How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
All my songs start as dictaphoned voice memos of me either humming and singing a hook or playing something out on the keyboard. I go into a track already knowing what I want it to be about, so once I find that melodic or vocal hook I’ll slowly build the lyrics around that. That’s a time consuming process a lot of the time, I’ll write tonnes of lines but discard most of them for sounding too cheesy or cliche, not being able to be sung with an appropriate flow, or not quite tying the different sections of the song together lyrically in the way I want them to.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
In my genre it’s absolutely a strong opening and dope lyrical hook, and refreshing that catchiness with something interesting every 30 seconds or so. You can’t afford to fluff your way through a verse or breakdown these days, every part has to be absolute fire if you want a standout track. Curating a Spotify playlist myself has given me a focused appreciation for what kind of opening grabs my attention, but once my attention is grabbed, then I’m really listening closely so you don’t wanna go and fumble it at any point after that.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
I used to be, but not anymore. My EP is super densely packed with very personal motifs. I guess besides superfans who are reading these sorts of Q&As, the lyrics speak for themselves sometimes in a fairly coded way, rather than spell it out for people. It’s fun hearing people try and interpret what’s going on in my songs after hearing it, even though they’re so personal in subject matter.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
Well, I try and put a lot of nostalgia and memories into my songs, or other times I use many of my songs to explore or come to grips with deep feelings that either I, or those close to me, have been grappling with. But one phrase I’m quite proud of from this new EP, would be the lines;
And to everything I’m so close, not to feel it,
I can’t work out if I’m doing it right, or I’m doing you wrong,
So I’ve been working through the long, long nights
To conceal it.
What inspired “Movin’ On”, part of your latest EP “An Incorruptible Dream”?
Movin’ On is the opener to my 6 track sophomore EP and it’s actually about a good friend of mine. We’d catch up and over drinks she’d update me about this guy she’d been in love with for years. Only problem is, he’s taken… completely off limits. She didn’t really know what to do about it. We’d talk about this kind of hurt you don’t want to admit, you‘d rather ignore it and go through life crossing your fingers that one day you‘ll be each other’s because it’s easier than facing the truth. Deep.
And “Old Way Love”?
Old Way Love is another example of an incorruptible dream, the theme and title of my EP. Both these tracks are about the desire to be with someone, but in the case of Old Way Love it’s about revelling and celebrating a childhood sweetheart finding happiness elsewhere in spite of your own feelings.
Do you remember the day you wrote “What You Want”?
Haha, that song definitely wasn’t written in a day. The lyrics took forever to land the way they did. I had the beat and structure done in a few nights, constructed out of a whole bunch of textured field recordings and sampled guitar that I warped really heavily using Melodyne. I knew I wanted to write a song about my insecurities and anxieties as a creator. But I wanted to disguise it as a relationship song unless you listen closely. Having it work out the way it did took many reflective walks and long nights.
What are your plans for last months of 2018?
Besides some summer shows I’m deep into writing my follow up EP. I’ve got several projects in the works for 2019. No deadlines yet, they’ll come when they’re ready. Follow me on Instagram (@spectoral) or Facebook and you‘ll see some announcements soon enough!
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your new EP “An incorruptible dream”: Idiosyncratic.
- The best show you ever played: The bar precinct of Hamer Hall in Melbourne, as part of Resonant. That was the biggest production I’ve been a part of to date. The stage is gorgeously lit, the sound incredible, the location enviable, the crew who run the venue are the most awesome peeps ever, and the crowd was really into it.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Lukewarm water. Ice cold drinks before a performance aren’t a great idea for the voice.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Boards Of Canada – The Campfire Headphase.
- Your favorite song lyrically speaking but not written by you: It’s hard to go past “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” by Death Cab For Cutie. That’s some poetry.
- Last question is “unusual”, we want to know your best relationship advice: If you‘re not content with just your own company for more than a few months, how can you expect anyone else to be?