Interview by Grace Hood-Edwards
Q – With ‘love’ seeming to be a common theme amongst some of your biggest hits, do you feel that love is one of your greatest inspirations? Do you have any other great motivators for your music?
A – I do write about love a little bit, I don’t always intend to. But some of my most popular songs have been about love, although not on purpose, obviously. I don’t sit down to write a single and think, cool let’s write about love! It’s a theme we all have in common though and I think people really connect with that. We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all been in love. The circumstances are different but the feelings are the same. I try to tell stories, but the aim is to connect on an emotional level. I think if you reduce my songs to common themes they would probably be love, loss, hope, fear.
Q – ‘Prayed for Love’ captures a near perfect post-breakup vignette with its seemingly contradictory emotions and warring feelings. Did you find catharsis in the making of this song? Or is it still open ended as the final lyrics suggest?
A – I was just really struggling to put into words those conflicting emotions. It was satisfying when I wrote that song. It felt like I really summed it up! It’s about my split from my former manager. It sounds like it’s a relationship song at first but it’s actually not.
Q – Tonally, how does ‘My Babylon’ differ from previous albums?
A – It’s quite different. I bought an old 80s synthesiser called a Juno so there’s that all over everything. More electric guitar and just quite a different feel overall. Bigger harmonies. There’s still brass though! And big drums.
Q – Having toured the world, do you have any memories that stand out to you from your times performing?
A – So many! I think playing in Japan stands out the most because it’s so different from anywhere else in the world. The audience were just so polite. There would be the hugest applause and the second you started to talk it would go pin drop silent. Just such an attentive audience.
There was also the time when I was touring through the US and I accidentally left my guitar at a venue. We drove through the night and unpacked into a hotel in the middle of nowhere at 3am to get a few hours sleep before driving the rest of the next day. The distances between main cities in the US are absolutely massive. When we pulled the guitar case out of the van it felt strangely light… We literally didn’t have enough time to make it back to the venue and then get to the next show. Luckily a crew member from the headline act had seen it and took it with them!
Q – Do you have any favourite places abroad and at home?
A – It’s hard to pick a favourite place. I think one of my world highlights is Algarve in Portugal. The coastline is full of cliffs and caves and secret coves, the water is that perfect teal blue, the wine is €1.50 a glass. It’s hard to beat!
At home, I just love where I live. I’m on the outskirts of Tauranga towards Omokoroa. It’s all orchards in between rolling hills. Also, Mt Maunganui is a quick drive away and we go there often. The beach, the ocean. It’s the best.
Q – Anything you’re really excited for in 2019?
A – I’m touring the album soon, first show is March 2. I’m playing a few shows around NZ and then heading off to Europe for 3 months. We’ll be basing ourselves in Valencia, Spain and traveling from there for shows and sightseeing.