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bond on the run 

Female string quartet doesn't take itself too seriously

bond is a glamorous, London-based female string quartet that blends familiar classical melodies with updated techno, disco and rock arrangements. The pedigreed, classically trained musicians -- Haylie Ecker (first violin), Eos Chater (second violin), Tania Davis (viola) and Gay-Yee Westerhoff (cello) -- are on a lengthy world tour to support their new album Classified, including a stop in Atlanta on Tuesday. After an overnight bus ride from Seattle to Sacramento, Haylie Ecker, the gregarious and effusive Australian member of bond (lowercase please), spoke with Creative Loafing about her life of bondage.

Creative Loafing: How did you guys, uh, bond?

Ecker: We were all studying music in London. I've known Tania since I was 15 years old. The other two were session players. We were all using classical instruments but in a pop realm, even then. We always had the concept that bond would be bond.

It's interesting how you take familiar melodies, often classically based, and turn them inside out.

The whole concept of bond is breaking down barriers and taking inspiration from all types of music. So it's really good to sort of pick out flavors from a lot of different music and meld them together.

And in the end, it's all pop music.

It is, definitely. We refer to ourselves as a pop group rather than a classical group. The tracks that we play are three-and-a-half or four minutes in length, so when we do take a bit of a melody, it's just a segment of it, so it's a bit of a catch, or a ... um, what do you call it?

The hook?

Yeah, but it's not Hooked on Classics!

What's bus life like for bond? From seeing your photos or videos, some people would fantasize that it's all glitter and boas.

We call it the Estrogen Bus Tour. The bus driver is a man and there's the sound guy, so I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing for them. We do our concert, then we change into our pajamas and have a glass of wine and we watch some DVDs. I think the Jagermeister came out a little later last night. But I was nowhere to be seen, of course.

What is a typical day like in bond-dom?

We've just been in Australia, and the album was No. 1 on the pop charts for three weeks there, so that was great. We were on every possible TV show and did magazine and radio interviews, so we'd wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning and we wouldn't go to bed till 11:30 or 12 at night, and that's quite exhausting. But when you're out just doing concerts, it's really nice; it's quite like a holiday. You do soundcheck at 3, have dinner and then do the show. It's like a day at the office, not!

I noticed your record company bio Decca/Kristian Schullerrefers to bond as "babes." Are you OK with being a babe?

Like, as in Babe the pig? (laughs) Oh, I don't mind. We're girls and we don't take ourselves that seriously, so it's OK.

That wacky bond sense of humor seems to permeate your whole image.

It does. And why not? We don't have anything to prove. No chips on our shoulders.

What has been the strangest thing a fan has said to you?

We protect each other. We usually hang out in a clan. So when there's four of us and one of someone else, it's quite intimidating. So they don't dare say anything!

The band name bond instantly conjures images of James Bond films and you perform the Bond theme occasionally. So what would your Bond girl name be?

Oh, I'd love to be Honey Rider. And there'd have to be a Pussy Galore.

Of course. And who would that be?

Oh, maybe Gay-Yee. (laughs) She's gonna kill me!

What about the others?

Tania would be Luscious Legs and Eos would be Voluptuous Vixen.

lee.smith@creativeloafing.com


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