Melbourne’s Ainslie Wills has just released her latest single Drive from her forthcoming EP Oh the Gold. Tomatrax caught up with Ainslie to talk about her music!
Your latest single, Drive, covers some confronting and thought provoking themes, what was the inspiration behind the song?
There are lots of different triggers that prompt the songwriting process. Sometimes you are writing purely for catharsis, to express a particular emotion/situation. Sometimes you may be inspired by a line that someone has spoken or a musical idea that needs to be explored. For Drive, I was at first writing for cathartic reasons, the chorus ‘Drive all night, escape’ was the first musical translation of that emotion. Once that chorus was established I could fill in the rest.
What inspired you to record your latest single in Brisbane?
In 2013 I was on tour promoting the album ‘You go your way, I’ll go mine’ when I met producer extraordinaire – Matt Redlich (Holy Holy/Emma Louise/Ball Park Music). We got talking about our musical loves and from there a connection was established. In early 2014 my co collaborator and guitarist Lawrence Folvig and I tracked Drive with Matt at his studio – Grandma’s Place.
I really never would have considered going to Brisbane to record had it not been for meeting Matt but I’m so glad it happened the way it did.
You will be launching the single this coming weekend, what can fans expect from your show?
I’m lucky enough to get to play with four other amazing musicians who’ll be joining me for this launch show. We’ll be presenting a mix of old and new tunes including Drive and songs from the forthcoming EP ‘Oh The Gold’.
My aim for the live shows is that people are able to come and dissolve themselves in the music and hopefully connect in some way. I’m inspired by lots of different styles of music and I feel that the set is representative of this.
Drive will form part of your upcoming EP, how will the rest of the EP compare with Drive?
As I mentioned above, between Lawrence Folvig, my co-collaborator / guitarist, and I, we have a very broad musical palette. We don’t strive to create the same sound over and over again, rather we try and service each song as best we can.
The tracks that will comprise the EP are like pieces of a larger story that we want to string together when it comes time to release the album.
Where did the name Oh the gold come from?
Lawrence gave me an iphone demo of a song he’d made with his acoustic Guitar. I then started jamming some lyrics over the top and the line ‘Oh The Gold’ came out in the process which was maybe due to my obsession with that colour at the time. The song is still being made but it references a particular mood/feeling like the one we feel when we are completely and utterly living in the moment, there is a certain type of freedom that comes with that feeling, a warmth which I see as a golden colour. That’s as articulate I can be with it at this stage.
You received a fair amount of acclaim for your previous work, did this make you feel any pressure when putting your latest work together?
It’s been great to hear that the last album resonated with listeners, It has given me a lot of confidence to keep doing what I’m doing. I do feel however that I’ve only started to scratch the surface of exploring what I can do via songwriting, particularly with reference to the songs that were made collaboratively with Lawrence. I always feel a pressure to do good work so this is no different. What is important to me is that the sounds and songs are progressing/evolving and are still able to connect with those that hear them.
You sang on No 1 dads’ track So solider, how did this collaboration come about?
I met Tom through our mutual publisher. It was suggested that we have a go at writing a track together so Tom handed me a demo that was a little reminiscent of The Smiths at that point. I came up with some melodies and lyrics and then collaboratively we sat down and pulled So Soldier together. I felt lucky to be able to work with Tom and get a different perspective on the songwriting process.
How does singing for other artists compare with performing solo?
I feel like there is a bit less pressure when you are performing for/with other artists because you are sharing the load of what it is to make and release a song. Also when you are writing collaboratively the content is perhaps not as personal as say what you’d write in solitary as you are trying to establish a common theme/ground.
If you could make a guest appearance for any band who would it be?
Hmm, that’s hard, probably Patti Smith.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yes. It comes with the territory. Especially when you are writing and arranging. Some songs that I’ve written have up to 7 or 8 versions so there’s a lot of reflective listening on what you’ve done previously and how that compares to what you are doing now.
What other music do you listen to?
My new musical obsession is with Sharon Van Etten. I just saw her play at A Festival Called Panama and she was absolutely breathtaking.
Otherwise, I listen to lots of different styles of music – E’bsuku, Debussy, Q-tip, Hiatus Kaiyote, St Vincent, West Side Story..
What do you plan on doing after your EP is released?
I’ll be touring the EP at some point. From that point on I’ll be looking at getting things ready for the album release. I also hope to get to the UK sometime in the not too distant future.