theaussieword.com special interview with Riley Catherall.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
I don’t really remember, and I think that means that it was always a part of my life. I grew up learning Slim Dusty songs and taking them in for show and tell in Kindergarten, so throughout school it was always the thing I loved doing most. So when I finished school there was really no big decision to make, I was sort of already propelling myself down that oath.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I think the biggest inspiration is listening to lots of music and going to as many shows as I can. When I hear a great song or see a great artist that makes me want to go home and write, then I know I’m doing the right things and surrounding myself with healthy consumption.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
To keep enjoying it. Things can get pretty rough and stressful whilst trying to make music and also make a living. Sometimes the work that I take can feel like a chore and sometimes makes me look at my guitar with disgust or even drive home from a gig in complete silence without even the radio. I can get saturated sometimes, so I think its important that whoever successful I become, I still find it enjoyable and I’m doing it for the right reasons.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Heading out on tour at the moment, then the summer period where not much happens apart from Tamworth Country Music Festival in January. Early next year I plan to release a few more singles and do lots of writing to prepare for a full-length release by the end of next year.
Tell us a bit about your latest release?
My latest release I took on some influence from Ryan Adams’ Prisoner record, incorporating some desert swell, 12 string driving sounds to accompany a song a wrote about the superstitions surrounding the last mile home. It was a really fun one to create as it sort of came about quite quickly and the recording process was rather stress free as I felt the song knew what it had to be, and we weren’t trying to force it into the mould of something else.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
As I said, seeing other people play or hearing a really great song. Sometimes I’ll take a song I really like and steal the concept and try and write like a “sister” song: something that’s on the same train of thought but perhaps from a different perspective or a different outcome. Other times songs sort of fall out, so to say, and one minute they don’t exist and then twenty minutes later there’s a perfectly good song in the universe that’s genesis you apparently had a hand in.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Not really, I think I mask a lot of things in metaphors though I’m pretty easy to read. A lot of it is quite melancholic which is I guess a coping mechanism or a release for the emotions I feel. I will sometimes drown them in metaphor to help hide those emotions too, a coping mechanism in itself haha.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Enjoying what you do.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
I think being on tour with Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes in The UK and Europe. Getting to play at the Maverick Americana festival alongside Chance McCoy from Old Crow Medicine Show and getting some rather colourful feedback from Mick Jagger’s brother on my guitar playing.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
The likes of Gregory Alan Isakov and Jason Isbell, who have made a career out of writing consistently great songs, without lending too much time into the limelight that comes with their success.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Just getting the final edits on these songs ready for a full length record I hope to release by the end of next year.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Hopefully playing some bigger, intimate rooms, writing with more people and spending as much time out on the road as I can.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
The terrible sleeping patterns that I’ve adopted.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Lachlan Bryan, Ainslie Wills, Shane Nicholson, Tim Freedman,
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?
I think it’s a matter of adapting to the change. Social media is an incredible tool that I don’t really know how to utilise fully at the moment, but I fear that if I don’t learn then I’ll be out of touch. As Bob Dylan Said, “you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone”.
How do you plan on cracking the international market?
That would be a dream.. hopefully a few more tours with The Wildes over the next few years and eventually introducing myself to those audiences when given a chance.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I try to do as much as I can, especially if I feel like I’ve hit a wall in my writing. My wish list would probably consist of Caroline Spence, James Taylor and Shane Nicholson.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Probably won’t work.. I think the point is to watch others do it and try it, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work exactly the same for you, it just means that that’s one less way that works. Everyone is trying to get to the same place, but there are so many different ways to get there.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans?
Facebook, Instagram or carrier pigeon.
Any last words?
Thanks for indulging me!
Upcoming Show Dates:
Thursday 5th December – The Esplanade Hotel Basement, Melbourne – VIC
Saturday 7th December – The Lost Ones Gallery, Ballarat – VIC