Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne is definitely a city that enthuses night culture with a thriving music scene. There’s a lot happening with plenty of places to play and showcase for all different kinds of music. This weekend I’m paying a visit to shows featuring WILSN & FEELDS.
Music is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I think from the moment I figure out how good it felt to belt out a tune I was hooked. I started playing piano when I 7 and got creative with it early on, breaking the rules and trying things my teachers had not taught me to do… like clashing notes and making quirky sounds. I probably wasn’t the best student – but I did just love music and I pushed myself into knowing how to structure a pop song really young. And then I guess never looked back.
At the moment I’m juggling a few things (as a lot of us are) but I’d love to take this opportunity to talk about a show I’m curating called Leading Lights. Basically, I pull together a bunch of different singer/songwriters with varying genres and get them to perform and share their stories in an intimate environment. One to two of their songs in each set is then collaborate on by another artist on the lineup. It’s so beautiful to watch these incredibly magic humans work alongside each other, lifting each other up and also work with me on shaking up the ordinary gigging standards. The next show I’m working on will be around September/October. I can’t share the artists we’ve been chatting with but we’ve previously had some incredible musicians come and share their stories with us including Ruby Gill, Alana Wilkinson, Taylah Carroll, Eaglemont, Billy Barker and more.
The recording of this track was actually very different to how I wrote it. I wrote it on piano and shared it live on stage for quite some time. I felt like people had really seen this side of me, time and time again, so I decided to sit down with my guitarist, Nelson Yeung, and work on a completely different sound that still managed to capture the raw emotion in this song. Nelson is really the magic here. I don’t know how this happens but I’m so lucky to be working with someone who is able to just fill in the gaps and give a song just what it needs. Sometimes, we can really over-do the production and I think Nelson really understood the simplistic way in which this song needed to be fleshed out. I didn’t listen to anything in the lead up to recording. Just went with my gut and got it done.
haha. It is definitely that sad-girl break up song that a lot of people are so familiar with. But it comes at it from a completely different angle. I really didn’t start dealing with my emotions until 6 or more months after breaking up with my partner of 7 years. I literally remember writing December in a matter of minutes and then thinking like holy shit… I have not processed any of this and I’m really hurting. Normally, when something huge happens in your life, your about 100 songs in and ready to write the fuck about something else. But this I could not face for a really long time. Obviously there comes a time when you’re really ready, and my only way of knowing how I’m feeling about anything is to sing. Singing, even without words, helps to express myself and realise what’s going on inside.
Where and when did you record/produce and who did you work with?
I was having a hard time working out what I really wanted to do after releasing a single last November 2019, called History. I do really want to do record and produce another EP at some stage but I just don’t have it in me right now, there’s so much going on and I feel like I wouldn’t be able to focus properly. With December, I sat down with Nelson in his bedroom and said I just want to keep uploading music this year. More and more music. Let’s keep it all raw and simple, and I’m not going to do any paid promotion… just send it out into cyber space and hope that someone, somewhere will relate to it and share their story back with me. So, it means so much to me to do this interview and that people have been so kind in sharing the song, Thank you! The track was mixed by good friend Andy Shanahan (Client Liasion, Oskar Proy, The Printer Convention) and mastered by Jacob Munnery (Clockwork Audio Mastering) and they both also understood the direction so well, I hardly had to put in any input here at all.
I’m so sorry. I feel like I start answering these questions already hehe. Other than what I’ve mentioned above, I’m really able to be vulnerable and confront grief better as I get older and I wanted my music this year to represent that. I also wanted to try and do it in a way that you didn’t really notice that it didn’t have more elements in the production. It’s literally guitars and vocals but I still wanted it to sound full. This is all thanks to the beautiful humans mentioned above, Nelson, Andy and Jacob!
December was recorded in Nelson’s bedroom in about an hour or two, I think. I only did 2 vocal takes and then we picked the first one. Usually I’m in a studio, and funnily enough I feel like there’s not enough time to get things done. I almost always feel really uncomfortable and nervous in a studio and I think that’s why I was happy with only doing 2 vocal takes with Nelson – I felt like I was in a safe space to just tell my story. In the past, I’ve focused on polishing songs and layering tracks and selecting the lead vocal from like 50 takes. I’ve realised doing that, for me, takes so much out of the delivery and performances and December just didn’t need to be messed around it. I wanted the vocal to really focus on the story being told. Sometimes, as an artist, you can work so hard on making something that it becomes too overwhelming to put out into the world. I don’t think I would have released the song at all if I spent more time on it.
WILSN and FEELDS – getting pumped for their shows this weekend 🙂
Cook… and then eat. I really like food. People think I like cooking because I do it so often, but I really just love eating and surprising my mouth with yummy goodness.
Unplanned. I think I will continue to keep releases spontaneous this year but you never know. I stress too much and put a lot of pressure on myself so I think I’ll just keep writing, recording and sharing it around with you all. Hope that’s ok. It’s not really how the industry says you’re “supposed” to do it – but I don’t think there is any right or wrong way.
Writing. Retreats. Collaborating. Who want to write?
I’m playing two songs in Melbourne next month to celebrate December. July 5th and July 20th. You can grab tickies from my website below.
Dumplings (veggie and pan fried only – you steamed dumpling people are strange) and Home.