting together the groundbreaking FourPlay remix project Digital Manipulation. On Sunday nights Peter hosts a 3-hour show on Sydney’s FBi Radio called Utility Fog, which explores “postfolkrocktronica” (a term he’s created to cover music from post-rock to experimental electronica, especially music on the cusp between digital and acoustic). He also writes music reviews for Sydney-based electronic music magazine Cyclic Defrost.
Peter has completed a BSc/BA from UNSW — gaining first class honours in Philosophy and Pure Maths in 1996 — and is also a qualified book editor. Outside of music, he is web services manager at a respected medical publisher. Peter is also responsible for the creation and upkeep of the FourPlay webpages, and administers the server that hosts it along with various other sites. Peter can be found on Twitter