What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
Music as a career was an accident. I had recorded a few songs financed by my parents and produced by Sven Tydeman (just demos) and a friend suggested I submit one to triple j unearthed which I had no idea about and then I was chosen as a finalist. I had no understanding of the import of all that, because I didn’t really listen to triple j, so I was thrown straight into the deep end, into performing at venues and writing with other people and liaising with labels and managers and etc. My mum drove a lot of it, of course, I was only 17. I kind of just rode the wave of momentum after that, with the help of my parents and Alberts and my managers Wonderlick Entertainment.
What had you first interested in music?
My parents always played music around the house and that probably just seeped into my subconscious. I always loved singing karaoke and coming up with dance routines to Britney Spears and Delta Goodrem and Hilary Duff and various Disney stars. I just had an ear for it from a young age.
Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music?
There is a certain degree of intrinsic motivation in me, I’m ambitious and I mean, who doesn’t want to do their best at the things they think they’re good at? And then there are all the artists I admire and to whose greatness I aspire: Owen Pallett, Björk, Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, St. Vincent, The National, Arcade Fire, just to name a few.
Do you have any planned tours coming up?
Yes I do: I’m supporting Japanese Wallpaper on several dates in July and after that there may be another headline coming…
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
There are certain people I would like to write with one day (Björk, Chris Martin, Sia Furler etc.); I want some day to play large capacity venues; I’d like to learn to play the drums and the piano properly; I’d like to be more visually creative with my live show; I’d like to make a positive impact on people’s way of thinking, perhaps on how they treat one another and themselves; I’d like to remain humble and kind no matter how popular I become; and I’d like to play in Japan and Iceland!
What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
New music and more shows 🙂
Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Be good at what you do? It’s not as easy as that, I know, but it’s probably a mix of that and luck. And hard work! Hard work is how you get good at what you do! And confidence. That’s not always completely necessary but if you have it it is definitely helpful. My biggest career highlight so far is receiving an email from Alain de Botton saying that he thinks my music is beautiful. That was insanity. (Alain de Botton is the man who wrote the book I read that led to me choosing the name Montaigne.)
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
I feel like I haven’t read enough biographies to sincerely answer this question. I mean, I’ll always say Björk because I love how unashamedly outlandish she is with her art and self and that’s something that inspires me in terms of attitude towards art and the world. FKA Twigs is also super cool because she is the captain of everything she does. I can get behind that, all the way. I guess I do have some industry inspirations, heh.
How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
Me? A chill person who enjoys the controlled frenzy of music. My music? An attempt to emulate Björk/Marina Diamandis’ vocals, Arcade Fire’s anthem sound, Coldplay’s prettiness, St Vincent’s weirdness, Florence Welch’s confidence and The National’s emotion.
What can you tell us about your latest album?
The EP? It’s five songs long, tracking periods in my life from the age of 16 to 18. It was a time in my life defined by learning having been at school and having tried to figure myself out as all adolescents do. (Heck, I’m still trying to figure out certain things.) Hence, the EP carries that theme – it’s kind of like an anthology of things I’ve learnt about myself or about others. Every track but one has strings on it. References used were artists like Owen Pallett, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, The National, Yann Tiersen, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Sigur Ró & Jónsi, Björk, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, The Temper Trap, probably Eluvium at some point. It doesn’t have a lot of kinetic energy to it, it’s a visceral slow burn thing, I think. I liked that at the time but now I’m looking to move about more on stage and be able to excite a crowd. And also to have my hands free (I don’t want to play the acoustic guitar live but I have to because all the songs have the acoustic on them). New stuff is going to be quite different to the EP.
Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
Not one apart from Montaigne, but within Montaigne, I’m writing for an album.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
God knows, man. My aim is to acquaint myself with as many people in the Australian industry for the sake of comfortable manoeuvrability, and the goal is to be overseas at some point so hey, hopefully I’m meeting people overseas. I’d also like to write songs for other artists so maybe I can do that for people I get in contact with.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Gang of Youths, Tkay, Tom Iansek, Thelma Plum, Ball Park Music, SAFIA, Japanese Wallpaper, Andy Bull, Thundamentals, The Preatures, The Presets, Lisa Mitchell (I know most of these people so it might seem like I’m just promoting friends but for real the music is great believe it).
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Social media is a wonderful way to make friends. I made friends with Japanese Wallpaper, Tkay Maidza and Joy. over Facebook before I even met them in person. It’s how I’ve found opportunities to work with others, how I’ve connected with fans and how I’ve kept up-to-date with what my favourite artists are doing. Things like Instagram are also great for discovering great visual ideas if you follow the right people. Getting your stuff noticed is all about making yourself as ubiquitous as possible without being annoying and being on Twitter and Instagram or whatever else is an unobtrusive way of doing that.
I also think the industry is very favourable to the young and beautiful, so much so that those with little talent but much youth and beauty can still “make it”, which is strange. I think humanity has always been that way though, people are motivated by their desire. At the same time, I think the world is good at picking out real talent regardless of appearance or aesthetic. There obviously exists dodgy characters who don’t do music for noble or sincere reasons but what can you do about it? I do my own thing without regard for that kind of stuff and I’m content (except for the occasional “I hate all my songs everything I do is shit” mindset that is, I think, common amongst all artists).
Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today?
Guys: be good to one another. And if you find yourself unable to do that, figure out why and change it. It may be because of a personal flaw, or it may be because of the way someone else is treating you. If it is the latter, you need to talk to this person and if nothing gets through (it happens) then maybe you should shut it down. If it’s the former, just know that if you can’t get it right the first, second, or even thousandth time, that’s okay, and as long as you are trying to become your best self (and I don’t mean how many nice things you own or how much you’ve accomplished professionally, I’m talking about the way you treat others and yourself), you should be happy with yourself. Positive self-awareness is a good and important thing. I love you all.