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Gretta Ray

Featured Artist

2016

26

Sep

Gretta Ray

Melbourne, VIC

Unearthed High champ Gretta Ray is back with 'Unwind' - a stunning new song she recorded here at triple j.

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You've just released your new single 'Unwind'. Tell us a little about the genesis of that song and what it was like to be writing/recording again after the success of ‘Drive'?
Writing Unwind after the success of Drive was a fascinating challenge for me as a songwriter, due to the fact that Drive was one of those songs where all the elements kind of fell into place right from the beginning of the writing process; the piece came together in a rather organic way. For me, that rarely happens when writing music, and I had to consistently remind myself of that when writing Unwind, as it did not unfold as naturally as Drive did. That being said, once I had the bones of Unwind, I became excited about how different it sounded from anything that I’d ever written before, and once I arrived in Sydney to record it, I was so pleased that I had pushed myself to have a brand new song finished in time for that particular project. Concept-wise, the lyrics of Unwind intend to portray one’s thought process when going through a break up. More specifically, the moment when one comes to understand the extent of what they have lost, when they start to feel the weight of what the relationship became. I feel as though the lyric that best conveys that is “I am sure that there is more to this than I care to admit”. Hopefully this rings true with some listeners. This is a song for those that “feel it all”.
 
You recorded it at the triple j studios in Sydney. What was that recording process like compared to how you usually lay your tracks down?
The recording process at triple J was such an incredible opportunity; I got to work with some very special musicians and am so grateful for all of their time. The main difference between recording in Sydney and how I usually record was definitely the time constraints. We completed the production for this new song in the space of a day and half, which was a huge achievement for the whole team, considering that my usual producers and I spent a good few weeks on Drive. But despite it being a speedy process, it was as equally as fun and satisfying when we completed our work.
 
What's your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
I spend a lot of time examining the way that I and others move through the world. I am constantly observing human interactions and human behaviour on the whole, and find that most of my ideas are born when I am taking note of one’s body language or the way that they are conversing with another. For example, there is a lyric in Drive that talks about someone having the ability to make one’s “tired eyes widen and cheeks turn rouge”. I like to focus on minuscule details such as these, details that have the potential to mean so much if they are explored in depth. So overall, I would say that choosing to watch and listen to those in around me has always been what has inspired me to write.
 
What's your go-to snack when making music?
If I’m writing? Hmmm.. okay, this isn’t interesting or original at all, but vegemite toast is definitely my go to. I consume so much bread on a day to day basic, it’s out of control. When I’m recording and making music in a studio environment however, I am hungry the entire time, so props to triple j for bringing me pastries and pizza when I was working in Sydney. Saved my life. 
 
What's your vision for the ultimate Gretta Ray live show?
Oh man, I’m not sure. I sure do think about it a lot, but I am yet to put a band together, as I have always played my shows acoustically; just me and my guitar.
Although, touring as a part of Japanese Wallpaper’s band was an eye opening experience in regards to what it takes to put on a good live show. I loved watching our support act, E^ST perform each night. She radiates so much energy on stage and is jumping and dancing almost the entire time, keeping the audience in the palm of her hand. I found that incredibly inspiring, so when it came to singing lead in Japanese Wallpaper’s set, I attempted to channel a similar energy. When school ends and I can start thinking about putting together a show of my own, I’d definitely like there to be moments where I can put the guitar down and move around on stage.
 
What's the best advice you've been given and who was it from?
I am very lucky in the sense that I seem to have wise, supportive people around me all the time, so I am constantly being offered amazing advice. My family has always taught me to be thankful for everything that comes my way and to be considerate of others. Although that’s very broad, I would say that’s the best advice that anyone can be given.
 
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
I Love Pop Music by Ben Lee. Maybe just Ben Lee in general. Ben Lee forever.
 
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Consolation Prize by Montaigne. I cried on the plane to that song the first time that I listened to it.
OR Stranger In My Room by Kat Edwards. Hauntingly exquisite. 
 
You're the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Get Down by Jess Kent. Banger and a half. I will never get over how good that song is. 
 
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and into 2017?
I am going to finish High School! HOORAY! Then straight after that, I’m flying to Nashville for 2 weeks alongside my mum to hang out with my producer, meet people, eat a lot of food and start work on what I hope to be a full length record. 2017 will consist of playing shows, writing a lot of songs and hopefully travelling back to the states if I can earn the money to do so.

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BATTS
New

Artist

BATTS

Indie, Pop (Batts, space, folk, ...)

Melbourne, VIC

WALLACE
New

Artist

WALLACE

Electronic, Hip Hop, Pop, Roots (Future Soul, Soul, Jazz, ...)

Sydney, NSW

Alexander Biggs

Featured Artist

2016

12

Sep

Alexander Biggs

( )

Melbourne, VIC

Devastatingly evocative "sad boy folk" out of Melbourne's inner north.

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How did you first get into playing music?
I first got into music by just wanting to copy my sister - she played piano when I was quite young and I just looked up to her and wanted to copy her. So I've been playing piano for 15 or 16 years now. I started out doing just classical stuff then later found a lot of hardcore, emo and alternative bands that I got my angst out with, and from there got into contemporary music a bit more.
 
What sort of music were you exposed to when you were younger?
When I think about the music I was exposed to when I was younger I can only recall negative experiences. My mum raised me on a lot of Backstreet Boys and Shania Twain. I get that some people might like that, but it was a pretty dismal experience for me.
 
How did you develop your sound?
I developed my sound through a lot of trial and error. Initially it was hardcore and alternative music that opened me up to how emotions can be conveyed in song. Through that I discovered artists like Elliot Smith, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver and other artists that know how to emote really well. So I think a lot of the process has been trying different things until something's clicked and since this has clicked it's been about finding the best way to convey and emote the things I want to say.
 
How would you describe your sound now?
I like to think of it as fairly honest music. I try not to dress it up too much. It's just an exploration of ideas that are going on in my head. My approach is to sing the songs in a way that is like you and I are just hanging out and I'm telling you what's going on. Describing it as "raw" might be a little cliche, but it is quite genuine and unfiltered. It's been called 'sad boy folk'. Just listen and have a cry.
 
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot of the inspiration for the songs I write just comes out as the songs manifest themselves. It feels like unconscious writing. It comes from a place that's quite heartfelt. The stories usually come from personal experiences or they are reflections on a personal experience. The occasional song will be inspired by a friends experience, but it's all pretty close to home.
 
How and where do you produce your songs?
I produce all my songs out of my bedroom in Thornbury, Melbourne. It's a beautiful area. My house is on the corner of a road, so there's a lot of heavy traffic going by. I record and mix all my music there - so that's why if you listen really close you'll probably hear a car or some birds in my tracks.
 
What do you do when you're not creating music?
When I'm not creating music, I'm performing music. It's become so much a part of my identity that I don't do much aside from create, record or play music. When I'm not playing my own stuff, I'm playing in mate's bands.
 
What can punters epect from an Alexander Biggs live show?
When you come to a live show you can expect me and an acoustic guitar. I'm working on putting a band together, but for now it's just me. It's a very simple setup and an even more honest experience than listening to my recordings, because there's no production or double-tracking. You can hear every word of my songs, plus I can give you some cheesy banter inbetween them.
 
Please tell us about the Melbourne music scene.
The Melbourne music scene is a beautiful and incredible thing, and I'm so blessed to be involved in something so genuine and cool. It's friendly and embracing, there's great venues and just so much incredible talent to play shows with.

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Gordi

Featured Artist

2015

2

Mar

Gordi

( )

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.

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Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
 
I've been writing music for the best part of 10 years and it's developed through the music I listen to. From Missy Higgins and Megan Washington to Josh Pyke, The Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver and more recently Asgeir and #1 Dads. The kind of music I like has evolved from purely folk to incorporate more electronic elements and a real focus on vocal production.
 
What's your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
 
My personal life. I think as an artist you really have to expose the most hidden parts of yourself in order to write something that connects with people. Otherwise I look to things like poetry and films, particularly when I'm preoccupied with boring and mundane things. Like today I had to install my new dishwasher. Things like that don't seem to resonate as well with most people.
 
What can punters expect from a Gordi live show?
 
Good times and great classic hits. Or at the very least some pretty inoffensive electro-folk music. Depending on the show I either play with full band or a duo set. We try to emulate that "folktronica" vibe on stage by using acoustic instruments with synths and trigger pads. I think trigger pads are the key to surviving on a musicians budget these days, plus they're quite cool. Maybe eventually even my vocals will be on a trigger pad so I'll literally just stand on stage and press buttons. How's that for stage presence.
 
What's the best advice you've been given and who was it from?
 
With regards to music, the best advice I've been given was from Gregg Donovan from Wonderlick. I saw him speak at a conference and he said as an artist you should put your energy into the things you can control rather than worry about how everything will fall into place.
 
With regards to life, my Grandma's advice is that 'everything passes', and most importantly, 'it's not all beer and skittles'.
 
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
 
 
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
 
 
You're the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next? 
 
Holdin' On - Flume. (Though to be honest I could easily have written 'Khe Sahn' for these last 3 questions)
 
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
 
I saw Megan Washington at the Metro a week ago. Honestly it was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. She's one of the best entertainers going round and such a consistent performer.
 
Tell us about the bands or people in the Sydney music community that inspire you.
 
I'm a big fan of Little May, Montaigne and Le Pie. They're 3 really great up and coming female artists out of Sydney and I think really reflect the surge in talented young female artists in Australia at the moment. I'm excited to see what's ahead in 2015 for each of them.
 
What are your plans for 2015?
 
A lot of touring! I'm about to start a tour supporting Winterbourne down the East Coast and some other exciting shows along the way, like the Spectrum Now Festival in the Domain and another show with Timberwolf. I've also finished recording 3 new tracks that I'll be dropping when the time is right, maybe with an EP mid-year. I've got a bunch of headline shows coming up too.

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St. South

Featured Artist

2013

24

Jun

St. South

( )

Perth, WA

St. South is the electrofolk project of young Perth-based singer/songwriter Olivia Gavranich. Lose yourself in the warmth and layers of her delicate, soothing tunes.

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Tell us about your music - how did you develop your sound?

The electronic world is still very, very new to me! Up until quite recently I’d been focusing on writing acoustic folky stuff, which I guess is now more of a side project. After producing ‘We Washed Texas’ for the Bon Iver Stems Project, I developed this newfound appreciation for dry beats and clicks. I couldn’t get enough of it, and I slowly started turning my acoustic songs into something more ‘glitchy’ and electronic. Everything came together really quickly after that; I’ve collaborated online with some great friends from all corners of the world, and together we’re working on my first EP.

What’s a St. South live show like?

Believe it or not I’m yet to play a live show! It’s really important to me that when I start gigging, I’m completely happy with my material and live set-up. Once my EP is complete, I’ll start wrapping my head around putting together a live show, with an electronic band and a full set list of original tracks. I think I’d get lonely up there with just my laptop!

Tell us about growing up in Denmark, WA. What are your strongest memories of that time?

Denmark has to be one of the best places to be a kid: my brother and I would spend our spare time going feral on the ‘back tracks’ of the bush, we’d take our bikes out for the day, build cubbies, and come back looking like little grubs. Music was definitely a huge part of my childhood. I remember dancing around the kitchen bench to The Pogues with my dad, and singing along to an old Tracy Chapman cassette with my Mum on the way to school. My earliest memory of seeing live music is packing a picnic and heading to Albany with my family to see the Waifs and Paul Kelly - all us kids would take off our shoes and run wild. No-one does live music like Denmark hippies.

What are some of the biggest influences on your music and why?

My biggest influences were the music my parents raised me on, because no matter where I am I’ll always feel a sense of nostalgia when I hear it, and I guess that’s one of those associations that builds your creative ‘personality’ the most. Nina Simone, Elvis Costello, The Waifs, Leonard Cohen: it’s an eclectic mix but they all inspire me for different reasons. As for my more current influences, I’m loving acts like Daughter, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Tiny Ruins, Frank Ocean, and Mama Kin, and am constantly finding new obsessions here on Unearthed. And it probably goes without saying that Justin Vernon can falsetto my socks off any day.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m working really hard to finish off my EP, which involves a couple of collaborations that I’m super excited about. But I guess my main goal is just to learn as much as I can. Rather than setting deadlines for myself, I think its important that I just take my time and enjoy the process!

Australian music is…?

…Koala-tea, not quantity.

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Ariela Jacobs
New

Artist

Ariela Jacobs

Indie, Pop

Melbourne, VIC

Didirri

Featured Artist

2017

2

Oct

Didirri

( )

Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne singer-songwriter Didirri has been one of the most exciting new emergents of 2017. His latest offering 'Jude' is a sweet and delicate blend of powerful emotion and sombre folk your heart will melt for.

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Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?

I developed a sense of storytelling and everything else kind of just fell into place. Ideas are always changing and growing and expanding so it's hard to tell when or how I developed a sound. I like to work in a cave when recording. I like to listen to very specific artists and draw inspiration from them. I learnt to trust my gut feeling a lot. I learnt to not be afraid to tell myself that something isn't right or isn't working, always remembering that things need time to simmer and to spice them up in the right way. And I keep trying to add things to tracks that are just for me and that no one may notice.

What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?

Greatest source of inspiration would definitely be other musicians and other artists. Just other people and their stories really. I'm reflecting on my own experiences and tying theirs together.

What can punters expect from a Didirri live show?

It will depend on whether they see me perform solo or with the band. They are definitely two very different experiences but I try to make it feel like I am always playing to each audience member one on one.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?

"If you have a plan B you don't realistically think you can achieve plan A. If you fail to achieve plan A, just make a new plan A and screw plan B" - Jack the Bear (Mastering Engineer).

What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?

I always go back to Paul Kelly for inspiration. He's great to get over anything you're going through. 'Meet Me In The Middle of the Air' is the song by Paul Kelly that I would recommend.

What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?

'Boys Will be Boys' by Stella Donnelly.

You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?

'The Cracks' by Peter Sonic.

What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?

Tom Walker and the Sick Individuals. Mesmerising.

Tell us about the bands or people in the Melbourne music community that inspire you.

Yes, yes, whatever... Hayden Calnin, Sonija Yves, Jordie Lane and Angie McMahon. They are all just being very, very real!

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

MAKE SOME MUSIC!!! The EP is nearly done.

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