theaussieword.com catches up with Molly Anna and Mike from Molly Anna Band.
Tell us how it all started. What had you first interested in music? (Molly Anna): I can’t remember not being interested in music – it was everywhere growing up, but I had no idea how to go about making it myself. I met (Molly Anna producer) Mike Hukins at my university’s music department where I was studying violin and we formed a band with some others. Last year we decided to take our music in a different direction, so we left the band behind and started working on new music as Molly Anna Band.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
(Mike): In music lessons, you’re taught to be critical and think about what does and doesn’t work in a piece. I always found this to be a bit of a token gesture if you’re not going to attempt it yourself. For me it’s the same as the fat man sitting in his chair yelling at the TV because the professional footballers aren’t doing it right. This is not to say I listen to music and think ‘that’s rubbish, I can do it better’; far from it. If anything, writing music makes listening to other people’s music more exciting for me.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? (Molly Anna): Obviously it would be amazing to support my favourite artists and/or be sampled in an Eminem/Kanye West track, but I’m a realist so I’d be happy to be able to make a modest living as an independent artist. Touring different countries playing concerts would be a great way to see the world and meet people, too (I’ve been fantasising about visiting Australia since I was 17 – I’m determined to make it happen!) Most of all though, I just want to keep writing music that means something to others, even if it’s just a handful of people.
Success, what is the secret to it? (Molly Anna): This is actually something I’ve put a lot of thought into lately. There’s the obvious things like working hard and planning for the future, but I think one of the most important things is to remember not to compare ourselves to others. I think looking back on how we’ve done things in the past in order to improve is great, but comparing our lives to our friends’ and coworkers’ is never going to end well. It’s hard to be successful if you never feel good enough.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? (Molly Anna): A few years ago with a different project we worked on a track with producer Tony Platt (AC/DC, Bob Marley). He gave me some great advice about the industry and was really encouraging. We’ve tried to take everything he taught us on board with Molly Anna Band.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
(Mike): For me it’s anyone who’s been in it a while and still develops and changes. The last RHCP album was vastly different to their earlier stuff but incredible. I think it’s great that after 27 years they’re still taking risks. Also, there’s a Jazz pianist called Hiromi Uehara who plays in excess of 250 shows a year which is just mindblowing to me.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? (Mike): Hopefully still trying to improve myself as a musician. There are plenty of holes in my technique but we’re always working to get better.
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? (Mike): It’s an odd one at the moment. Because of how massive platforms like YouTube and Facebook have gotten, it’s simple and easy for everyone to have a platform which is fantastic. It means there’s so much more music around now that we just wouldn’t have had access to 10 years ago. The negative aspect is of course that the market is now crowded and it can be very difficult to get heard. It’s a different challenge to forty years ago but probably no more difficult.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists. (Molly Anna):I’ve loved Savage Garden since I was a kid. I remember performing two of their tracks at my first talent show when I was 9 (I didn’t win). I also love Sia, and recently I’ve been getting into Angus and Julia Stone.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? (Mike): We’ve got a few gigs in the pipeline and we’ll be doing as many more as we can! Also looking forwards to starting to write some more music. We’d love to do a tour! I think we’re going to have a week of intensive planning for one soon.
Tell us a bit about your latest record, how would you best describe your music? (Mike): It’s visceral and honest in both its music and its lyrics. We start every song as an acoustic piece and work up. This is so that even if we get called in at short notice, we never have to turn down a gig. We’ve wanted to write this sort of music for a long time but it never felt right in any of our previous endeavours. Combining heavier rock influences with pop sensibilities but starting from an acoustic song. We’ve had these songs in the works for a while and took our time recording them this year so that they were just right. This meant redoing lots of things and even cutting a song completely because it didn’t fit. What we’re left with is an honest portrayal of a tumultuous few years and a story of hope. That’s what we were going for anyway.
Do you have any new projects in the pipeline? (Molly Anna): We made this EP entirely from scratch ourselves (with a lot of equipment borrowed from friends). It took most of last year but it was so worth it to be able to have creative freedom. This year our priority is getting stuck in developing our new material and gigging. I think we’ll do a full-length album next.
Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today? Our pleasure! Thanks so much for listening to our story and our music. You can listen to our new EP ‘Ghosts’ for free on Spotify from January 30th.