Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m based on the Central Coast and have been since I started playing. It’s a bit of a hub for singer/songwriters with a lot of markets and pubs to come through in terms of gigs. That’s certainly how I got into playing here, and there’s a define creating culture as lead by local organisations such as Musicians Making A Difference.
How did you first start playing guitar and singing?
I first sang when I was 8 years old at my school in a Michael Jackson tribute show- where I wore a black wig and sung ABC. I started playing guitar and writing songs at around the same time when I was 12, almost immediately after getting into busking and market gigs around the coast.
What do you most enjoy about music?
The two main things I enjoy about music are writing and playing live. I love lyrics and music and get such a fulfilment out of playing my songs to an audience and connecting to a crowd. That feeling has only amplified further since playing with my band in Indy Linzbichler and Grace Labrum.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I love singer/songwriters with Bob Dylan probably being my biggest influence in music… I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Paul Kelly recently and just in awe at his lyricism and storytelling.
What have you been working on recently?
My Thoughts EP that I am so proud to have released now has been my biggest project recently. From writing these songs, to arranging them with the band, recording and the processes that are involved with that have had my biggest attention. I’m so keen to hit the road and play these songs live with the band.
I hear that you built a recording studio with some of the money that you won from Australia’s Got Talent, where did you build the studio?
The studio is built in Berkeley Vale on the Central Coast about 20 minutes from my house. It was such a fun experience building that up with my Dad, and definitely more rewarding to have a sense of pride in the space.
How did you go about designing the layout of the studio and what programs / equipment / instruments did you include in the initial setup?
The roof is slanted which is great as it stops the sound bouncing around as much. We put in bass traps and sound foam which helps a bit too. There’s a drum kit there and amps for bass and guitars. I use Logic Pro X and have a few cool plugins too.
Do you work with anybody else during recording sessions?
I work solo and also with my band, but definitely keen to have more people come over and collaborate!
What have you been up to in the studio since it was setup?
As soon as it was set up the band and I played a gig there which was sold to the 30 people capacity haha. That was a sick night to preview some of the songs of my new record.
It’s been amazing to have the studio to write, practise and record demos. I’ve been up there every day and it’s such a great space to have for rehearsals with my band too.
What are your future plans for the studio?
One of the songs off my EP I recorded myself; so I’m definitely going to continue to get better at recording and production and write songs there every day. We’ll probably do more gigs there for fun and look to build the gear as well.
You had a contract with Sony, how was this experience?
It was definitely a great learning experience and I’m still grateful to Sony. I guess I was looking to have a more long term plan around the music I wanted to release, which has been quite different to the usual ‘TV show’ path. I think ultimately this is why I’m now independent, which for me means I can release the music I want to make in the way that holds the most value to me.
You have a new EP ‘Thoughts’ coming out on April 5, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this EP?
This Thoughts EP has been hugely influenced by my experiences over the past few years. From feeling like I’m owning my music more now and my own personal spiritual journey. Lyrically, the songs go into my opinions on things such as the psychology of a hater, expressing honesty and passion, and allowing myself to contemplate and question things such as the education system and politics to name a few. Musically I’m largely influenced by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jeff Buckley and Arctic Monkeys.
How did you go about writing the music?
I wrote these songs in my bedroom by myself, which made it all the more interesting to hear how it came together with the band. I wrote usually lyrics and music together, as I feel it lets each compliment the other.
Where and when did you record and who did you work with?
I recorded Thoughts with my band at Studios 301 with Tim Carr at the end of last year. He mixed 2 tracks and the other 3 were mixed with Gus Bonic of Emerald Point Studios.
What do you have planned for ‘Thoughts’?
The 5 track record is something I’m extremely proud of. Planning on pushing this with a couple of tours around the country, and also video series that explains some of the lyrics and themes behind the songs.
What did you find most rewarding and challenging during the songwriting and recording process?
It’s definitely rewarding when it all comes together in both a writing and recording sense. Some songs instantly feel good and others take time to grow. There were aspects of getting the mixes right that I found challenging but ultimately I’m stoked with the final product. It was also challenging to capture the emotion when I went to re-record ‘Letters’, which is why a live take of that I did in my bedroom is what is on the ep.
You’re going on tour soon, where are you headed and what can we expect from these shows?
The band and I will be playing shows at:
Sat 6 Apr – Avoca Beach Hotel (Central Coast)
Sun 14 Apr – Going Off At The Swamp (Central Coast)
Sun 21 Apr – Seaview Tavern (Woolgoolga, NSW)
Fri 3 May – Some Velvet Morning (Melbourne)
Sun 5 May – The Newsagency (Sydney).
Also dates for June/July to be announced.
Can expect a variety of both riff-driven band songs and also more intimate singer/songwriter style with poetic like social commentary. We love to have a lot of fun and interact with an audience, so each show will bring something new!
How do you prepare for each live show?
We do a lot of practice together as a band at the new studio… but for me personally, I try to make sure I’m healthy and connected to the purpose of the show.
On top of everything you are also in your final year of High School, how do you manage your school and music / touring?
Music is definitely my main priority and I treat school as a bit of a blessing to learn things that I feel are beneficial to me. I do what’s called ‘pathways’, meaning I can do the HSC over a few more years to give me more time to dedicate to music.
What do you like to do away from music?
My biggest passion outside of music is definitely surfing. Whenever I get some free time or take a breather from music I always turn to the ocean. I live across the road from the beach, so it’s a huge part of my life and identity.
Any secrets that you care to share?
I couldn’t be more open and honest than I am in my new Thoughts EP, so my music reflects as honest as I can be.
What’s planned for 2019?
This EP is a big tick off my list for plans this year, along with the shows we’ve got coming up. I’m really keen for that. Will finish this year of school and write a whole bunch of songs to work toward the next record.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I love pineapple and hanging out in my studio or the beach.