Q: Hi! What inspired you to write “The Only Eyes I’ve Ever Known”?
A: I think it was the feeling of comfort I got from the thoughts of growing up in the Blue Mountains with my family. It’s about building treehouses, innocent musings and attempting to stave off the impending feeling that things are going to change, for good or ill. I wrote the track as an adult though, so I think that my later relationships infiltrated themselves into the lyrics and feelings to combine the two.
Q: How would you describe the musical style of “The Only Eyes I’ve Ever Known”?
A: It’s an upbeat multi-genre style kind of track that combines more traditional elements of folk with story telling with a little bit of pop and alt country.
Q: What message or story do you want to convey through “The Only Eyes I’ve Ever Known”?
A: I think I wanted to capture a memory or a feeling from more innocent times. It’s an homage to my childhood, my family and for those that I loved that came after. I think that the track in essence is a happy affair. I’m probably trying to convey that over time, shared love and experience is ultimately what life is about, which is kind of how we see the world inadvertently when we’re young.
Q: Can you share any memorable moments from the recording process of “The Only Eyes I’ve Ever Known”?
A: The song went through some iterations so there are a few! I remember sitting in Riverhouse Studios in the Byron Bay Hinterland and had my partner at the time come in and sing those backing vocals in the chorus, which you can still hear in the released version. Jeff Martin, my dear friend and producer on the first version of this track, watched the scene unfold and showed me how to record and overdub. He left the studio and just let us record to give us that moment to create a beautiful part of the song.
Q: How did growing up in Bathurst influence your music and songwriting?
A: I think growing up between Bathurst and the Blue Mountains caused me to lean towards writing stories in a way to make sense of things. I would say that Bathurst influenced my music in that I was learning guitar and performance in situ at local bars when I first began the journey. This meant that I was watching what affected people in real time as I learnt. The Blue Mountains influenced my songwriting in that I spent most of my days outside in this beautiful forest setting in complete wonder at the world, as well as creating my own in my mind at the same time. I often tap into those memories when writing.
Q: You’ve toured Europe and South America; how have these experiences shaped your music?
A: The tours, in conjunction with the travel have had the single biggest impact on the shape of my music and my passion towards the process. In Bathurst, I was learning the chords, how to cover songs and what structures worked in particular genres. I felt I was an interpreter or a witness to the songs I was making and also covering. When I toured Europe and South America, I travelled far, I fell in love and lost it, learnt how to connect with different cultures and languages and finally started making music that was true to how I felt. I think I found my voice on those tours.
Q: Can you tell us about your experience working with producers Lon LeMaster and Beau Hill?
A: Lon is an old school character that has a heart of gold. He was as supportive as he is knowledgeable (of which he is nigh on peerless with) having worked as engineer on some big records, including Toto 4. We worked late nights in a few studios throughout Sydney and it was just wonderful taking in his advice and knowledge. He drives things pretty heard but his perfectionism and knowledge does do the song honour.
Beau jumped in on some tracks with mixing and was a great source of knowledge, with his mixing technique working an amalgamation of a lifetime in the industry working with some of the biggest acts and greatest records in recorded music. He’s also a great musician himself and is best mates with Lon. Lon and I did a lot of the grunt work in various studios and it was just all pretty surreal bouncing ideas around with these lovely gentlemen.
Q: How has reaching the finals of the Bluesfest Busking Competition impacted your career?
A: It was a great experience being part of that whole thing. I met some wonderful acts that I do keep in contact with and have performed at some other festivals and feature nights with. It’s been great for building community and I have just loved seeing the bands and acts I met along the way going on to do inspiring things. Saije came along for a few shows with me in Bellingen and Sydney and are now off doing a huge run of shows in Europe. Ally Row and Sunday Lemonade are both hitting their strides and it’s the community that most impacts my career. I live in Mullumbimby and it’s also allowed me to further connect with the local music community as Bluesfest is just down the road.
Q: How do you approach performing live, and what do you enjoy most about connecting with your audience?
A: I just try and remember the meaning of my songs before I get up there. The meaning isn’t even static to either myself or the audience but remembering that the songs have meant something so powerful to me at some point that the thoughts sent me to a studio for weeks on end to convey the thought gets me in the right mindset for performing live. I love performing live. I still get nervous but I would describe them as kind butterflies now.
Q: What’s next? Any gigs or releases
A: I’m actually answering these interview questions in my Hotel on my way to Bathurst to support The Whitlams tonight. I’m also performing with Ondara this weekend in Melbourne at the Brunswick Theatre and plan to release the full EP of the sessions that I did with Lon.