Feature: Ingredients of Blame Game with Stevie Jean

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stevie Jean, who was born and raised in the Northen Territory, continues to show why she's one of Australia's most promising songwriters. Released last Friday, her debut EP Blame Game is an open and honest collection of tracks that capture her high school years and the difficulties of navigating life whilst also trying to find your path. Before her upcoming supporting dates with Montaigne throughout November, Stevie Jean explores the influences behind her EP for us below.

The Season of December
The literal season of December. I wrote the title track in about 20 minutes and sent it to my producer, James Mangohig with the working title 'December Song'. December in the wild North is crackling with energy. Black thunderheads hang low, rain can fall for days, sometimes weeks, and the light changes from the 99% humidity, amplifying everything you see with colour. Gas stations look like Tarantino gradients and the afternoon light is sometimes so orange it feels like the apocalypse. So we left the working title as it was, an ode to the riot of December.

Hip Hop X Rock n Roll
Sounds weird right? When I first wrote this EP I was a hardcore rock lover. Miski, The Black Keys and Kaleo were my number ones. However, when we were in the final stages of production, I found myself listening predominantly to current hip hop. I’m talking Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar and my homie Tasman Keith. Mangohig and I started to incorporate production elements that were traditionally found in hip hop. 808s, sirens, even my flow on some of the final vocals is closer to modern-day hip hop than traditional rock.

Art X Humanity
Art has always been a big part of humanity. I recently read that from the point where humans could conceive of god, they were creating art. Art is consciousness and expression, thus vital to growth and happiness. As a very emotional person, I always have this in my mind. So this EP was written as a way to convert negative experiences into art. I find so much freedom and joy in transformation and creation. I write every day. Often it is just garbage to declutter the mind, but sometimes I hit on gold.

David Attenborough
The production of the track “I Like You,” was inspired by an episode of Blue Planet about deep-sea life. Predominantly guitar running through pedals and loops that create an atmosphere that reminds me of being underwater. When you match the song up to the muted clip it actually feels like they’re meant to go together. Big props to Benjamin Edgar for the guitar loops.

Religion X Queerness
I was raised in a mixed-race family. This meant I grew up with an abundance of culture, choice and freedom. Greek Orthodox on my father’s side and my mother’s British pagan heritage. I never felt constricted or boxed in until I began attending a Christian College at age 12. I used to sit through the compulsory chapel sessions with growing feelings of isolation. I was terrified of the backlash that I was certain would come of coming out. So terrified, in fact, that I came out initially as an accident in gym class. A simple Freudian slip that changed my life. Since then I have been able to live my truthfully, but there is always a part of me that remembers the sacrifices made by the queers before me. Spirituality, religion and culture are all so beautiful, but oppression is still dished out through the church. So I speak about it as best I can through my music, in hopes I can liberate other little Greek girls who fear rejection.

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