Where are you currently based?
Currently based in Wollongong. I moved down here a year ago from Sydney.
How did you first start playing music?
My mum had me on the piano as a young child which was a little on the enforced side. I eventually picked up the guitar and started writing songs in my early teens as a bit of a coping mechanism.
What’s been happening recently?
I’ve completed the studio recordings for an upcoming EP of which the two singles I’ve released this year, including ‘Travel Companion’, will feature on. I’m aiming to bring that out sometime later this year.
Aside from that, I’ve invested a bit of time and money in my own home recording studio set up. I’d like to hone in on those skills a little more for future work and recordings.
You’re described as a folk music artist, is this accurate? Why or why not?
My roots are in folk/singer songwriter, however I enjoy the ebb and flow. I very much enjoy having the freedom to move around in genre and style. The sound is very dependent on the dynamic, whether I play solo, with my band or a percussionist or a violinist which is usually determined by the venue or availability of the musicians I like to play with. When I play with my drummer and bassist for example, the sound is much rockier/groovier.
I like to describe myself as Alt Folk for that purpose.
Your new single ‘Travel Companion’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?How did you go about writing ‘Travel Companion’?
I was at a stage in my songwriting where I was writing for the band. I wanted to strip it back down to a singer songwriter level again and the song itself was influenced by that reason. I don’t usually write with an idea or theme in mind, I generally have the vocal accompaniment roughly arranged and then spend a couple of hours singing lyrical nonsenses until an idea has brewed. I had recently been on a solo road trip and I guess that experience combined with the ones preceding cut the mustard for the topic!
I took the song into the recording studio!
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
I recorded the song with producer Guy Fenech at Rolodex sound which at the time was in Leichhardt, Sydney. The track was mixed by Nick Franklin, also working out of Rolodex Sound.
How did you approach the recording process?
I had a demo track of ‘Travel Companion’ from a previous recording attempt. Guy and I collaborated on our ideas and a lot of the music, aside from the main vocal and acoustic guitar, was created in the studio. Ella Carstein played the violin and Guy himself played a little percussion.
What inspired the music video?
Maisie Cohen directed, filmed and edited the video. It was her idea to take the video out onto the road to capture the wonderful rural architecture of the iconic colonial buildings as well as capturing the arid landscapes of outback NSW, which aids in portraying the notion of isolation associated with the song and travelling on the road in Australia in general.
The music is a waltz once the violin part kicks in, so it was important to me that we captured a little bit of dancing!
Where did you film and who did you work with to create the music video?
The video was filmed in various locations in NSW. We travelled from Wollongong to Mungo National Park, stopping at various towns and locations along the way. The road trip was undertaken in a week with the help of videographer Drew Norley and friend Ariki Hita. Collectively we all contributed our ideas for the video.
We also filmed part of the video at ‘The Servo’ in Port Kembla where we recruited dancer Kiera McGillion as well as my younger sister and her partner. My 4 year old niece also features in the video.
What did you enjoy the most about creating the video?
The road trip was so much fun! I was very impressed and humbled by our ability to maintain the balance of professional and personal relationships with each other.
Please tell us a little about where you live and do your surroundings influence your music?
I live in a lovely little suburb in Wollongong, sandwiched between the escarpment and the beach and I absolutely love it. I’m finding it more challenging to write at the moment because I’m feeling happy and healthy as a result of being here in combination with personal life matters though, so creatively it might not be a good thing! It’s the sad songs that sell right?
What do you like to do away from music?
I must get out into the bush for walks and plant ID regularly. I’m learning how to surf and to speak Serbian and German. I’m also studying environmental and plant related things stuff with TAFE/uni.
This is majority covid era compensation though – once the pubs and live music venues reopen, I’ll be at the bar having a sing, dance and a healthy yarn!
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Big Thief released some new music. I’m a huge fan.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?
I’m taking it easy for the remainder of the year. I’m going to continue as is and re-evaluate when time becomes a little less uncertain.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Sweet potato fries and donuts are the best. I don’t mind where I hang out, it’s the company that makes it special.
PRAISE FOR RITA B
“An acoustic track that will appeal to listeners of Stella Donnelly and Julia Jacklin, ‘Travel Companion’ offers touching lyrics that paint a fragile picture of escapism, isolation, and loneliness.”
Travel Companion “…the video may be a pretty literal interpretation of the track and its thematic elements”
“At first, I thought the folk band was there to soften the Stella Donnelly-like frankness of Rita B’s badass lyrics but now I realise they are as much the bark as they are the bite. Killer!”
Nkechi Anele, former Roots ‘n All presenter, Triple j
“relatable, funny and just downright entertaining”
Divide and Conquer