Doko and her creative partner James Roche hope to keep the momentum of their reunion going. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Doko and her creative partner James Roche hope to keep the momentum of their reunion going. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Bachelor Girl reignite their 90s pop duo

BACHELOR Girl's Tania Doko and James Roche know it is virtually impossible to make pop lightning striking twice.

And they don't care.

The duo who ruled the airwaves with their unforgettable break-up ballad Buses and Trains released their comeback single Speak this week on the 20th anniversary of their monster hit.

Buses and Trains staked its claim in the Australian songbook as one of the most played songs on our airwaves over the past 25 years last year, just as Bachelor Girl were secretly working on new songs in Sweden where Doko has lived for the past seven years.

Bachelor Girl soundtracked 1998 with their hit Buses and Trains. Picture: News Corp Australia.
Bachelor Girl soundtracked 1998 with their hit Buses and Trains. Picture: News Corp Australia.

While they called time out on the duo in 2004, gigging occasionally and releasing a career retrospective since then, their reunion for an Australia Day concert in 2016 reignited their creative partnership.

Roche said they wrote a new song, along with local hitmakers DNA, the day after that gig.

"We had a great day and it was that enjoyment, the chemistry, the creativity between us which reminded me this was the reason we got together in the first place," he said.

For Doko, who established herself as a go-to composer in Sweden, the world capital for pop hitmakers, a desire to return to the stage motivated her to resurrect Bachelor Girl.

"I really missed performing live. I'm always writing songs and I had done bits and pieces of touring here and there," she said.

"But to do it with James, who really does know when I am going to breathe, made sense; we're still so connected even though there has been years apart.

"Singing to my son Leo, who is almost four, was enough for a few years but I started thinking I really need to get back out there, particularly as he started saying 'shoosh, shoosh, mum.' Listen kid, people used to pay good money for this."

Doko was keen to get back on the road. Picture: News Corp Australia.
Doko was keen to get back on the road. Picture: News Corp Australia.

When Bachelor Girl began teasing their reunion on social media, they were grateful to find there were thousands of fans eager to hear what they were up to.

Doko said they knew it would be tough to reclaim the popularity of the duo in the late 1990s.

"It's not easy to start again in terms of the industry, so there's a lot of reasons to not even bother," Doko said.

"We've been away for 10 years, so the reasons you would do it have to be authentic or you can't stand against the odds to reignite the fans.

"We fell off before the digital world was happening so to find your fans takes a lot of effort, of telling the world you are back. And we're getting them back."

While their early career, including Buses and Trains, documented what Doko called her twenty-something "heartbreak stories", the older and wiser pair are tapping into a deeper emotional vein with Speak.

The song advocates an RUOK? message, encouraging people to disconnect with devices and social media to check in with those who might be suffering mental illness, bullying or other emotional crises.

"The song comes from a place where there's a real conversation, not just on Twitter or Facebook, but two people in a room, old school, having a deep and meaningful," Roche said.

"And one person is really troubled, they are beset by something and it's an invitation to get something off their chest. We all know the relief that comes from that."

Doko said Speak also resonated strongly for her because of a death in her family.

"We have had suicide rock our family and I have been observing members of my family not speak about it, the shame and guilt around it and it's been terrible what they have had to deal with," she said.

"And also the fact we didn't speak to my uncle, who was in his 80s and had Alzheimer's; suicide at that age is more rife than you think.

"That was going around in the background for me."

The duo hope Speak finds a big enough audience to continue the momentum of their reunion with future singles and a possible tour later this year.

If you are experiencing mental health issues or suicidal feelings contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue 1300 224 636, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Headspace on 1800 650 890. If it is an emergency call 000.



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