Winner, winner chicken dinner, Gordi‘s Can We Work It Out was today declared to be triple j Unearthed’s most played song for 2015. After topping none other than HypeMachine as well, this big-beating folktronica track is clearly tapping into the collective zeitgeist of songlove right now. WildnFree had a few words with the 2015 Unearthed Artist of the Year nominee, Canowindra’s very own Gordi, the morning after her most massive day of the year. We learned the following things to share with you all.
Gordi, how’s things?
I’m good, my voice is a little croaky though, I had a triple j ARIA showcase gig last night and I’d just finished my exams beforehand, so it ended up being a ‘celebratory’ evening.
You’re studying too? What?!
Yes, I’m studying medicine at UNSW (STFU). It was intense, I finished my exam at 5:30pm at Liverpool Hospital and my soundcheck was at 6pm at Newtown Social Club, so I literally didn’t stop until I finished my gig and finally sat down and had a drink. It was the busiest day of my whole year so far.
Many apologies for calling so early! They told me 10am! So what’s it going to be, music or medicine?
That’s the million dollar question. I’m seeing how it all pans out and keep my options open.
(WildnFree suggests specialising in the vocal chords, AKA Otolaryngology. Gordi politely agreed she’d keep it in mind)… Tell me all about your big year!
It’s been a massive 12 months, if I think back to what was happening only a year ago, it’s pretty amazing, I couldn’t ask for much more. I put out first single Nothing’s As It Seems and didn’t anticipate the reaction we received. It got out to FBi Radio and triple j, it was such a special moment for me to hear it on triple j. Since then, I’ve released another two tracks, and the last six months has been about really refining a live show to match the online presence. It can be a bit of an issue with electronic acts, putting out music that’s produced on computers and synths, to replicate that on stage isn’t always easy. It’s been a learning process but we’re hitting our stride.
Tell me all about the APRA Josh Pyke Partnership you won earlier in the year?*
The Josh Pyke Partnership grant has been amazing, not only the financial help, but Josh’s advice and direction, plus the advice and direction of his management team, has been incredible. We’ve looked at issues like independent release versus label release plus elements of the live show, and I’ve been asking him about the most important things to him in his career. It’s been pretty great.
I saw you supporting Little May at the Corner Hotel, I’m guessing support slots have been an important part of the plan for you this year?
Yes, it’s been a major part of it, and I think it’s important to choose who you support wisely, especially to make sure the fan base aligns. I love Little May and I think our music speaks to the same kind of audience, so it was a great opportunity. It’s amazing playing your own shows, but it’s so good rocking up to a packed-out show as a support act. There’s not as much pressure and it’s just a great opportunity to get your music out there.
Tell me about you recent signing with Mushroom Music Publishing! Congrats!
Out of every record company in Australia, they’re my favourite. I’ve had great interactions with lots of other labels, but there’s something about the staff there, they’re all about you putting your best creative foot forward. As for the recording side, I’m still in a few discussions which will hopefully be finalised soon. Finding the right advice is always really hard, everyone’s got their own take on things, so I’ve been trying to listen to as many people as I can, collate all the opinions and see what fits what I’m doing.
Seems like being considered, finding good advice and getting as much info as possible seems to be the best thing someone at your stage in your career should do, right?
Yes, a big part of the last 12 months has been assembling a great team; like in media and photography; we’ve tried to put a lot of thought into every element as well as getting the right people.
Tell me a little more about your musical background.
I’m based in Sydney, but I’m a country girl from Canowindra, NSW. My parents are farmers, and I went away to boarding school in Sydney when I was eleven. My mum’s a piano teacher and she used to put on Billy Joel and Carole King records when I was little. I listened to a mix of artists but the things they had in common were that they were all good songwriters and the lyrics were just as important as the melody and the chords, which has stayed with me. I started playing piano at 4 and began picking up guitar and other instruments at 11 or 12, then started to write songs when I was about 13. I wrote classic angsty teenage songs that will never, ever be played again (laughs sheepishly). My life wasn’t that bad, why was I full of so much angst?!
Especially being away at boarding school, I had a lot of emotions to express which made me very reflective. The core of my songwriting is personal reflection. There’s never an exact formula I follow, but it’s personal experience, or if I’m lacking inspiration, I’ll read widely or watch films or source inspiration from somewhere.
Can We Work It Out topped HypeMachine, WTF.
Yep, that was nuts. We were really hoping it would do well, we wanted to make it a big track so we had some big production on it, while still trying to keep it interesting. The guy who produced it used two wooden paddles to create big percussion sounds, and every time he clapped the paddles, it snapped in half. He was eventually left with two little pieces! With the track, we were drawing inspiration from bands like Highasakite and kind of really hoping to get that cool Nordic percussive sound to give it a bit more momentum.
It worked! Now tell me about your upcoming Melbourne and Sydney shows.
I’m playing Melbourne’s Shebeen on the 3rd, I love playing there, it’s such a great venue. Sydney doesn’t quite have a venue that matches it, but I’m looking forward to playing at Goodgod Small Club. We were thinking we’d might have released the EP by then, but we’ve pushed it back to 2016. I wanted to round out the year with a few shows, just to see who turns up! Its a bit scary, but its a good way to see how many people are engaging with your music.
So when is the EP out?
Early in the new year, we’re looking at finalising the track list and deciding what’s the best representation of the past year so we can make the final call.
*Just another reason why Josh Pyke deserves the title of Honoured Legend of WildnFree
Be the 160,000 person to listen to most-played Unearthed song of 2015 Can We Work It Out. Live Melbourne and Sydney dates below!
THURSDAY 3RD DECEMBER – SHEBEEN, MELBOURNE
w/ special guests. Tickets here.
THURSDAY 10TH DECEMBER – GOODGOD, SYDNEY
w/ special guests. Tickets here.