Interview: Yorke, An Artist on the Rise

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Photos by Kristy Smolcic

Australia’s indie-pop scene is thriving, and leading the charge is up-and-comer Yorke, who has been capturing the attention of music fans over the past year. Her incredible debut single ‘First Light’, which was released late last year, was an impressive introduction to what she has in store. We sat down with Grace Hughes (Yorke) to have a juice and chat about her latest single ‘Thought I Could’, home and what music means to her.

When Yorke talks about writing and creating music, you can feel the joy and fulfilment it brings her. Though she only currently has three singles to her name, including ‘First Light’, ‘Wake The City’ and ‘Thought I Could’, she’s been writing songs since childhood. “I started writing when I was about eight," she said, “I used to just come home from school every day and sit down and write on the keys every afternoon and write a new song.”

Home for Yorke growing up was the picturesque surroundings of Byron Bay. Now-based in Sydney, she made the move to experience surroundings that were different from what she was used to growing up. After spending a lot of time in Sydney, she decided that it was the place for her. “I love cities, and I got really inspired by being in a city,” she said on her time in Sydney before moving. “I'm just spending all my time there, so it's nice when I finally made that decision to go down for a solid period of time and just focus on what I love.”

Living amongst the fast-paced nature of a big city appeals to Yorke. "I love cities, and I get really inspired by being in a city.” Though she loves her hometown, she felt stuck creatively, which is a feeling she channels on her recent single ‘Thought I Could’. “I love Byron with all my heart and always will.  Small towns can be claustrophobic at times, and I feel like you always want the opposite of what you have, and there wasn't much musically for me to do in Byron.”

After spending time in Sydney, she’s found a healthy balance between being inspired by living in a major city and switching off and spending time at home. “I think it's taken me some time to realise that I really enjoy being able to come back home and just switch off when I'm in Byron, so now I'm really happy with the balance of when I'm away, and then when I come home, and I think it's really helped with my own mental health just being able to do that.

‘Thought I Could’ was written on the same night ‘First Light’ was released, and the feeling of finally having her debut single out in the world was a bittersweet moment for Yorke. Written during a night session whilst ‘First Light’ was being released, and the stress that came along with that moment spurred her to start writing ‘Thought I Could’. “I was stressed out of my mind watching it [‘First Light’] come out on Spotify and all the digital platforms whilst trying to write this song, and I think it really added to the angst and the emotion behind the song.”

“It was quite conflicting, but I think the meaning behind the song really fits in with what I was feeling as well in terms of getting the strength to leave your hometown and do what you need to do to further your career.”

For the video, she wanted to capture her love for Byron Bay, and how she views home — not the tourist or typical imagery that’s usually associated with the area. “I just really wanted to show off a bit of Byron, but not too, 'Oh, it's a tourist video for Byron’. It wasn't too stylised, it was just really casual and quite nostalgic as well, which I think really suited the song.”

It might be early on in her career, but she’s had the opportunity to play an array of shows, including intimate headline shows to sold-out sets during Ruel’s tour. Playing live allows her to experience what she felt when writing the music in a completely different way. On what she loves about performing, she said, “Just seeing people's reactions, and just being able to really feel all the emotions of the songs all over again. I feel like when I'm performing, just the very first raw emotions of when I wrote the song just come back up, and it's refreshing for me”

“Doing the Ruel tour and stuff was the most insane experience ever,” she said, “I’ve never had an opportunity like that, it was crazy, his fans are amazing.” At the time of the tour, she had two singles to her name, “I only had two songs out at the time, but they'd try and learn the lyrics to them, and then by the end of the songs they were singing them back to me, and I'm like, ‘My mind is blown right now’. It was just so incredible seeing them react like that.”

The moving reaction by Ruel’s fans is the same feeling you’ll have the moment you first hear Yorke’s music. Though she writes songs based on her own experiences, fans of her music connect with her words and the experiences she shares. She admits that seeing responses to her music can be overwhelming, but also gives her purpose. “Just knowing that someone is able to take the emotion that I was feeling and then relate it to something that they've gone through, it makes me really happy.”

After a moment to think about my question and take a sip of her juice, she admits with a thoughtful smile, “To be honest, I think it's exactly why I do what I do.”

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

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Video Premiere: Nic Rollo – 'Show Me What Hurts'

We're excited to today share Nic Rollo's brand new music video for his stirring single 'Show Me What Hurts'. The Perth-based multi-instrumental singer and producer shared the single late in July. The track is also set to appear on his forthcoming EP, which is due for release sometime this year.

'Show Me What Hurts' is an exploration of vulnerability and the conflicting nature of love. On the track, he said, "This conflicted nature of love inspired me to write a conflicted song where the general vibe was upbeat and happy, but the lyrics were exploring the darker elements of love." The video for the single was filmed and edited by Matthew James, and features absorbing shots of Nic singing the song amongst captivating lighting work and colours.

Watch 'Show Me What Hurts' by Nic Rollo below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'I've Got The Feeling' with Pleasure Complex

Monday, August 19, 2019

South London band Pleasure Complex recently unveiled their energetic debut single 'I've Got The Feeling' via Young Poet Records. Short but impactful, the single is a huge statement by the band. To celebrate the release of the single, Simon Eaves from the band takes us through the story behind the track.

We wrote 'I've Got The Feeling'... in such a frenzy that no one in the band has any reliable memory of its creation.

The story behind 'I've Got The Feeling'... lengthy, and best enjoyed over a stiff drink.

My favourite lyric is... 'I've got the feeling you're going to ruin my life'.

It was made... for singing, dancing and sobbing.

Our main inspiration... the collective recklessness of our combined pasts.

It sounds best when... hurtling into oblivion.

Listen to 'I've Got The Feeling' by Pleasure Complex:

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Video Premiere: Laura Imbruglia – 'Give Boys Pink Toys'

We're excited to today share Laura Imbruglia's music video for her enthralling and dynamic single 'Give Boys Pink Toys'. Featuring raw and honest lyrics, 'Give Boys Pink Toys' is one of the best feminist anthems of 2019 and the video is a perfect representation of the track.

The sharp visuals for 'Give Boys Pink Toys' were directed by Nick Mckk, and feature Laura in an array of settings backed by a pink sheet playing the guitar and singing in mighty style. On the video, Nick Mckk said, "Laura and I wanted to make something that avoided gender dividing tropes. The song speaks for itself, so I again relied on Laura’s performance. She puts power into the public, and that is what we wanted to focus on."

The video also features intriguing shots using mirrors. Laura Imbruglia said on the shots, "As a person who is used to making silly videos, it took me a while to get past my own insecurities filming and watching this video. I find the mirror shots uncomfortable to watch and kind of unflattering, but I like it. That’s the exact point I’m trying to make.”

Watch the video for 'Give Boys Pink Toys' by Laura Imbruglia below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Live dates:
September 3rd - Sounds Like Community Radio
September 3rd - The Zoo (10:30pm - 11:00pm)
September 5th - Black Bear Lodge (10:50pm - 11:20pm)

‘Give Boys Pink Toys’/The Smallgoods co-headline tour:
September 13th - Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne (tickets)
September 14th - The Eastern, Ballarat (tickets)

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Now Playing: Bokito – 'Freckle Leather'

Friday, August 16, 2019

British band Bokito brings the summertime vibes with their luminous and bursting new single 'Freckle Leather'. It might be cold here in Australia, but after playing 'Freckle Leather' on repeat, we can feel the temperature heating up quickly.

Home to enchanting soundscapes, including shimmering guitars, a groovy bassline and uplifting synths, 'Freckle Leather' instantly transports you to a place where the sun is shining all day. Along with featuring radiant instrumentals, 'Freckle Leather' also sees the band feature a series of fun and playful lyrics that further capture the infectious energy of the instrumentals. 

Devour Bokito's single 'Freckle Leather' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Ocean Pleasant – 'Party Trick'

Los Angeles-based artist Ocean Pleasant has just shared her exquisite new single 'Party Trick' and it's a must-listen. She released her first single in 2015 and has since steadily unleashed a stream of stunning singles. 

Her vibrant new single 'Party Trick' is a tender yet danceable track that presents a different side of the up-and-comer and a fresh twist on her intriguing fusion of folk and indie-pop. Along with featuring heartfelt lyrics, the track also stars an enticing bassline. 

On the track, she said, “I wrote this because I needed a personal anthem for self-liberation from half loves and maybe-lovers. The name comes from the bridge, "I took what you could give, played limbo like a party trick". That state of limbo with someone feels like a game at first...until it's not. That's where this song comes in.”

Listen to 'Party Trick' by Ocean Pleasant below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: EGOISM – 'What Are We Doing?'

Photo by @tamaraandthedreams

Sydney-based EGOISM (featuring Scout Eastment and Olive Rush) are one of the best up-and-coming local acts in the country right now, and their brand new single 'What Are We Doing?' is yet another slice of magic from the duo. If you're in Sydney, they'll be launching the single at The Chippo Hotel on August 24th, tickets are available here. They'll also be playing BIGSOUND in Brisbane next month.

'What Are We Doing?' is home to stirring words that will cover you in goosebumps. Though the track was inspired by their own creative partnership, the lyrics are relatable to anyone overcome with self-doubt. 

On the track, Olive said, "This song is literally about making music with each other; but really it’s about letting out all the little worries you keep to yourself, and then taking a deep breath and realising ‘you and I, we don’t know what the fuck that we’re doing with this’. It can apply to our entire relationship, and to any relationship between two people really."

Press play and soak up all the goodness EGOISM serves up on 'What Are We Doing?' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Premiere: Briskey – 'Nothing to Lose'

We're incredibly excited to today share Briskey's dazzling debut single 'Nothing to Lose'. Briskey is the moniker of Brisbane-based artist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Wil Briskey. Drawing upon pop influences, 'Nothing to Lose' is an impressive start for an artist on the rise. To celebrate the single, Briskey share's the story of the track with us below. 

I wrote ‘Nothing to Lose'… In a warehouse we rented from Sean of Last Dinosaurs with my Producer JP Fung. We went through a couple of rewrites at first and it took a while to get things right but it’s all the better for it.

The story behind ‘Nothing to Lose' is… It’s about my relationship with loneliness. But I also see it as an optimistic look at the future, I’ve got Nothing To Lose.

My favourite lyric is… ‘It’s hazy, the light, it’s burning up my night / Still I feel your sight, suddenly I’m alright’

It was made… At Plutonium Studios with JP Fung and their in-house engineer Aidan Hogg in October last year. Was such a great experience working with those two.

My main inspiration was… The Weeknd's 'I Feel It Coming' and Two Door Cinema Club's song 'Sun'. I loved the slow jam feel of those two songs and wanted to capture that feeling and have my own take on it.

It sounds best to when... In the car for sure. All good songs need to pass the car test. 

Listen to 'Nothing to Lose' by Briskey below:

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Video Premiere: Holliday Howe – 'Rather Forget'

Thursday, August 15, 2019

It's our pleasure to today bring you the video for 'Rather Forget', which is the latest single by Sydney-born and London-based up-and-comer Holliday Howe.

Drawing upon contemporary R&B and electro-pop influences, the track features a sample of Max Richter’s Spring 01, which Holliday Howe stumbled across when on a bus. On the track, she said,  "I've always been passionate and sentimental and sometimes so within my own world and the composition works in a way that it envelops the listener totally within its sound. I worked my own twists on it, amping up the melodrama as much as I wanted. It's really the first song I'd produced that's only purpose was to sound as much like myself as I could."

The intimate and relatable video portrays the isolating feeling of retreating in your room and blocking yourself from the outside world and the effects of this.

Watch the music video for 'Rather Forget' by Holliday Howe below.

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Now Playing: Skyler Stonestreet – 'Everything It Wasn't'

Los Angeles-based artist Skyler Stonestreet recently shared her latest single 'Everything I Wasn't', which is yet another absorbing slice of pop heaven. The track comes after previous singles 'Bankrupt' and one of our fave tracks of last year, 'It Kinda Hurts'. 'Everything It Wasn't' was co-produced by Nick Monson and Lauren Christy

The glowing track channels the breakdown of a relationship and the powerful emotions that come along with this. Despite the playful and upbeat nature of the track and Skyler Stonestreet's soft vocals, her words are fierce. On the track's backstory, she said, "He became something he wasn’t and I became something I wasn’t. But there were good times, and I wanted to hold onto the good moments."

Listen to 'Everything It Wasn't' by Skyler Stonestreet below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Carmody – 'Being Without You'

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Each track London-based artist Carmody releases provides listeners with a unique experience, and her most recent track 'Being Without You' is another slice of magic by the up-and-comer. The track comes before the release of her forthcoming EP Catching Blue, which will be released by Young Poet Records in September.

The soft and poignant single sees Carmody reflect on grief and loss. On the single, she said, "I read that grief is what love becomes when someone dies. It really got me thinking about death - how words feel completely inadequate when you try to comfort someone and how after a while, there is an idea that you should move on. In my music people are often saying to me to write something happier; and although I have done, I'm just more comfortable writing in my 'blue' territory. This song is kind of my resistance."

Listen to Carmody's candid and meditative single 'Being Without You' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Field Guides – 'Guessing At Animals'

Photo by Ivy Meissner

Late week, Brooklyn-based collective Field Guides, led by singer/songwriter Benedict Kupstas, shared their magnetic new single 'Guessing At Animals'. The release of the single comes alongside news that the band will be releasing their brand new album This Is Just A Place via Brooklyn indie label Whatever's Clever on September 27th.

'Guessing At Animals' is a heartfelt single that channels the emotion of having feelings for someone new after a breakup. Through a mix of vocals (featuring Jamie Reeder), the back-and-forth words portray a building relationship. Along with starring soft and calming vocals, the track is also home to tender and swirling instrumentals that are a beautiful accompaniment to the stirring lyrics.

Listen to 'Guessing At Animals' by Field Guides below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Habit' with Merpire

Photo by Nick McKinlay

Melbourne-based artist and local fave Merpire unveiled her infectious single 'Habit' over a month ago and we've been obsessed with the track ever since we first heard it. Before she officially launches the single at The Curtin in Melbourne on August 23rd, she dissected the story of 'Habit' for us below. If you're in Sydney, you can catch her playing Waywards on August 30th.

I wrote 'Habit'... in a few small pieces, that I put together to make a whole song. The chords came first when I was mucking around with a new guitar pedal I'd bought with some birthday money from my Melbourne friend fam. It is my first pedal and it's an analog carbon copy chorus. I love the dreamy modulation. The rhythm was inspired by one of my favourite Unknown Mortal Orchestra songs. Every songwriting process is different but I do love when a song is made of little clues I've sent myself along the way to get to the end result.

The story behind 'Habit'... is how unknowingly lost I was before finding this wonderful music community upon moving to Melbourne 18 months ago. I really believe my ultimate life started when I got here. The love and support we have for each other is sometimes quite overwhelming and what does one do when feeling overwhelmed? Write a song about it. There's no hidden mysteries in this song, it's straight to the point.

My favourite lyric is... "I was a creature of habit when it came to coming undone." This is the opening line and I just love the way the words "creature" and "coming undone" sound to sing. It's a satisfying line to sing and again, straight to the point from the word go.

It was made... with one of my favourite bridges I've ever heard, let alone wrote. James, my bandmate and co-producer really kicked the chromatic note climb into gear with these wild, untamed synth and guitar lines. That kind of stuff is my favourite thing to produce. It's often a series of small happy accidents that have come about from either twisting various knobs on pedals themselves or finding some crazy plug-in effect. I've listened to the bridge more than the whole song I think. Every time I hear it I imagine a space shuttle pelting towards earth, over-heating, shaking and breaking up into pieces as it enters the atmosphere like it does in the movies. Then when I say "love each and every one of you" at the release end of the bridge, I imagine the shuttle has just plunged into the ocean. One day when I have the budget, I'll make this Interstellar video clip for it. 

My main inspiration was... the wonderfully supportive, ever-expanding Melbourne community and how lucky I feel to call them my friends. 

It sounds best... when you're watching the band and I play it live and there are friends down front busting the chorus dance moves that you can definitely join in on. (please see Instagram for the video of a bunch of friends and I dancing in sync at cycle velodrome)

Listen to 'Habit' by Merpire:

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Premiere: Chris George Bancroft – 'Take Care'

Today, we're super thrilled to share with you 'Take Care', which is the latest single by Brisbane-based artist Chris George Bancroft. 'Take Care' follows in the footsteps of his previous release 'Hold On', which was released back in March. The single will be officially released on Thursday, August 15th.

'Take Care' is a moving and reflective song about love and friendship. On the track, Bancroft said, "On the surface, it’s about a close friend of mine, the type of friend that you will always do anything for. On a deeper level, it’s about getting older and learning a really valuable lesson that took me and takes a lot of young men like me too long to learn. Learning that it is possible to feel love for a person of the opposite sex that isn’t your partner, realising that type of love exists and celebrating what it feels like and how valuable it is."

Check out Chris George Bancroft's stunning new single 'Take Care' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: yot club – 'landlord'

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

yot club, which is the recording project of up-and-comer Ryan Kaiser, shared his EP Bipolar on August 2nd, and featuring amongst the EP's six tracks is the ever-so-mesmerizing 'landlord'. The track is a stunning offering, and if you love it just as much as we do, be sure to check out the rest of his EP. 

The track features hazy and daydream-like vocals from yot club, who captures the melancholic nature of the instrumentals with every word he sings. The vocals move into the background, layered behind the track's stirring instrumentals. 'landlord' is the type of track that you can play endlessly on-repeat and not ever grow tired of it.  

Listen to 'landlord' by yot club below. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: Lupa J on Finding Solace in Her Music

For Sydney-based artist Lupa J (the moniker of Imogen Jones), creating her debut album Swallow Me Whole, released in July, marked a pivotal moment in her career — leaving her in a place where she finally feels comfortable in her skin as an artist with a clear direction of the music she wants to make. Music has become her preferred method of exploring her identity and expressing the thoughts that are brimming within her mind. 

Lupa J’s music career started at fifteen and she released her first EP at sixteen, and her second EP at seventeen. Despite having gone through the process of working on EPs, she understandably didn’t yet feel comfortable with creating a full-length release. “I sort of felt like with my past EPs, I was trying stuff out and testing the waters and working up to doing a more coherent full body of work.”

For Lupa J, it was important for her to experience life before diving into the daunting process of creating an album, “I just think getting older and going through different experiences and learning what it's like to write about real-life experiences and how to do that has naturally evolved as I've grown older,” she said, “With this album, I was a lot more comfortable with being vulnerable in what I was writing than what I've experienced before.” 

Starting the process of working on Swallow Me Whole didn’t come without apprehension from the up-and-comer, who was spurred on to dive into the process by someone within the music industry, “I think it was an industry person, actually,” she admitted, “They said to me, ‘You should just do it. People wait too long before doing albums. Just be bold and show what you can do in an album’”. After a moment of clarity, she quit her job and spent approximately three or four weeks focused on sitting down and writing the album. “I guess I felt a bit scared to start, I was waiting for something to hit me”. 

In the beginning stages of the album, she didn’t intend on ever releasing the material  — instead, she made the music for herself and as a way of expressing what she was feeling inside and the changes she was facing internally. “Part of me was thinking, "No one's ever going to hear this." Though she felt nervous about what she was creating and sharing the music with both the world and those close to her, she persevered with the project. 

Despite the freeing feeling she felt from creating the music for Swallow Me Whole, part of her was worried about how she would be perceived as an artist. “With some of the stuff on this album like the track ‘Woman’, which is just really straight to the point, I was thinking, ‘Releasing this might be kind of making a statement and do I want to do that?’ I'm like, "It's going to change people's perception of me as an artist." She put her worries aside and decided that it was an important step for her own self-exploration to release the music. On her thought process, she said,  “I've written this because it's real and I should just honor that and release it.”

For the first time, she finally felt comfortable with showing her vulnerability to the world. “I wrote some of the more vulnerable tracks early on,” said Lupa J. “I feel like this is the first release I've put out where I feel like I know what kind of music I want to make.”. 

Originally, she wanted to create somewhere between 20 to 30 tracks, leaving lots of options. “That was a bit over-ambitious. I think I have like maybe three or four that didn't make the cut. I would've liked to write more if I could have. The majority of the tracks on the album came in one big burst.” 

Creating the album didn’t come without challenges, and at times, she felt overwhelmed by the project. When she felt uneasy about the direction she was taking, she stepped away and gave the album some breathing room — which ended up helping what she was trying to achieve even more. “If something started to feel too difficult or like I was forcing it, I took a break from it and just went and worked on other songs. So then naturally, I just finished the ones that were easy to work on.”

Writing the album was an intense process, and there were times she chose to stay within the walls of her home. “I barely left my house for a while. I didn't have a job,” she said, “A lot of it came out in that period of writing. Then after that, I did get a job. I started coming to Melbourne quite a bit more. Taking breaks from being in Sydney I think helped me and experiencing new things was important to get the last part of the album done.” To finish, she knew she had to step away from seclusion and experience life, “I think there's only so much you can write when you don't keep living and experiencing stuff,” Lupa J notes. 

The visual aspect of her artistry is another thing that motivates Lupa J as a creative. “The photos, the album art, and the music videos help construct the narrative I'm trying to present and make what I'm singing about more real,” she says. It’s also a process she enjoys immensely, “I find it really fun to try and create that, or create a different version of what I am trying to say in a song.” She co-directed the video for ‘The Crash’, and had an idea of what she wanted the visuals to look like when she was working on the song, “Once I wrote all the lyrics, I had all the images in my head, that then became the video.”

At the end of our interview, I asked Lupa J what she hoped listeners would feel when they digested Swallow Me Whole in its entirety. “That's a tough one,” she admits, “A lot of emotions went into making this record. There was an intense longing and desperation for something in my life to change and I didn't know how to do that.” 

After a slight pause, Lupa J concluded, “This might sound corny, but if people can feel that emotion, and that intense longing, and then take strength from it themselves, that's what I hope for with the record.”

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Listen to Swallow Me Whole:

Watch 'Woman':

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Now Playing: courtship. – 'Amy, Run For the Hills'

If you're looking for a track that's going to transport you a world of never-ending sunshine, courtship.'s brand new single 'Amy, Run For the Hills' will give you everything you could possibly need in a summertime jam. 

Fusing elements of 70s-inspired disco, including funky synths and enticing grooves. The track is about a past relationship, where they're encouraging 'Amy' to get away from the relationship and never turn back. On the track, they said, "'Amy, Run For The Hills" is a song about knowing that a relationship won't work out. If you've ever broken up with someone, you know exactly what we're talking about. But I guess in this case, instead of breaking up with 'Amy' we're telling her to run away, and don't stop running." 

I promise that I won't be running away from this stunning tune anytime soon. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Video Premiere: Mouth Breather – ‘Shoes’

Photo by Brian Van Wyk

It’s our pleasure to be able to bring you the video for Mouth Breather’s single ‘Shoes’, as well as a stream to his debut album Listerine Dream. Mouth Breather is an up-and-coming alt-pop artist from Toronto, who takes listeners outside the barriers of pop music and into a world that’s entirely his own.

‘Shoes’ is an exploration of anxiety and feelings of alienation that’s easy to feel within a world that’s heavily influenced by being online. On ‘Shoes’, Mouth Breather said:

"We all feel bad sometimes, and there's a ton of ways to handle that. For example, you could try meditation, a fantastic way to reset your brain and relieve yourself of anxiety while also experiencing self-discovery. There is also therapy, an incredibly important tool that is chronically underused in society right now. But from my extended research into the mental health of youths using social media, it seems that by far the most popular way to bring yourself out of a bad mood is to buy a pair of Maison Margiela red and blacks. This song is a tribute to that. "

Along with sharing the video for ‘Shoes’, Mouth Breather has also unveiled his album, featuring nine tracks that are all invigorating and captivating slices into an artist on the rise.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Check out 'Shoes':

Listen to Listerine Dream:

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Feature: Breaking the Ice with FRITZ

Monday, August 12, 2019
Photo by Lazy Bones

We love FRITZ, and we think everything she releases is absolutely magical. It's been a busy year for the up-and-comer, who this year signed with Break Even Recordings and played SXSW in Austin. She's also one of the top acts to see at BIGSOUND next month and will be playing Sounds Good with The Amazons and Boy Azooga in September. FRITZ recently took some time out to answer a series of q's for us, check them out below.

What have you been up to today?
I've been in pyjamas all day, in bed coughing but not gonna lie its been pretty sweet — I've had a hectic week so its good to just...lay down.

Last song you listened to?
'Terry' by Anika. It definitely doesn’t put me in a good mood but for today it’s kind of working somehow.

Best gift you've ever received?
A Barbie doll that smelt like sunscreen.

Best book you've read?
Clarice Bean by Lauren Child (the whole series). I love children’s books, I find them so much more imaginative and creative than adult fiction.

Dream holiday spot?
Maybe Iceland to just completely dissociate myself from everything for only like a week or something. I’d love to write music there as well... in the hills or whatever.

What kind of secret society would you start? 
Selling apples in trees.

Favourite dinosaur?
I truly don’t know anything about dinosaurs but maybe the one with the long neck because I really like giraffes so I guess that’s the closest thing to a giraffe???? I like the emoji of it too.

When you survive the apocalypse, what will be your first job?
I’ve never really thought about life after an apocalypse because surely most people wouldn’t come out alive so it’d kind of be hard to work and get paid wouldn’t it? I don’t know... I might be overthinking the question. Maybe a pet store.

Last Youtube video you watched?
A Fail Army compilation, it was truly so epic. I was in Wagga Wagga with some bandmates from another band I play in (we were on route to Melbourne to play a few shows) and we just sat watching fail army compilations which I think is a very underrated thing to do with your friends.

Have you ever texted the wrong person?
Yes way too often, unfortunately, and not good things either but I’ve got to admit I’m really good at covering it up and making it seem like it wasn’t an accident. It’s because if you know me in real life you’d know how much crap I talk anyway so anyone would just think “oh classic Tilly sending me a screenshot of a conversation we just had”. Screenshots of text conversations are the most iconic thing to send back to someone.

Favourite director?
I’m not very familiar with directors and I’m also not a real movie fanatic either. Like, I like a good movie here and there but I’m not heaps obsessed with any. I really like Studio Ghibli movies so... there’s that.

Three pet peeves?
Dirty hands, cracking knuckles, smoking.

Last dream that you can remember?
I was on the way to watch The Strokes live at a karaoke bar and Julian Casablancas was my uber driver on the way there and when we got to the venue he cancelled the show.

Favourite hiding spot?
In a cupboard.

Favourite music video?
'I Love My Boyfriend' by Princess Chelsea. You HAVE to watch!!!!!

What ice cream flavour would you invent?
Maybe salt and vinegar (the chip flavour) with chocolate and mint. I like eating chips and chocolate together so yeh maybe a chip and chocolate combo - it’s probably already been done heaps though and I’m just missing out.

What planet would you move to?
I want to say Pluto just because I like Pluto, Goofy’s dog but It’s not a planet anymore right? I also like how it's small and very very far

Favourite soundtrack?
I’m the worst at remembering movies let alone which ones I liked the soundtrack in. Bridget Jones’ Diary (the first one) had a very good soundtrack.

Title of your future memoir? 
“no offence but....this is me”

Dream place to play a show? 

Listen to 'Jan 1' by FRITZ:

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To find out more about FRITZ's upcoming live dates, click here

Feature: Ingredients of Look After August with Hunjiya

Photo by Claire Fagin

Seoul-born and New York-raised up-and-comer Hunjiya never fails to impress, and this time she shines once again on her dazzling album Look After August.  The album was created in Upstate NY where she grew up as well as in Miami, where she currently lives. Each track is an exploration of her own internal thoughts, as well as figuring out what her individual needs are. To celebrate its release, she takes us through the album's inspiration below.

Maybe it’s me being without any cell service or looking over enormous clouds, but I tend to get a lot of songwriting inspiration when I’m on an airplane. On planes, I always find myself getting nostalgic about the location I’m leaving and then thinking about the memories that go with those places. I also usually listen to my mixes and take notes since I'm usually in a focused headspace. '28B (The Window Seat)' was first written two years ago on my flight to Korea, right before I wrote my first project, Lineage.  And yes, my seat was indeed a window seat at 28B.

Is anyone surprised haha. Unfortunately and fortunately, heartbreak can truly make for the best songs sometimes. I wrote some of these songs while I was going through a breakup and like most writers, we tend to create when have emotions overloading. At the time, I was back in my parent’s home for Christmas so mixing the winter cold, my state of loneliness, and deleting all of my social media created a space for an album to exist.

Visual arts
The creation of this album also came with a lot of visual ideas for me. I was always involved in visual arts from a young age due to my artistic mother, but last year, I rediscovered my love for it. I wanted to include my aesthetic/artwork within my promotional content and within the themes of the singles I released as well. When I was uninspired to work on music, I would work on the visual aspect of my project, which then helped me think of musical ideas.

Frank Ocean’s Blonde
Ever since this album came out, I’ve been in awe with the writing, production, melodic ideas, and pure emotion that comes with each song. I adore Frank and I’ve listened to this album far too many times. However, there was one moment this past winter where I was listening to 'White Ferrari' and I started to break down in tears because the story was really resonating with what I was going through at the time. This song has so many lyrical vignettes and although they’re specific to his experiences, they feel very nostalgic to me. And probably many others. On that same day I listened to this, I wrote 'friend’s house'.

My fucking fantastic friends
Honestly, I would have not been able to finish this project without the support and contributions from my insanely musical and incredibly loving friends. 'give it/what I get' and 'go to bed' would’ve never been created if without the home studio sessions with my friends Reed Gaines and Ben Hon. The mix wouldn’t be where it is without Daniel Loumpouridis offering his time and ears (and food) to help me. Lastly, the project would’ve never seen the light of day if it weren’t for my friends encouraging me to finish it and being okay with me not attending social obligations to do so (sorry to everyone for being a flake).

Listen to Look After August by Hunjiya below:

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Gig Review: Kirin J Callinan | Melbourne | 9.8.19

Kirin J Callinan is one of Australia's most polarising talents — though mainstream Australian culture is quick to write him off without closely listening to his music, Callinan is arguably one of our best ever storytellers. The release of his brand new album Return to Center was much more lowkey than his prior releases and there weren't any controversies associated with the release. Friday night at Melbourne's Croxton Bandroom saw fans treated to a memorable performance featuring sounds of new and old by the man himself.

Callinan performed his soundcheck and placed down his own setlist whilst dressed in a white robe. His set-up was minimal yet intimate. He was the only person in his band, and featuring side of the stage was a sound tech. Ironically, the guitar Callinan was playing wasn't his own as he broke his during rehearsals earlier in the day and had to borrow it from local Northcote music shop Echo Tone, which is reminiscent of Callinan's method of creating Return to Center.

He started his show wearing a costume that looked like it was straight out of a renaissance fair. Before playing, he also began by thanking various venue workers, including the front-of-house staff, merch desk, ticketing, his sound tech for the night, and a few others, providing an individual chant for each person. After thanking everyone, he noted, "sincerely, and most importantly, the show couldn't happen without me."

The initial portion of his performance included 'The Homosexual', which he performed whilst looking like a nun, the soaring sounds of 'My Moment' and 'Embracism'. Callinan admitted that he wanted to get the latter two tracks out of the way so he could start the show. After this came the all-consuming and majestic sounds of 'Life Is Life', which was a definite highlight of the night. 

As the show progressed, he played an enthralling mix of new and old songs, including 'The Whole of the Moon', 'Bravado', Landslide', and 'Rise'. Before playing 'You Weren't in Love with Me', he shared that he had a fantasy where the audience slowly files out whilst he's performing, leaving no-one left in the room to applaud him and he hoped to reenact it. After this, he contemplated whether it was possible to have the entire crowd on the stage and him on the floor. He opted for a traditional encore instead and returned from a break to play an acapella version of 'S.A.D.' and the ever-so-mighty 'Big Enough'. He concluded the show with another acapella, this time with an eccentric performance of 'The Toddler'. 

Callinan presented a show that was incredibly intimate yet entertaining. He's a true performer and despite staying away from controversy in recent times, he's as daring as ever. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Read our interview with Kirin J Callinan from June 2019 here

Listen to Return To Center:

Watch 'You Weren't In Love With Me':

Video Premiere: Love You Later – 'Harder On Myself'

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Today, it's our pleasure to bring you the video for Love You Later's single 'Harder On Myself'. Love You Later is the solo project of Nashville and LA-based artist Lexi Aviles, and she is fast becoming known for her dazzling take on dream pop.

The captivating and picturesque video portrays scenes of her getting ready for a night out through a series of retro-inspired visuals. On the video, Aviles said, "We wanted an old school 70’s vibe for the video and wanted the sadness to almost be romanticized. The running theme throughout the video is my preparation to go to a party that I ultimately did not want to go to in the first place ⁠— meanwhile basically just overthinking and trying to impress someone that never cared in the first place."

Watch 'Harder On Myself' by Love You Later below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Premiere: Shyla Buff – 'WALL'

Friday, August 9, 2019

We're excited to today share 'WALL', which is the latest single by Los Angeles-based artist Shyla Buff (the moniker of Evan Andree). Shyla Buff originally began as a dreamy escape from the work he was doing with his other band TRASHCLUB. Andree draws upon his observations of Los Angeles since moving there and his own thoughts and experiences.

'WALL' is an absorbing track that features a mix of dreamy soundscapes and charging vocals. Though it's easy to feel like you're floating amongst the vibrant instrumentals, you'll be crashing down to earth once you hit the chorus, which is fuelled by an insurgence of emotions and passion. 'WALL' is a stunning track and you'll be blasting it on repeat for hours.

Listen to 'WALL' by Shyla Buff below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: Embracing Vulnerability with Marika Hackman

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Photo by Joost Vandebrug (supplied)

Marika Hackman explores the inner workings of herself (both literally and figuratively) on her third album Any Human Friend. The LP sees her become more comfortable in her skin and the result is her most candid and honest body of work yet. Embracing vulnerability and baring her inner thoughts in their rawest form has led to a collection of eleven powerful and stirring songs. Before the album is released tomorrow, I chatted with Hackman on the direction she wanted to take with the album, vulnerability and intimacy.

Any Human Friend is set to be released on Friday, how are you currently feeling? 

Excited. It's kind of my favourite part of the whole process of making a record – it's a really sweet spot right now because creatively I've done all the work, it's all finished and I'm still really proud of it and I've kind of been sitting on it for a really long time now and then I know in a couple of days the whole world gets to hear the entirety of this album, so I'm kind of just waiting for them to hear it. So it's kind of like a bit of a Christmas-like kind of excitement, I know that on Thursday night I will be staying up until midnight, just waiting for it to be out in the world, and then being like, "Woohoo!", like Christmas Eve (laughs). So yeah, it's a very exciting, fun time right now.

How long did you spend working on it?

I think I started writing a couple of songs like 'hand solo' and 'the one' maybe around two years ago or so, maybe even slightly longer. And then I broke up with my ex and moved house and had a bit of an upheaval and I kind of had an emotional break in there I suppose, for me to just recalibrate and reset my head. And then spent the most part of a year writing it and also recording it. I'd write a few songs then we'd take them to the studio, then I would write a few more songs and we'd take them to the studio. We mastered it in February this year, so I reckon it took about, maybe just over a year I'd say.

And all three albums that you've done sound quite different from one another, why did you decide to embrace a more pop-influenced sound on this record? 

I felt like it was a side of myself that I wanted to explore more of because I hadn't really tried it yet and I like to have a challenge, I like to push myself and grow. I think it felt quite natural as a step from I'm Not Your Man and I wanted to capture that fun, raucous energy that feels quite poppy on that record. But maybe use more of the production techniques from We Slept at Last which was a bit slicker and kind of bare. I felt like a combination of those two lessons that I'd sort of learnt from my previous work would basically result in a more pop-inspired sound. I guess I wanted that clarity in the music, I felt like I wanted to arrange parts that had a purpose and I wanted to push the drum parts to be as funky and cool as they could be in the basslines. And then allow that all to have the space and the treatment to be incredibly clear and direct to support the lyrics.

Did you have any reservations about experimenting with a more pop-inspired sound and doing something different? 

I try not to really overthink stuff like that because I guess there's a worry that my fan base won’t like it, because they're used to what I’ve done before and that's why they've been buying my records and coming to shows, but for me I always think about it as who I am as a songwriter and who I am as an artist, and change feels very natural between records. I want to evolve, I want to learn and I want to push myself, so I've always vowed to myself that I'd never want to make the same record twice. So I think I just get more excited rather than feeling nervous about this kind of stuff, there's that assuming of maybe I won't be able to achieve what I'm setting out to do, but as much as I go into something saying, "I want it to be more poppy," I know that it's not going to end up sounding like Justin Beiber, it's going to be the Marika Hackman spin of pop, wherever that sits. So it's exciting and it's fun and it's different.

Photo by Joost Vandebrug (supplied)

As an artist, would you say that it's important for you to be more daring and try something outside your comfort zone? Whether that's musically or lyrically? 

Yeah, definitely, I think I'd just get quite bored if I was in my safety zone the whole time. I think it's a really good thing to challenge yourself and I think it's a really good thing if you're challenging yourself and coming out of your comfort zone, that you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position and I think people connect much more readily to vulnerability than they do to someone who's got a wall up around them that's kind of, this is my safe space and I know how to inhabit that, it's much more likely that people are going to want to listen to what you're saying and be on your side if you exploring parts of yourself that you've never really gone into before or techniques and ideas that you're working out. I think it's exciting, and I just I think I would get really bored really quickly, and I'm someone who finds new experiences really intriguing and exciting and that seeps across into my work massively, hence why every record sounds different. And also, even within those records, you can see I'm bouncing around all over the place like a pinball (laughs) , I don't stay in one place.

The lyrics on Any Human Friend are quite bold and raw, and in a way, it feels like your most candid release yet, do you think that it's your most open body of work so far? 

Yeah, absolutely. I think everything I've released is all an exploration of myself. I think it's much harder for people to recognise that in my earlier work because I was hiding behind metaphors, I was being much more experimental with my wordplay and I was hiding behind words and I think you can see that journey coming through, it becomes more and more distilled on Any Human Friend and there's no hiding place, there's nothing on there that's concealing any of the ideas I'm having and feelings I'm having. It's the most direct language that I could find to express all those ideas and I'm really proud of myself for getting to this point, it feels really good that I've done this now. And moving forward, whatever I do I know that I can be crystal clear and really direct about whatever it is that I'm talking about.

Have you become less nervous about being more open about your thoughts and your experiences in your music? 

Oh yeah, completely, and I think that's, in a way, a real testament to the people that have listened to my music previously and have come back and said that it's helped them in some way, I think that was a really big eye-opening moment for me. On the last album when I would have kids coming up to me and saying, "Your music helped me to come out to my parents," or "I didn't know who I was or what my sexuality was before I started listening to your music, and it's really helped me to work out who I am."

I kind of feel like oh shit, I didn't go into this as a career because I was actively trying to help people, if I'm honest, that's not why I started writing music, I started because it's something I've always done and I thought it would give me an enjoyable career, and then that kind of thing happens, and it changes your... not my priorities, my priority was always to try and make the best music that I can, but it puts a different spin on it, it puts it in a different light and hearing people saying that I was like you know what, it's me just being honest about my experiences, which is something that I didn't have when I was growing up. I was like, well I should use this opportunity to do that, and that's what informed those decisions coming into Any Human Friend.

All three albums have been released at different points in your twenties, and through that, there's different changes and experiences that happen. How did you want to capture that growth on the album? 

I's hard to pinpoint, I mean I don't sit down think I'm going to write about this and I'm going to write about that, or I'm going to think about the fact that I'm now a 27-year-old or when I was writing a 26-year-old and what that means to me, but obviously life experience is life experience and you can only get that from living and existing. I think over the last seven or eight years of releasing music and from when the first album came out when I was 23 or whatever, I've learnt a lot about myself and I've learnt a lot about the industry. I've learnt a lot about myself as a songwriter as well and I think that's why this record feels perhaps more assertive, it's more sure of itself and it feels more accomplished to me, because I think I know what I'm dealing with now, I know more about myself just from living and kind of getting through stuff, breakups, moving house, and grief, as well as everything you have to go through as a human. I know that about myself but I also know as a songwriter, what I'm capable of and how to push myself. If I keep challenging myself it reaps good rewards.

The album reflects on intimacy – what did you want to capture about intimacy, especially when there's so much music out there by males who get the female experience so wrong?

Well I think that's it isn't it, it's kind of like I'm wanting to share my version of intimacy in a way that's as true as possible. For myself, it's about intimacy between two women and that's not something that you hear that much in music, and certainly a lot of the time when you hear it through a male lens, it's kind of fetishized to a certain extent and I wanted to write the kind of songs that I would have liked to have been hearing growing up about female sexuality and owning that power. So as with everything on the record, it is just an honest delving into myself, but certainly yes, I chose to push sexuality to the forefront and yeah, that ownership of your own sexual identity. I think it's really important for young queer women to have that around, to hear that and to feel like they're hearing a voice that they understand, that feels like it represents them for once, rather than that male idea that's damaging.

I read that the album's title came after watching a documentary – outside of music, what else inspired the record? 

I think I was reading quite a lot, because I tend to not listen to too much music while I'm writing, I get worried about accidentally poaching things and also it's quite distracting, a lot of the time I don't want to be listening to music if I've been listening to it all day, so I like silence.

But reading Kathy Acker was a big influence on this album. I read a lot of Kathy Acker's work when I was at school. I think the way she writes is so brash, and it's quite gruesome, a lot of the way she talks about sex and her insecurities about herself as a sexual entity was really inspirational. It felt like she was being so vulnerable, even if it was aggressive, and that was a really amazing thing to learn, that being vulnerable isn't about having a quiet voice sometimes being vulnerable is about being the loudest person in the room, and that was definitely something that pushed how I was writing the lyrics even further. I was definitely going down that route, reading it I was like, this should be the loudest, the most candid, the most sexiest stuff that I've ever written. You know, flex that arm as much as possible. So yeah, I'd say that she was probably the biggest inspiration for it.

Are you looking forward to touring the album? 

I can't wait. I love playing shows, writing music is a really solitary process, and I'm in my bedroom for a year or a year and a half writing the songs. That's the complete flip side of it, playing those songs to a room full of people who are giving you basically energetic feedback whilst you're standing there, that's kind of representative of the other side of the conversation. So I love playing shows, and playing new music is always really exciting, it's really fun to start getting to grip with how you're going to translate a whole bunch of new songs live. It's the kind of challenge that I really, really enjoy and I like being on the road, having a sense of a routine as well is always good.

Any Human Friend will be released tomorrow, Friday, August 9th. Click here to pre-order the album. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'all night':

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