How did you first get into music?
Originally I wanted to be a professional soccer player, from the ages of 5-20 to be exact. I even went and played over in England and in China, but I got two huge injuries back to back which kept me on the treatment table for a combined 2 years and 2 months. During that time I spent injured, I felt super isolated because I had built my life and friendship groups around soccer. I was super bored and stressed because my injuries kept being misdiagnosed and I didn’t know if I’d ever recover. Since both of my parents were professional musicians we had guitars lying around the house, and I had some rudimentary skills, so I started writing songs to get some of my anxieties out. Then I started doing gigs to make some money on the side, and found that I actually enjoyed writing and performing music more than any career I could hope for in soccer.
You’ve recently completed an EP, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
So a while ago I thought I had met my future wife. It sounds melodramatic but if you’ve ever had that feeling when someone walks into your life and totally turns your world upside down over night, you know where I’m coming from. We quickly became best friends, but after a while it became obvious that she didn’t see me in any romantic context, and that was really hard to take. We actually didn’t part on the best of terms, although that’s fixed now. After getting some distance from it I think I’m a better person from the lessons I learnt about myself during that time, about who I am and not changing to fit someone else’s mould. The other souvenir I have were some songs I wrote about the unrequited love, and I thought placing them all together on an E.P would be a nice theme, to give people a bit of insight into who I am and where I’ve come from. After all, venting and connection to others is why I started writing in the first place! The sound is very much of my early influences, Crowded House, Jeff Buckley, Plain White T’s, early Ed Sheeran, The Killers.
How did you go about writing the music?
The songs didn’t come at first, I think the whole drama was a bit much to digest, but then honestly they came in all different ways. One I was jamming on a guitar at uni, another I was thinking in my bed late at night, one I was driving home from a singing practice and another I found an old chorus fragment which I hadn’t used!
Where and when did you record?
Down in Coolangatta last year at the end of winter. I remember because the days we planned to do vocals I came down with a cold!
Aria winner Govinda Doyle produced the EP, how did you come to work with Govinda and how was this experience?
Govinda was recommended to me through a friend, and I remember just feeling like we were on the same wave length with the song production. I had spoken to a few producers at that point, and they were really good, but Govinda started laying out suggestions for the songs and it was like he was taking the words right out of my mouth. He’s an amazing instrumentalist too, he actually played drums and bass on all the tracks. I knew he’d be good because he’s won ARIA’s and produced hits with Angus and Julia Stone, but seeing it in person was really something else.
What programs/instruments did you use to record?
Bass, drums, and a string section! Other than that nothing too crazy. Govinda’s got an epic collection of guitars, amps and pedals so mucking around on his Fender was a treat.
How did you approach the recording process?
Nervously! We had demos, reference tracks and did a pre-production day, but I think I wasn’t as helpful as I could’ve been because I didn’t trust the quality of my ideas. However, during the weeks between pre-production and actually recording, a friend and I released a bedroom produced song that got played on commercial radio in Queensland and Sydney! So I took it as a message that my production ideas could have validity too, and felt much more at ease after that.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the recording process?
Wanting to get the perfect takes was hard! As mentioned before I kept getting sick because of the long days where I’d drive from Brisbane to Coolangatta and back after every session. Our poor violin player had a terrible flu when he recorded his parts for ‘Look Away’. The most rewarding part was hearing the tracks go up another level from the demos, and it was a really profound thing to hear melodies and lyrics that I’d made up in my head actually come to life in a studio. I’d recommend that feeling to absolutely everyone.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Billie Freaking Eilish. I think she’s getting famous enough now where an anti-mainstream backlash will hit her soon, but credit where it’s due Billie and her brother have some serious talent. I was reliving vintage Arctic Monkeys and Panic at the Disco the other day too, in case someone’s just come out of a coma and hasn’t heard of them.
What do you like to do away from music?
I tutor a Burmese refugee family in English, and honestly it’s the highlight of my week. The 3 kids are all school age, and their exuberance and energy can really bring you out of a mood. The benefits are definitely mutual, and the whole refugee situation is something I feel very strongly about. Also for a long time I was volunteering at the AWLQ animal shelter near my house, but I’ve just put a pause on that while I finish my music degree. Other than that I’m a bit of a home-body, or just hang with my close friends. I really want to go somewhere in music so I try not to get too distracted.
What makes music special to you?
I’m currently answering this instead of working on 3 uni assessments that are due next week! Oh also followers of my social media will get a chance to hear a bunch of my unreleased music very soon!
What’s planned for 2019?
I have my single launch on May 16th, and the rest of my E.P to be released. Later in the year I have another E.P to follow it up as well, and I’m applying for touring grants down the East Coast. I’m finishing my music degree and will hopefully be able to channel that free time and education into my career, it feels a bit like I’ve been fighting one-handed so far.
You’re playing Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane on May 16, what do you have in store for this show?
It’s a bigger, better show than my first single launch. I love Black Bear as a venue, it was my first choice for the show with a great room and stage. I really pull out all the stops for my launch shows, so we’ve got dance bangers, saxophone, heaps of feature artists, new songs and new arrangements of old favourites. I also don’t want anyone to miss out on attending so you can actually choose what price to pay for your ticket! I’m asking for $10 but live your life. I’ve also got two award winning opening acts in Annie Joelle and Hoo Ha Hipsters so it’s really the place to be!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I’ve recently stopped eating meat and dairy, so I’ve been constantly starving working out the new diet. Anyone on a similar program should try the Deliciously Ella recipes online or on the iPhone app. If you want a great place to eat, hit up Eat Street Markets. I used to play shows there all the time and the port next to it actually inspired the opening lyric in my upcoming song ‘Look Away’.