Category: interview

Interview: Nathan Seeckts

NathanSeecktsHiRes002.jpgWhen Victorian singer-songwriter Nathan Seeckts released the single ‘Old Blood’ from his new album, The Heart of the City, it was clear the album itself would be special – and so it has proved. Seeckts has an incredible voice and an attention to detail in his lyrics that make for a rich listening experience. He’s also incredibly knowledgeable about country music, as the host of ‘Last Night in Town’, a weekly radio program on Victorian community radio station 94.7 The Pulse that focuses on Americana and alt-country. I spoke to him recently.

Congratulations on the album, which is wonderful.

It’s a nice feeling – a feeling I haven’t had before. it’s a bit unexpected. I didn’t know whether I’d be in this position, to be honest. As a solo person you can do the EPs, but I didn’t know when I’d be in a position where I could say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got an album coming out,’ let alone on vinyl and all the rest of it.

And vinyl is a commitment, over and above everything else you need to do to put out an album these days. Why did you make that decision to do a vinyl release as well?

I’m a vinyl junkie, honestly. I probably spend a little bit too much of my money on records. But it’s living in an age where the CD’s on its last legs, maybe. I like the idea of having something in your hand while you’re listening to music and you can read about where it was recorded and who was on that track.

Technically this is a debut album, as mentioned, but you do have those three EPs behind you so it sounds like a really mature work. Did you find there was a lot you learnt through the process, not just of writing those EPs but, I imagine, producing them as well? Since you co-produced this album.

It came down to funds when I first started. I was self-taught on a copy of ProTools on a computer that I’d built. That was part of the writing process and the recording process was trial and error. The third EP, my wife and I went over to the States for a honeymoon in 2016 – that would have turned into an album had we stuck around but I wanted to take something with me. And you do learn a lot by doing it yourself. That’s why I wanted to share the producing role with Roger [Bergodaz] with the album.

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Interview: Bec Willis

s553467643476502673_p4_i1_w640.jpegSouth Australian singer-songwriter Bec Willis has a fantastic new album, Other Side of Town, that quickly becomes a treasured friend. She also has a great story, as I discovered when I spoke to her recently, and it’s her story – and her extensive experience as a musician, singer and songwriter – that has resulted in the fine achievement of her latest long player.

 

 

Congratulations on your wonderful album, which I’ve loved listening to and getting to know your songs and your story. And you have such a lovely voice, so it’s very, very easy to slip into it. Reading the bio and the track by track, the album seems to have emerged from what sounds like a tumultuous period in your life. There were a lot of changes and not all of them were welcome. So as a songwriter, did you document things as you went along or did you wait to see what emerge as the stories you wanted to tell?

I didn’t document anything. It was still pretty vivid for me at the time and I was too much in it. It was all happening with my mum passing away and moving us home and all that. I joked, ‘Oh, I should get some good songs out of this’, but I just, I wasn’t in that head space at that time to write. And it wasn’t till things have settled down that I said, ‘Ah, I have a bit of a breather’, and they all just came out. I can’t write when I’m stressed. So I sort of waited until things settled a little bit and then it was just all there waiting for me. I write when I’m driving, so they just popped into my head while I was on one of my long drives.

 

So do you pull over and do a little voice recording or write some notes?

Yes. For any police officers listening, I definitely pull over … [laughs] I do pull over and I get the melody and the words at the same time. So once I’ve got that and I think, This is going to be all right, I’ll pull over and just sing it into my voice memos on my phone. And then just keep coming up with the words and keep singing them. And then when I stop driving and get near a guitar, I put some chords to it. It just comes out of the blue. I can’t actually sit down and write on purpose, you know, it never works out well for me.

 
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Interview: Felicity Urquhart

FlissThere are several artists in Australian country music who have a range of skills and roles. Felicity Urquhart has more than most: she is an extraordinary singer and songwriter as a solo artist and also as a member of Bennett Bowtell & Urquhart, and she’s the host of Saturday Night Country on ABC Radio – and there’s more besides, as you will find out. Felicity is also an artist who can conjure and convey joy every time you see her play – she is electric and inspiring, no matter which song she’s singing. It’s appropriate, therefore, that the first single from her new album was ‘Chain of Joy’ – and with the album, Frozen Rabbit, about to be released, it’s an honour to have had the chance to talk to her and to learn more about this singular artist and her incredible career.

Congratulations on your new single, ‘Chain of Joy’, which I saw you perform at your Tamworth show. At that show you mentioned that the writing of it was inspired in part by your daughters. What do they think of the song?

It’s just Mum and Dad playing another song and it’s just another one they love to sing and they don’t look at it like we look at things at this point in their little young lives. I suppose it’s just another fun song that they like to sing around the house and they do request their favourites, but at the moment it’s all part of the Mum and Dad pot mix of music.

I hope to one day they realise how lucky they are to have their lullaby singers actually be professionals.

[Laughs] Harmony James was working on her new album with Glen [Hannah], my husband, and she had the sweetest comment to say one night after she heard us singing the kids to sleep. We often play a little ukulele and sing a song to them. And she said, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s the sweetest thing’, and she got all caught up in the moment. She said, ‘That’s the loveliest thing you guys do.’ We said, ‘Well, that’s what we do. We just grab an instrument, sing to them and read a book, and it’s our little ritual.’ But it is whatever is the norm, I suppose. And for the kids, Mum and Dad’s friends play instruments and write songs and they get involved with it too. They’ve written songs already and they get out busking and they’ve done four Tamworth festivals now and there only six and eight. So they don’t know anything different. When other kids don’t play they probably think, Oh, you don’t play?

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Christie Lamb’s hot hot 2019

400x400bb.jpegTowards the end of the Australian summer (which is still going in some parts) singer-songwriter Christie Lamb released ‘Hot Hot Kiss’, the first single from her third album, which will be released later this year. I spoke to Christie about the song, her writing process, and her big tour news for 2019.

The new single, ‘Hot Hot Kiss’, is fantastic, upbeat, catchy. It’s still in my brain after listening to it. It sounds like you had fun recording it.

I did. I think with the new album that’s going to come out – this is just the first single off the third album I’ll be doing – I wanted to mix things up a little bit. So we’ve started working with a new producer. It’s all going to be recorded organically in the room with all the musicians at the same time, which is a different experience to how I’ve recorded my last couple of albums. And I think the further along with songwriting you go the bit more personal you can get as well. So this album’s going to be a bit more heartfelt and not so much about other people’s lives. It’s going to be a bit more about mine and some personal stories to share.

Does it feel confronting or a bit nerve-wracking to write more about yourself? Like you’re about to reveal things to a whole lot of people? I know that’s your job as a songwriter, to an extent, but still I think it takes a bit of courage to do it.

Oh, definitely. I had a little four-track EP out first and then I’ve had two albums, so now I’m at the third album it’s only just feeling like the right time for me to do that now. Because you’ve got to establish yourself – what kind of sound you like, you’re still getting to know your fans at that time as well. So now, third album in, I feel like we’re all a bit more settled, whether it’s me with my sound, whether it’s the fans, they know me a bit more and therefore they want to go onto a deeper level and get to know even more about me. So I feel like now’s the right time, but it’s still daunting.

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Amber Lawrence on her ‘Outrageous’ new song

outrageousSydney-based singer-songwriter and multiple Golden Guitar winner Amber Lawrence is constantly creating music, whether it’s for her country music albums or her popular songs for children. Recently she released ‘Outrageous’, a single from her forthcoming country music album. It has Amber’s trademark great musical hooks and lyrics that speak straight to the listener, with a dash of outrageous inspiration to go along with it. We spoke recently about the song and how her young son, Ike, fits into his mother’s musical life.

Congratulations on the new song, ‘Outrageous’, which is the first single off your new album. So does that mean the album is already recorded? And, if so, why do we have to wait until June? I’m a fan. I want to hear it now!

[Laughs] That’s just a technical thing of a wedding that I’m having. I decided I wanted to enjoy my wedding and I’m not doing what I always do and try to get everything done all at once. I decided to have the wedding late April and then I’ll be ready to release an album and dedicate to that. It was going to be sooner and then I kind of put it in perspective and thought, you know, I am only going to have one wedding, so let’s not be doing radio interviews the week of my wedding, promoting my album.

And I suppose also there’s the potential of going on the road to support it. So, yes, I would imagine you do need to block out months.

Yes, that’s right. Once it’s out it’s only got that short time to really make a splash. And I’m really, really excited by this album. The single is really an indication of the album – it’s all very uplifting and fun. So I’m proud of it and I want to give it all the attention it deserves, but definitely not at the expense of having a good time at my wedding [laughs].

I imagine it must feel like quite a relief because you’ve done it. There must be this nice sense of, ‘Okay, well, I’ve drawn a line under that and now I can just enjoy the next few months of preparing for the wedding and, and, and know that there’s nothing else to do on, at least on the album front.

Definitely. And that’s different to how I’ve always done it. It’s always been so much more rushed. And it kind of feels a little like, ‘Oh, come on!’ There is that anxiety of ‘why do I have to wait so long?’ Normally I’ve done the album, and then you’re rushing to get the video and the photos done in time for the release date. With this, we’ve kind of got it all already sitting in my computer.

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Interview: Brittany-Elise

image003.jpgQueensland singer-songwriter Brittany-Elise recently released her debut album, Something More, and saw it go straight to number 2 on the iTunes Country Chart, and 20 on the iTunes All Genres Album Chart.

Brittany-Elise has been singing and performing since she was a seven-year-old growing up in Mackay.  Her talents were recognised early by Lee Kernaghan, who asked her to open for his Mackay show when she was just 9, although she didn’t take him up on his offer until she was 12. When I spoke to Brittany-Elise recently I found out more about her impressive musical journey and about the new album.

Congratulations on the album, which I really loved listening to. It must feel great to have it out in the world.

It is an amazing feeling. I think it’s been a really long time coming. I’m quite speechless with the response to the album. It’s just incredible that people you don’t even know are loving the album just as much for their own experiences and their own stories. It’s just such a humbling feeling to have it out there and hearing so much great feedback.

How long ago did you record it?

It would have been August 2018.

So you’ve been waiting for quite a while to get it out.

Yeah, I have [laughs]. Just waiting for the right timing and I just knew 2019 was going to be the right time. I just kept working at it and there’s so much to the business of producing an album anyway, so between August and February there was plenty of work to do.

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Interview: Ryan Daykin

image001.jpgVictorian singer-songwriter Ryan Daykin has just released a new EP, Keeping Secrets, that combines his wonderful voice with his songwriting talents to produce something that will please country fans and also satisfy those who love a great pop hook. I spoke to him recently about his new work.

The last few years you’ve written with a lot of people, you’ve played so many different places. Do you just manage your time really well?

I’ve kind of had to, jamming as much as I possibly can into the short periods of time I get off. Occasionally I might throw in a cheeky long weekend here or there if I have to. I’ve managed to squeeze a lot into the time [laughs].

You have, absolutely. Even just the list of people you’ve written with is extensive.

I’ve been very fortunate to do a few courses in the Country Music Academy, songwriter retreats at the Dag [in Nundle, NSW] and stuff like that, which I squeeze into my annual leave. And the Tamworth Country Festival and doing multiple things while I’m up there. You learn what you’ve got to do to keep going.

I guess you also need to have that commitment to your mission, in a way, and keep the focus on what you want to achieve.

Exactly. I think you’ve got to really, at the end of the day, that’s the one thing that keeps you going. So you’ve got to really be focused on what the end goal is.

When did that passion for country music start – that vision for wanting to have a career?

Well, it was really probably about 2010/2011 was when I started getting paid to play music. I was, like, I’m doing something I like and I could get paid for it.It was a fascinating thing [laughs]. Then I went to the Country Music Academy in 2012. I applied for that not thinking that I was going to get in, to be honest, and I managed to get in on scholarship. That really kicked it off. And I’m not surrounded by a lot of musical people where I am, so I don’t have a lot of musical conversations with people, I don’t have the ability to talk about the industry or stuff like that as much here. But when I went there I thought, Oh, these people get me, they understand what I’m looking for, they understand what I want to do. And they’re all the same.So it opened up a whole new network of people and avenues to explore.

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