Where are you currently based?
I’m originally from Auckland but moved to Wellington 5 years ago and have been loving it ever since! I live right on the beach and very close to the CBD too. It’s a magical hotspot for developing creatives – the music scene especially. I’ve been so lucky to live in NZ during covid times, my band and I are back gigging, planning tours and going to a bunch of shows every week.
How did you first start playing music?
I started writing poetry when I was about 15 or 16. I looked back at some of it recently and the parts where I didn’t cringe I actually felt a bit touched. I listened to a lot of music at that age and it drew something out of me. I began by finding chords and writing poetry to it, then it was the bones of a song.
For a few years when I was 8 or 9 I played a little bit of piano – nothing substantial, I got bored from lessons. Later I taught myself through YouTube, learning my favourite tracks and discovering how each note related to each other etc. It was quite an organic experience for me.
Like many teenagers, I tried guitar lessons but it didn’t stick. I’m still sort of teaching myself (slowly and only to try to look as hot on stage as Julia Jacklin with a guitar).
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?
This year has been WILD. First off I’m sooo lucky to have recorded in the UK in November last year before Covid hit.
I’m pretty lucky, I had a pretty stable 7 week lockdown with my best friend and her family. They were so welcoming and I felt like family. It was a wonderful space for me to get the drive back I needed and begin the work on my EP ‘this dream i had’.
I’ve been fortunate to be back working with my awesome band, working on our live set for an upcoming release show (and maybe even working on a 2021 tour).
We filmed a music video a few weeks back and I’m dying to share it with you guys, collabing with the incredible, stylish director Veronica Crockford-Pound (Vogue, i-D).
Also have quite a few projects cooking up in the studio at the moment – it’s sort of my fun safe space.
How did you go about writing Blue Boy and what influenced the sound and songwriting ?
Blue Boy was quite an intense song to write. I was so infatuated by this person I had just met, nothing beats summer love. Then he moved away, I remember sitting on my bed on a summery blue sky day and feeling so numb. That’s when I wrote the chorus. I wrote it on ukulele and took a break from writing to head to the beach with my friends. Whilst dipping my feet in the water I wrote the chorus lyric ‘lover swimming in the deep blue’.
The song gets complicated because my life was seemingly complicated. I was seeing someone else at the time. It wasn’t working and I knew it wasn’t after falling in love with someone else. I felt so stuck at the time, so many conflicting emotions of love and guilt because I feel for someone else. For two weeks straight the sky was this incredible shade of blue. I tried bathing in this new feeling of summer love and despite spending most of the time and the beach, there was an overriding sense of guilt because I didn’t know how to tell my partner.
Sonically I was so influenced by the sound of summer. I wanted it’s romantic verses to be surrounded by glittery, pop production then as the pre-chorus kicks in for it to progress into turmoil and melancholy. I was listening to a lot of Father John Misty, Sufjan Stevens and Harry Styles at the time. They somehow must’ve helped shape Blue Boy’s direction.
Where and when did you record/produce and who did you work with?
I recorded ‘this dream i had’ over 2 weeks with Ian Barter over in the UK. I was in the UK for around 4 weeks overall, doing meetings over the other 2.
I was so honoured to work with Ian, I was pretty damn nervous entering the studio on the first day, to me he was this producing god.
He has this beautiful, well kitted home studio just outside of Reading. Being out by the countryside was pretty unbelievable and a great spot to get fresh air and take breaks from the studio when it was very much needed.
What programs/instruments did you use?
It was all recorded and mixed on Logic Pro and put through a lot of the hardware Ian has in his studio.
One of my favourite things about working with Ian was his guitar skills, he’s incredible. 5 out of the 6 tracks on the EP all had electric guitar as a main instrument. To me there’s something so sonically colourful and moody about the guitar. The rest were a lot of layered drums, synth pads, electronic textures and the occasional vocoder.
How did you approach the recording process?
I let Ian take the reins with a lot of the recording process. We started around 10:30 every morning, which gave us both time to wake up, go through notes and come up with a game plan for the day. We mostly worked by doing a track a day, a surprisingly fast process for me! We’d then go till about 6pm each evening.
The hardest part was already done, I had written the tracks already so it was very much just getting straight into it and laying down the parts. We started with the chords, then did drums and bass, then guitar followed by electronic textures. After that we’d then record the vocals.
Your video for your single ‘Blue Boy’ will be out on December 4….
It sure is. I’m SO excited for it too
How did the concept for the video come about?
Blue Boy was the first song for me where I wrote so openly about my sexuality. I thought I needed to find a way to do it justice, explore myself more creatively and push myself further with my different aesthetic directions.
Where and when did you film and who with?
Blue Boy was filmed in Kingsize Studios in Auckland, it’s well known as the place to shoot a lot of fashion shoots etc.
We had an incredible, stellar team on the shoot. It was directed by one of my favourite directors and collaborators, Veronica Crockford-Pound (aka Pictvre), shot on 16mm and Super8 film by Veronica and the incredible Joseph Griffen.
Featured in the video is myself and the icons Rob and Roxie. Rob also styled us all, wearing stunning brands such as Penny Sage, Zambesi, Rick Owens and more.
Make-up by Global Senior Artist M.A.C Cosmetics and sweetheart Kiekie and Hair by the wonderful Sophy.
How was the filming experience from concept to the final edit?
I’m actually still mid filming experience hahaha, I’m yet to see the first edit! It’s so exciting working in film though as I have no idea how it’s going to turn out.
Filming and coming up with the concept with Veronica was so much fun, probably my favourite part.
Please tell us about your EP which will be out on November 13, what can we expect?
Like it’s namesame, ‘this dream i had’ all began from an intense, vivid dream I had about the partner I had at the time, which also inspired the track ‘This Dream’. I wrote this EP spanning over 9 months, during the time I was in a toxic, long distance relationship. The tracks from start to finish tell the story of different epiphanies I had during this time. The EP begins with love songs, travels through into the complications that come with a long distance relationship and ends with ‘Crawl’, an intimate song about realising that the ball is in someone else’s court to act better. It’s accepting your situation, remembering it’s a two way street.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I’ve been super fueled by listening to the likes of:
Joji’s new album – fave tracks include High Hopes, Upgrade, Afterthought & Tick Tock
LEON’s new album – faves are Die For You & Crazy/Stupid
Omar Apollo’s new EP – faves include Kamikaze & Hey Boy (it’s SO refreshing to hear a major artist talk openly about their sexuality in their music)
Lianne La Havas’ new album – tracks to look out for Please Don’t Make Me Cry & Courage
Special mention to BENEE, very excited for her debut album, the singles are incredible
I’ve been listening to a lot of R&B influenced pop and it’s certainly rubbing off on me..
What do you like to do away from music?
I love spending time with friends, going for night drives and getting out of Wellington to go on walks. My weekends usually get a bit chaotic as I love going out for drinks or to parties but I guess that’s just part of being in your early 20’s…?
The older I’ve gotten the more I realise that my closest friends and I always seem to talk about philosophical things. Partly I think it helps us try and understand us as these confused creative children are suddenly forced to grow up pretty quickly.
I spend a lot of my money on going out for food too… Dinners and brunches… it’s dangerous being a good friend of mine
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021?
Very busy couple of months ahead, VERY exciting though. It’s just jumping from one project to another. It’s great though, I love to keep busy.
May or may not be releasing a music video Dec 4th. May or may not be releasing a couple of stripped back versions of tracks from ‘this dream i had’. May or may not be planning a tour early 2021. May or may not be releasing a new single early 2021. May or may not be recording new content this coming couple of months….
As I said, busy but so exciting, I reckon this EP is just the beginning.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I’ve been vegetarian for around a year or so. It’s kinda new to me still, so it’s exciting finding ways to keep it exciting for me, working with lots of different alternatives and recipes.
Ooooh I am a sucker for Italian food (like fresh four cheese ravioli mmmm…), Mexican food (with 3 glasses of Mezcal pleaseeee), Indian food (with a garlic naan ofcourse).
In Wellingtonhere’s this incredible vegetarian restaurant/cafe called Aunty Menas. Their roti chani (with soy slice) absolutely slaps… it’s on Cuba St, in the heart of the city. I’d recommend if you’re ever visiting!
For coffee I love Swimsuit. IT’s a great little relaxed cafe with great coffee and it’s super chill to meet friends and catch up.
Most Wednesday’s I go to the gig night called ‘Eyegum’ at San Fran. It’s free and features some of the best up and coming musicians in Wellington. $5 beers too, can never go a miss…
Weekends I’m pretty all over the place…