Where are you currently based?
I am currently based in Melbourne (having moved from Geelong as of a few months ago).
How did you first start playing music?
I always enjoyed singing as a child; if anyone has seen the movie ‘Three Amigos’ my family used to call me ‘the singing bush’ as a joke. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was about 13 or 14. The reason I started playing guitar is actually kind of embarrassing, at the time I was watching an anime called ‘K-On!’ (a play on the Japanese term for ‘light music’) and it’s basically a cute show about a group of high school girl’s who join their school’s light music club and make a band. As a teen I just thought the idea of girls jamming and making music together was the coolest, so I picked up an old guitar my dad had lying around and the rest is history. Since then I have also been learning more piano to help me write songs.
What’s been happening recently?
Pre-COVID I had been playing a bunch of shows with my band (including Queenscliff Music Festival and supporting Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird), live music opportunities have obviously dried up recently but I have enjoyed participating in the new live stream projects that people have been creating. As an introvert being in isolation has honestly been a great time for me to recharge, write new songs and reassess what I want to do going forward with clarity (although I am missing playing and seeing live music).
Your single ‘Humans Weep’ will be out in August, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
Sonically, this is a pretty new direction for me. When I started writing this song in 2018 I had begun to listen to more alternative R&B, which was a stark contrast to the folk/jazz influences on my EP (strange combo, I know). From the beginning, I wanted to convey a sense of monotony in the song due to its themes of apathy towards life and I tried to do this by using fewer chords and focusing on the arrangement to drive the song. This purposeful choice was honestly pretty restraining for me as I normally try to embellish songs with chord/key/rhythm changes, so to keep it interesting was a challenge. However, this lets the lyrics shine through which I believe are the strongest part of the song. The monotony of the verse also allows the chorus to really open up. Even then, the main melody in the chorus is sung in a low key, vulnerable and intimate way, which I wanted to keep fairly dry.
Aesthetically, I pictured dusk/dawn landscapes that I wanted to somehow convey through sound. The tension between light and dark. To me the warm yet mellow guitar and electric keys contrasting with the cold sounding violin illustrates this tension. Whether you can hear that imagery or not I can’t say, but I love the result regardless. Additionally, the effects on the second guitar in the background add those spacey-dreamy vibes. The cricket sounds towards the end of the song are the final touch in creating this “dusky aesthetic”. As we all know, cricket sounds are often used to emphasise silence in media (often for comic effect), which I felt further teased at the sarcasm of ‘Humans Weep’ while also implying silence in an intimate way. Overall, the sonic vision for this song is an audible departure from the acoustic nature and intensity on my debut EP.
How did you go about writing Humans Weep?
‘Humans Weep’ is written from the perspective of being overwhelmed to the point of apathy. I wrote this song in what was the aftermath of a pivotal point in my life: I had basically been excommunicated from my immediate family and from this conflict I had begun to reconnect with my mum (who had been diagnosed with cancer in our years apart) as well as my extended family whom I had been estranged from for most – if not all – of my life. I’ve always been an introvert and grew up somewhat isolated, so at the time I truly believed that I could not feel or lose any more than I already had. But the point of the song wasn’t to recount those specific events; they simply put the song into context.
I had very little belongings, no money and no home. My sense of normalcy was totally removed from me and I was trying to rebuild my life while simultaneously feeling like everything could fall out from beneath from my feet (since it had).
I was constantly questioning everything, asking myself things like:
Why, after all of the pain I’ve been through, do I feel so numb?
Why am I working such long and strange hours to not even have the time to properly live in this new home I’ve created for myself?
The love I received from my family was not unconditional, ‘what if I wake up and all my friends are gone’?
Where and when did you record and who with?
I recorded ‘Humans Weep’ late last year in the home studio of Isaac Barter (Didirri, BATTS). It was so relaxing and wholesome to record with such a great listener and well-rounded musician. Working with Isaac was the best recording experience I’ve had to date and I look forward to getting back into the studio with him soon!
What programs/instruments did you use?
The song started out on vocals and guitar, which I brought to the band to add bass and drums. We then slowly started adding keys, violin, extra guitar effects and backing vocals. The song was recorded on Pro Tools.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I’ve been listening to Cleo Sol, Jorja Smith and Rina Sawayama. Aurora’s new single ‘Exist For Love’ is also super cute, I just ordered the limited edition pink vinyl for it which is in the shape of a clamshell *cries*. Though at the end of the day, I’m always revisiting albums by Bjork, Joanna Newsom and Sufjan Stevens.
What do you like to do away from music?
I’m usually torn between being an Internet girl/gaming/reading manga and being out in nature. Before I became a musician I used to paint a lot, so I also do that from time to time.
Please tell about the Queenscliff Music Festival Emerging Artist Grant that allowed you to record Humans Weep, how did it all come about for you?
I’d known about the grant for a little while but I had never applied for one, so when the opportunity came up as I was planning to record a single I decided to go for it (very last minute). I basically smashed out my application in a weekend, getting quotes from all sorts of people, and they ended up telling me the budget I put together was one of the best they’d seen. When I first got that call I held my breath until I’d been told that I got the grant, then played it cool until I got off the phone. I was absolutely over the moon and still am to this day.
Your new album ‘Anticlimatic Girl’ will be out in 2021, what can we expect?
I’ve written and decided on 6 tracks to be recorded as an EP. Expect what you probably wouldn’t expect from me, likely experimenting with electronic beats, sarcasm with softness and more genre-bending madness.
What’s planned for the remainder 2020?
Once I’ve released the single (and we can go out again), my main priority is to finish the long-delayed music video for ‘Humans Weep’. So keep an eye out for that.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Wow that is a hard question, but I am definitely a sweet tooth. Does bubble tea count?
When Stage 3 restrictions were lifted I mostly met up with my friends at different botanical gardens (I love to picnic), so I think that’s my answer!