There is nothing more satisfying than getting to meet an artist and finding out they are even cooler in person. MEB’s Maria Gironas got a chance to interview the talented Australian native Megan Washington to talk about her tour in the states, her new album, and her love for music.
MEB: First off, what has the tour been like?
MW: It’s been really fun. This is sort of a new band, except for my bass player, and it’s been really interesting getting to know them. And it’s funny cause our first stop on the tour was our first time performing together and with each show we get more and more comfortable with the music… and each other’s habits and foibles. The crowds have also been really receptive which was kind of a surprise for me, but a good surprise. And I have even managed to find some good vintage in most of the cities we’ve visited.
What has been the biggest difference in the process of releasing your CD here in the states?
At home, we released three EPs before releasing the record and toured for about three years around Australia so by the time the record came out people had some sort of reference point of my work and style. As opposed to here, where this would be my first national US tour with a band. And not only that, no one here knows who the f*** I am which is actually sort of liberating, not that I was suppressed before but it’s sort of a fresh feeling to play in a city for the first time.
What are you most excited about concerning your album? (Dropping October 11th in the U.S.)
It’s been a quite a test for me because the record has been out for almost a year at home and the last time I had listened to it was three months before we released it there. So when we had it remixed by Michael Brauer in New York, the master came back about a month ago and I sat there and made myself listen to it and I found I still liked it – which was a reassuring feeling cause I’d hate to be like “Hey America here is my s*** record.” But luckily I still like it and I loved remembering all the little things we did in it. I’m very proud of it and glad I can share it with more people, and hopefully some people will like it. And you know touring and playing shows is always really fun and now that it’s coming out I get to tour more and play more shows.
Would you say touring and playing is your favorite part of music?
Recording is definitely my favorite thing to do. My life is very nomadic and I feel quite peripatetic most of the time being that I’m only in a city for a day or a couple days. You miss everybody’s freaking birthday, all the parties, and you miss everything. But when you are recording, you get to be in a place for a number of weeks or months and I love that. I can do things like Yoga and go to a local coffee place where the guy working there would be like “ Hey, you were here yesterday.” then I’d say “That’s right! And now I’m here today!” And I also love the articulation of an idea, to be able to write a song and record it on your iPhone and make a shitty demo then watch it grow and develop and crystallize, making it all worthwhile.
At this point in your career, what has been your top “I can’t believe this is happening moment”?
There is always that moment when you play a festival or a big show when you start singing the chorus to something and all of a sudden there are like 5000 people singing it back to you; it’s such a great feeling. It’s a sort of tangible proof of sharing music and having people include it in their lives. It’s a unification of individuals, including me where we become a part of a big crew. And it’s moments like that where I go “F***, do I really get to do this for a living? This is awesome!” but then you have a 4 am loading call the next morning and you wonder “F***, why did I decide to do this again?”
What’s your favorite show you’ve done on the tour so far?
Probably San Fran. It was the first show for me that felt like a gig and not a recital cause the band is so new, a lot of the shows have been just about getting through. But, now that we’ve been on the road for a couple of weeks there is more room for improvisation, spontaneity and a bit more punk rock. It excites me.
You started out your music career singing jazz music. Does it still influence you in your music today?
Yes, absolutely. I studied at the Conservatory of Queensland in jazz, voice, and composition and there are some things you can’t unlearn. Though I don’t write jazz, I think it’s still a part of my lexicon, like certain harmonic landscapes or phrasings come out subconsciously. Some shows I can’t even help myself, I just get so jazzy. My old drummer even called me Jazzy Jeff. It truly influences my writing like in “Holy Moses” and especially “The Hardest Part.” That song has like 1,000 chords in it, it’s a tricky little bastard.
You’ve come such a long way since staring out with jazz, what are your goals now?
I really want to give this record the time and the touring that I feel it deserves. I want to write and I want to…well, write more. And get better at guitar. I see this tour continuing on for about a year and a half and after I’d like to write something that’s just fun to perform live. Something with a bit of spice in it and some more angles. I feel like this record has more circles and I’d like to write something that’s a bit more linear. Overall to just improve as a writer and to find more inspiration, which is hard to come by.
What was your influence behind your current album I Believe You Liar?
This guy…kind of like an Edgar Allen Poe novel. But I guess the real answer is relationships and the difference between reality and fiction. When you think about it, a lot of relationships are really built on fiction. This record is kind of interrogating in that sense; it’s the space between memory, fantasy, therapy and truth.
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