Eliza Hull has had a busy few years, writing music, poetry, stories and production soundtrack as well as traveling to Cambodia and Burma to teach music. She has recently teamed up with Hayden Calnin to produce her latest single Ghosts. Tomatrax caught up with Eliza to ask some questions.
What inspired you to become a musician?
It’s just something I always wanted to do. Singing makes me happy. I started writing songs when I was a teenager and haven’t stopped.
You’ve started work on your second EP, how is it coming along?
It’s coming along really nicely. Hayden Calnin is producing it. We have been working at his home studio in the Mornington Peninsula which is such a beautiful setting. I’ve been bringing him a new song each time to record and work on. It’s a bit of a different sound, slightly more organic and some of the tracks are quite uplifting which I’m really loving. The arrangements are also a lot more simple and stripped back. In April I am off to New York through a grant I received to work with Pat Dillett (St Vincent, Sia) so some of those tracks might also make the EP.
Given the critical acclaim your debut EP had, do you feel any pressure with your next release?
Not at all. I was really happy with the positive response I had from Dawn, but I am excited to share my new music.
Where was the footage for the video for Ghosts taken from?
I studied film at UNI and met some great people there including a friend Alifeleti Tuapasi Toki. I asked him to create a video for Ghosts. He used found footage sourced from the fantastic Rick Prelinger Archives. It is all just archived footage. I think it really suits the haunting mood of the song.
You’re also writing the music for the music for Kage Physical Theatres production Forklift, how did that come about?
Last year I was working at Australian Poetry and the director of Kage Kate Denborough was holding a poetry workshop to do with the physical body. I contacted her at that time and sent her my music and she really loved it. She came to my launch at the Toff for Dawn and then asked me to write the music for Forklift. I am so excited about this project. I went to Brisbane recently to watch the performers and it’s going to be a really spectacular show.
How does writing for a production like that compare to writing songs?
I have to write music that is going to suit the show instead of what just comes out naturally for an EP. I have to think about how they are going to move to the music, and keep the lyrics quite minimal. It’s a great challenge!
Are there plans to write music for any other productions?
Not at this stage. I would love to write for more productions and I hope after Forklift more people will ask me to. I like writing with a theme in mind, it gives you inspiration that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.
You’ve also posted a lot of poetry on your site, is any of it likely to be made into songs or is planned to be completely separate?
At the moment I am just writing lyrics for the EP but I hope to get back into my poetry. I like to keep a journal where I write little pieces. Sometimes my poetry does turn into songs but generally I know as I am writing whether it’s just a poem or lyrics for a song. I like keeping them separate.
You have also done a fair bit of creative writing, are there any plans to release any books?
Absolutely. Definitely one of my dreams is to write a novel. I have a couple of ideas that are sitting there waiting to be written. I guess it’s just finding the time!
Last year you toured Cambodia and Burma, what was it like to visit these places?
Life changing. I was awarded an Australia Council grant to travel to these countries to teach music and poetry. In Cambodia I worked at the ‘Happy School’ the kids were absolutely beautiful and so positive. It really broke my heart. I loved singing with them and teaching them some of my songs. It was a beautiful experience. I also went to Burma where I visited my friend Nicole May who works with the first all girl band Me N Ma Girls, there an all girl band who together have fought oppression to express themselves, this to me was a powerful thing to witness in a country that has a lot of censorship. I got to sing with the girls and we all shared stories. It was magical!
What’s the main source of inspiration for your words and your music?
Life experiences, love, watching strangers and movies. At the moment I am writing a lot about travel, I’m about to go to Europe and New York and am writing a lot about the anticipation.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yes I do. I like to look back and see how I’ve grown. My first CD was recorded when I was thirteen, then fifteen, eighteen, twenty and twenty five. A lot changes each time. At the moment I’m listening to my demos to see what I want to add and change.
What other music do you listen to?
I listen to local musicians like Hayden Calnin, Ainslie Wills, Haarlo and Gossling. Also Jeff Buckley, Sia, Janis Joplin, Little Dragon and Grimes at the moment.
What do you have planned in 2013?
I am performing a lot the first half of the year. I have St Kilda Festival, Moomba and a headline show as well as a show with Ainslie Wills. Then I am off to Europe and the US in April till the end of the year. I will also be performing with Kage’s ‘Forklift’ the second half of the year. It’s going to be an exciting year!