Central West, NSW
This week's feature artist is Sophie Payten, better known as Gordi. Growing up on her Canowindra family farm 'Alfalfa' and sprouting (rare Alfalfa gag) up on Unearthed, the now Sydney based artist has integrated elements of electronica into her more folky roots with her stunning voice still taking centre stage.
In the words of Missy Higgins:"Arh, what a beautiful song. I love the distorted Casio/organ sound you start with and the spacey, bedroom feel to the production. Your voice is perfectly close and restrained and I love the slightly electronic harmonies way in the background."
Victorian Missy Higgins' fans can look forward to being serenaded by the unusual and haunting voice of Ainslie Wills.More »
Describe your music.
I can’t, you’d have to listen. I would like to think that it is melodic, honest and made with lovin’-musical-care.
What is your local music scene like?
Pretty active! There are a lot of great musicians in all genres that aren’t duly recognised. Also, it’s a little segregated between genres; it would be good if there was more of a crossover.
Where and when are you most inspired to write?
It’s a hard one you know, hard question to answer! I am inspired to write when I have seen an awesome gig, or at completely random times.
What can Victorians expect when you hit the stage?
Me, Jim, Andre, Jemima, lots of love and good times.
What was the last album you bought?
I bought four at the same time; Diamond Dogs - David Bowie, Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple, Khancoban -self titled and Young Modern - Silverchair.
What do you do when you’re not making and playing music?
I listen to music, I like to cook, I like doing yoga with Wai Lana (a parachute material clad yoga instructor on dvd), I like talking to people and I do like to play Scattergories.
What have you got planned for the future?
More recording, more gigging, more chocolate, I want to go to France eventually. Mostly I just want to keep playing and making music with other people.
Australian music is...
made up of diamonds and stones.View Profile Hide Interview
This guy does it all! He combines his skills as keyboardist, bass player, vocalist and drum programmer to create some joyful organic sounding pop numbers. His tracks have got catchy hooks and lyrics to make you smile.
Describe your music.
If I were to describe what I hope my music turns out to be, I'd say pop-driven tunes that still have an interesting musical production aspect to it. Although I am a bit of a muso nerd, I've learnt some valuable lessons about songwriting, very importantly that you can easily overdo anything when it comes to creativity. These days I'm trying to write things that are catchy, easy to memorise and easy to tap your foot to.
Who’s been a big musical influence for you?
Different artists influence different songs I write, seeing as I am a bit of a genre hopper. For example, 'Backflips' I think has a lot of Ben Folds in it, while 'Two Sides' and 'Different' show my respect for Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams. In terms of personal musical development and how its been influenced, way too many artists come to mind. Everything from Jeff Buckley to Mike Patton. Lately I've been listening to a lot of drum programming people like J Dilla, ?uestlove and the Platinum Pied Pipers -hence my increase in confidence with my own programming.
How do you start writing your songs? On the computer? Guitar?
Cool riffs usually just come out on guitar or on the keyboard when I'm screwing around, so I try to record them straight away before I forget them. I program a quick drum beat, loop it and record my idea in time with it and this becomes the central 'hook'. I tweak and build on that, adding new sections as I go.
Tell us about the local music community in Brisbane.
I don't know if I'm being socially ignorant, but I think the Brisbane music community is TINY! Everyone knows everyone so its easy to network and meet people. Its very easy to help your peers and help yourself get a name out there. It feels like the degrees of separation are very few and everyone seems to also be hooked up to Myspace... which is totally killer for being a whore.
What have you got planned for the future?
I'm studying at the moment (aiming for the stable future), but for the long-term I plan to hone my songwriting and production skills to the point where it can support me financially. Who knows what will hopefully come...the path of the poor musician is a hard one to follow. As hard as winning the lottery.
Australian music is…
...not to be underestimated. We have many world class artists in our locale that are sitting there undiscovered. Get out there and check out stuff you havent heard before! Is there anything Australian's aren't good at?View Profile Hide Interview
Melbourne singer Meg Mac is one of the winners of our Falls Festival competition and will be playing the festival in Lorne this NYE. She has a huge voice, huge tracks and a huge future ahead of her.
Tell us about your music - how did you develop your sound?
I have been singing for a long time and like most people, I learned to sing by copying and trying to sound like other singers. I didn't work out my own thing really until I started writing, with no reference for my unsung songs I was forced to create a sound. But you can definitely hear all my influences I think and I love that they're always changing and so is my voice and writing. Growing up I listened to lots of soul thanks to my Dad, my Mum sings Irish folk songs and I was obsessed with pop of course. I like big voices and a bit of that drama - the ones that sing because they have to or they would die sort of thing, like Edith Piaf.
You’re the Victorian winner of our Falls Festival competition and will be playing the festival in Lorne at the end of the year. What can Falls punters expect from the Meg Mac live show?
I will be playing on New Years Eve and I am going to sing my little heart out. I play with two boys, a drummer and keys player and my little sister sings backing for me, it's pretty cute and she sounds just like me. Expect some electronic elements, big piano sounds, hand claps and lots of singing by me. We have new songs which we are going to play and help everyone get ready for the big day of music ahead and hopefully Meg Mac can help people feel ready to take on the new year.
What are you most looking forward to about the festival?
This is my favourite thing to happen to me all year and I still read the lineup every day just to give me that special feeling. Apart from actually playing, which is what I am definitely most looking forward to, it is all of the other bands and artists that are playing. Getting to watch all of their sets and then just the whole festival vibe, the camping, the photos, the people, the bands, the NYE thing - it is just guaranteed good times. And Solange.
What’s your earliest memory of performing music? How old were you?
I first started proper singing (singing lessons etc) when I was nine and once I discovered that I had a big voice, I could not get enough of Vanessa Amorosi…please don't judge me. 'Absolutely Everybody' was my favourite.
What else is coming up for you in 2013 and then looking into 2014?
I've got a few gigs coming up before the big Falls, that's what I call it now. On the 29th November I am supporting Georgia Fair at Howler in Melbourne. My 2014 is shaping up to be a pretty good year so far, it looks like my first album will be on its way! And I am looking forward to more stuff happening to me, and some more songs to happen to me too.
Australian music is…?
A lot of the time I will listen to music and not know/care where it comes from, but it is pretty awesome when I know something is Australian and suddenly I feel a little bit proud? It is weird, like I am suddenly connected to the music because the artist is Aussie just like me and my dreams become a little more achievable.View Profile Hide Interview
Montaigne is the stage name of 2012 Unearthed High finalist Jessica Cerro. Since impressing us with her Unearthed High entry 'Anyone But Me' she has taken a couple of years to refine and develop her sound - and boy oh boy was it worth the wait! The first offerings from her forthcoming EP are big and bold and beautiful, and available here on Unearthed.
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
My sound is rather intertwined with my subconscious so however I feel as a human being mentally, intellectually and spiritually shapes the kind of sound that manifests in my mind and which I seek to give substance to. I have very few production skills and play only two instruments, one (the piano) at a very basic level, so the way the songs ended up on the EP was shaped largely by the big conceptual ideas I was throwing at Tony who produced it and the way that Tony understood them. And of course by the references I gave, such as M83, Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Björk, Sigur Rós etc. I think the greatest influences in the development of my sound were the sounds of other artists, my own holistic self-development and of course the second party (Tony) involved (when someone else is involved, they’re always going to imbue a small piece of themselves). I do a lot of humming, too, and have a penchant for harmonies.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
Life, I suppose. Things as they happen to me. Anything which elicits a creative reaction from me. I don’t like to force the process of making music, music for me is like something that’s always happening in my body and every now and again it seeks outlet. When I sit down and say, okay, I’m going to write a song now, whatever I write is crap. It’s when I surprise myself with a line or a quick melody that I write my best songs, they develop from there. Spontaneity is key.
What can punters expect from a Montaigne live show?
Some pretty loud vocals and some pretty wild gesticulation. Something you should engross yourself in and join. Whatever joining means to you.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
I get this advice from many people, amongst them my parents and even John Watson, one of Australia’s most successful managers: don’t underestimate yourself. Or further than that, trust yourself. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I get told that a lot with regards to my songwriting and my voice. And it’s important that I hold to that because I get frustrated easily if what’s in my head just won’t come out of me in exact form.
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
Rock It by Little Red. Always.
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Providence by Lisa Mitchell. Wouldn’t be tears of sadness though, more tears of wonder.
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
My People by The Presets. Ooft.
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
The last gig I went to was Big Scary at Manning Bar. The band was freaking great, just their presence was enough to satisfy me I love Big Scary so much.
Tell us about the bands or people in the Sydney music community that inspire you.
I have a good friend who’s soon to put out a first single under the artist name Dead Language who constantly impresses me with his ability to balance uni, music and work. He’s got a really strong voice too, his growl power is crazy. He’s someone I can talk to about all the music stuff which I really appreciate, and he’s really passionate about it which I also really admire.
What are your plans for Montaigne in 2014?
In the immediate future, I’ll be on a panel for ABC Splash & Unearthed High in June where I’ll be performing a couple of songs acoustically. In the more distant future, there’ll be gigs coming up and I’ll be starting a new record…