Japanese boutique label Teto Records will release my new EP ‘Female Basic’ this May 1st. I’ll be playing a couple of shows in Tokyo to launch limited edition cassettes in early May and for those elsewhere, there’ll be digital download available soon. Artwork designed by my compadre of Japanese language and design, Eloise Rapp. Female Basic intercepts my ‘Secretly Susan’ LP which will come out later 2014 (fingers crossed).
Much of the inspiration for the EP came from a necessity to express myself after a lengthy 6-9 months working on a more structured and polished alt-pop record. I wanted to capture something urgent and ephemeral, inspired around the theme of Uncanny Valley and Japanese bands including Grape Iris, Dip in the Pool and Mariah, the Female Basic EP quickly emerged. Recorded in my Melbourne home studio (shared with Andras Fox) over a few weeks in March/April 2014 I am enjoying the immediacy of its release.
Here’s the first track, and the rest to come soon.
More info on the Teto Records site:
Photo by: Jade Cantwell
For those who might have been wondering yes I am still here and very much alive.
Recently, my focus has been on my graphic design graduate studies which will be finished for the year this coming Monday. In the 8 years since I completed my first degree I managed to shed myself of all deadline induced anxiety but since starting this course it’s come flooding back. I’ve spent the last month as a slave to the Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve been head banging, hair pulling, fist pounding and occasionally fist pumping.
Once a week I learn Japanese language - it’s totemotanoshiidesu. This is my version of a gym membership, exercising the brain through kinder level conversation is surprisingly fulfilling.
I also spend my time at Melbourne Museum a few days a week conjuring up immersive experiences for future visitors of an exhibition which will take place next year in the Mind & Body gallery. Research for this project has been incredibly stimulating and I intend on carrying this inspiration into my personal interactive work in the future.
I continue to freelance for the talented Lou Weis, creative director of Broached Commissions and we’re developing digital strategy for Bruce Ramus who I’m excited to be working with. We interviewed Bruce back in 2011 for InFrame.tv, he’s a lovely man.
So to my next Sui Zhen album - I haven’t touched it for a month which feels like a very long time. I am ready to be a muso again over the summer. I really can’t wait. I have some offers to release it from Australian labels and will make the decision once it’s all mixed. It won’t come out till next March (2014) but I’ll be busy making the music videos and designing artwork for the vinyl until that happens. Vinyl!
Another bit of news is that Fox + Sui, (collaborative project with Andras Fox) are planning to get into the studio again with a new name - Andrew & Rebecca. Yes, our two fully extended first names. It just seems so obvious. 2014 is going to be a busy musical year and I will be sharing lots of new bits and pieces with you.
In the mean time, keep looking at dogs smiling on buzzfeed and be sure to check out the Sunfish Suite by Ian MacFarlane, an Australian musician. Then google the Sun fish, if you don’t already know it’s an incredibly bizarre thing.
Last Saturday night I played a show for the Cake Wines pop up launch. It was a relaxed, warm & fuzzy wine filled evening - which was no surprise. I drank ‘organic’ wine with no preservatives made by Richie Harkham - an intensely charismatic artisan who jumped on a plane to Nashville just a couple of hours after our 2am post-gig dumpling feast. I think flavour of the wine influenced the flavour of my set.
I experimented with a new addition to my live set up - the formidable Juno 60. I hope to bring it down for the Rainbow Chan show coming up at Boney on August 22nd. The visual impact alone sets the right tone… playing on the audience’s pre-conceived notion of ‘girl with analog synth’ to ease myself into my new karaoke style set.
Logistics aside - I’m at the halfway point with the album. So I am doing little private show-and-tells for feedback before I make decisions about finding a label or doing another self-release. In lieu of a single release - I am toying with the idea of releasing some other things for free on bandcamp, stuff that won’t work on the album. What do you think internet? Would you like that?
As for the rest of the world - I heard some of the new Julia Holter today, I like the space in her songs and the sense of slowness. She’s not in a rush to say something, she lets it unfold in a very delicate but assured way. Another discovery this week is Sean Nicholas Savage’s new song, Other Side. Truly incredible songwriter who seemingly nails the songwriting in the first few takes, which keeps his works under produced and authentically lo-fi. —— “now we can live a life of leisure filling each other up with pleasure" —- I highly recommend digging around in his back catalogue too.
A big (but not necessarily new) recent influence is Crow44. Friend from the 2010 RBMA James Pants put me onto the band, kind of a new age more ambient version of Part Time. I put Crow44 on after working all day, when I’m putting my feet up ready to do some serious ‘internetting’.
Enjoy the hyperlinks and don’t forget to take time to enjoy a good stretch in the morning!
Photo credit: Thanks to Glen Cassidy for the lovely photos from Cake Wines pop up bar gig last Saturday night.
Since I last made a post I have moved house, interviewed and pitched for new work, made a video, written and recorded some new songs and I started a graduate diploma. But it’s still July! Will this month ever end? (Yes, in approximately two hours).
From the studio in our new place we look out to Infinity Street. I call it Infinity Street because the block is so long. I can see straight from Nicholson to Lygon and beyond. I like to image ‘beyond’ is forever, but I know it ends. My eyesight is not so good so it’s easy pretend.
I’ve written a song from the new house but only time will tell if it’s any good. It’s unsurprisingly called, Infinity Street.
The album is coming along, it’s the foundation to everything else I’m doing currently. And as expected as soon as I got busier I felt more at ease with the recording process.
I’m conceptualising a couple of videos but have not yet decided on the single. There’s a miniature battle taking place in my mind about it. I plan to release something late September so the decision will be made soon.
It’s weird to write a blog, but I am enjoying this little outlet - to whoever is reading, I hope you are well fed, in comfortable low light and happy.
The photo here is of me ‘in action’, recording a new song (and a single contender).
p.s. note the large wind sock on the mic, it made me feel like a tv journalist, pro.
Recording is going great. I’ve been working on a song called ‘Dear Teri’- with an arrangement inspired by Antena, and Mecano’s Hawai Bombay. The lyric and melody were composed several months ago but I’ve since added bass guitar, electric guitar and lots of Korg M1. My favourite presets are ‘Ooh Ahh’ and ‘Bottles’ - which as you might imagine, are excellent breathy 80s synth-pads. This could be the most mature song I’ve ever written. I might feel differently tomorrow, but right now that makes me very happy.
Andy, Todd and I took a brief sojourn to Warburton last week to record and work remotely with the country air to clear our colds. It kind of worked, but more than anything it reminded me that a busy routine in a ‘regular lifestyle’ is what inspires me most. Nature proved to be more of a sedative. I felt sleepy and calm, what with all the mountains, forests, waterfalls to explore. We decided to return home after I had to take a Skype conference at Lilydale Maccas for the free wifi. A small child was yelling ‘cup-of-CHINO’ and it compromised my professionalism.
So I’ve finally relaxed into my routine - daytimes are for meetings, freelance work, improving my portfolio and job seeking. And as night falls I migrate to the studio. It’s silly how you have to always go, to know, you don’t need to go - am I right?
Anyway, I’m eating a tim tam and there’s a Fellini film on in the background. I took the boardwalk photo in South Melbourne just last Friday whilst eating hot chips. They were cripsy, salty enough and there was ample sauce. And the other is Andy looking out for snow on Mount Donna Buang up near Warburton.
EAD Records in Koenji is stocking a limited amount of our vinyl. Thank you Yozo! More details here: