Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Sydney. I think the scene here is really interesting. Although the lockout laws hit us pretty hard, the quality of music is astounding. There are some killer jazz and funk bands, but it’s a shame those genres don’t get as much exposure as they do in other cities and countries.
How did you first start playing music?
I picked up the guitar at around 14 to be part of a high school rock band. From there it was just a process of exploring my own curiosity while trying to understand how the guitar worked. I was obsessed with metal for a few years, then moved on to blues which led me to jazz, funk and R&B.
What’s been happening recently?
I’ve been in writing mode for a bit. It comes in waves but this last batch sounds really promising. It’s always super interesting when you stumble across new ideas or different sounds.
Your new single ‘Crazy’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
Tame Impala definitely turned me on to more synth based sounds, but after spending time in London I was drawn back to the guitar, so I wanted to blend the two. I tried put in a lot of R&B influences in there too, but still maintain a rock feel. In terms of songwriting, I was reflecting on the state of the world and how we seem to be headed for further isolation and disconnection. Although it was written before the coronavirus broke globally, it has some eerie parallels. It touches on mental health because I felt it was important to talk about a subject matter that often feels uncomfortable to discuss. Music has an incredible way of opening you up to things you could never express normally. Ultimately the song carries a positive message – you’re never alone when dealing with mental health issues because they’re universal.
How did you go about writing Crazy?
I was staying with some friends in London for a few months in 2019. I played some shows in Europe and by the end of the trip I had run out of money. I couldn’t afford to do anything but stay in the apartment and write songs all day. I ended up with about 40 songs and Crazy seemed to be a stand out. It started out as a simple demo with just the chorus and a verse. Once I got back to Sydney I rewrote a lot of parts and recorded everything again, but the core of the song is still the same. The lyrics were written in Sydney once the instrumental was finalised. I kept rewritting them up until the last minute before I had to send it off to be mixed.
Where and when did you record and who with?
My friends Nick Twiney and Siebe Pogson from the band Funk Engine play keys and bass. I did all the guitars, vocals, synths and drums. We recorded most of the track in my bedroom studio at the end of 2019/start of 2020. Then I sent them to be mixed by Jackon Barclay who is a wizard at making things sounds great.
What programs/instruments did you use?
Logic as the DAW, Diva for the synths and samples for some of the drums. The guitars, keys and acoustic drums were either straight DI instruments or recorded live.
How did you approach the recording and production?
I wanted to blend rock with R&B, so I’ve got those huge synths and fuzzed out guitars in the chorus mixed with 808s in the verse. I usually record everything just as demos first in my room then eventually reach out to other people when necessary. The recording itself is pretty straight forward. I use basic Logic plug-ins and a focusrite audio interface for instruments. At the end of the day the song is the most important thing for me. If it’s a great song it should stand on its own.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Theophilus London, SZA, Stormzy, Brian Eno and a 60s Argentinian band Sandhy and Mandhy.
What do you like to do away from music?
It’s all music for me at the moment. I teach guitar and do a lot of cover gigs on the side for regular income.
What’s planned for 2020?
I had a few releases planned but with everything in lockdown who knows. Maybe just songwriting quarantine.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Fruit smoothies in the studio.