Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
For the past 6 years I’ve been based in Alice Springs, which is known in Arrernte as Mparntwe. The Arrernte people are the traditional custodians of Mparntwe.
Mparntwe/Alice Springs is a unique place that attracts diverse, interesting people which is reflected in its vibrant music scene. There are supportive ‘everyone have a go’ open mic nights, andbig festivals like ‘Wide Open Space’ and metal festival ‘Blacken’. There is experimental electronic music, bush bands from Aboriginal communities singing in language, an African women’s choir, DIY bush doofs…I could go on…
How did you first start playing music?
My parents got me into guitar lessons at primary school when I was about 10 years old. It was peak Spice Girls/Backstreet Boys era, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic but learnt the basics, before quitting in my first year of high school. In my early teens, I got into rock music and I picked up the guitar again, with the desire to learn to sing and play my favourite songs. Writing my own songs grew from there.
What’s been happening recently?
Right now, I’m at the end of the second day of my 2,297km solo drive from Alice Springs to Melbourne. This is the beginning of my EP Launch Tour. Before I left I played a very heartening EP Launch show in Mparntwe/Alice Springs to a supportive home crowd.
Your self titled EP is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
It was really important to me that each song on the EP created the right atmosphere. I wanted the listener to be able to immerse into the feeling created by the song. So this was the main influence on the sound of the EP. Sonically, I was also influenced by Angel Olsen, PJ Harvey and Melody’s Echo Chamber.
How did you go about writing the music for the EP?
Being my first release, the EP brings together songs that were written over a number of years. The songs on the EP reflect on the creative process – inspiration, struggle and release. From the struggle that is involved in putting your art out there. To cathartic release I’ve experienced when songwriting and performing.
Where and when did you record?
The majority of the EP was recorded last year in Mparntwe/Alice Springs with Dave Crowe (Resin Moon) at Sing Hum studio which is based at artist-run gallery Watch This Space.
Who did you work with during the creation and recording/producing for the EP?
In early 2018, I put together a band of local musicians- Rob Wards (drums), Nick Raymond (bass guitar) and Dave Crowe (synth). I recorded my own rough demos of the EP tracks and brought the demos to the band. My demos would generally have ideas for the guitar, drums, synth and bass parts. We further developed the arrangements together as a band.
I worked with local producer Dave Crowe (Resin Moon) who recorded the EP in his studio. My collaboration with Melbourne producer Evelyn Ida Morris grew out of a remote artist mentorship, which began with fortnightly Skype chats, and progressed to me traveling to Melbourne in March to work with Evelyn on the mixing of the EP.
What programs/instruments did you use?
On the EP I do the vocals, play electric guitar, a bit of keyboard and had fun with a reverb drenched clarinet line – having not played much clarinet since high school. The EP also features my band on drums, bass guitar and synth. It was fantastic to be able to bring in some local guest musicians who played flugelhorn, french horn, trumpet and cello.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding whilst working on this EP?
It is challenging to know when to let go of your creations. At times I felt that I could go on refining and adding to the recordings and the mixes forever. There were many rewarding moments, what stands out in my mind now is listening to the final mix and master in my headphones, while walking up a hill in the bush land near by where I live, and realising it has all come together.
What are your plans for the EP?
It was so exciting to release the EP out into the world, just over a week ago, and to launch it in Mparntwe/Alice Springs. It was a dream come true to be able to print the EP on vinyl. I can’t wait to share it on my EP Launch Tour.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love reading, taking our dog Bowie for a jog in the bush near my house, and sharing a meal and wine with friends.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Today, on day two of my solo drive from Alice Springs to Melbourne, I was listening to South Korean band JAMBINAI. It surprisingly was the perfect accompaniment to the rugged vast landscape, and particularly the stretch where the red sand dunes meet a glimmering salt lake.
Otherwise, lately I’ve been listening to Sharon Van Etten’s deliciously dark and synth-filled new album, SASAMI, Jenny Hval and Kevin Morby.
You’ve got a few tour dates lined up, where are you headed and what do you have in store for these shows?
I’m pumped to be playing in Brunswick, my old stomping ground, on 22 August at The Retreat Hotel supported by Hannah Potter and Numbat. Followed by a road trip to Adelaide, where I’m playing an afternoon show at the Grace Emily Hotel supported by Elli Belle on 1 September. I’m also playing Darwin Festival, a free show at the Festival Hub, on 16 August.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019 going into 2020?
After the EP Launch Tour, I’m planning on doing some overseas travel to recharge my batteries. And when I return, I’ll focus in on songwriting and planning the next phase.
Any secrets that you care to share?
The lyrics of ‘Feast’, the most angst filled track on the EP, were actually written on day two of a yoga and meditation retreat. Not what I would have expected to come out of that experience. But worked for me in the end I guess?!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I lived in Melbourne for 6 years before moving to Alice. For me, Melbourne is synonymous with good food. However, Alice has opened me up to the joy of dinner parties, cooking and sharing food with friends. I’m avoiding the question of what is my favourite…up there would have to be the blissful combination of ‘fancy’ cheese and a bottle of good red wine.