A Chat with The Wattles (20.05.20)

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, The Wattles is an indie group with a spellbinding sound. A result of the duo James & Lucy wanting to expand, The Wattles are a foursome combining soothing instrumentation with sultry vocals. We had a chance to catch up with vocalist and keys player Lucy Murray (LM) about their new single ‘Days Glare’, discovering new music and much much more!

OSR: How did The Wattles come together?

LM: Our band actually came about fairly recently as a result of our duo, James & Lucy, wanting to expand. Previously we were more of an acoustic project and we were keen to move more into the indie-rock scene. So, at the start of this year, we changed our name to The Wattles and added Max on drums and Charlie on bass, and we have loved this new dynamic.

OSR: What about the band name? How did you decide on The Wattles?

LM: A Wattle is a type of native Australian flower. I got a fine line tattoo of a Wattle on my inner arm when living overseas and I guess it’s just a sentimental flower to me. We thought it would be a good idea when growing our band to change our name to embrace this new chapter.

OSR: You recently released a single ‘Days Glare’. What can you tell us about the concept of the song?

LM: ‘Days Glare’ is an intriguing piano and vocal-led song with solid rhythm and drive. It starts with a mysterious ambiance and builds throughout with different textures from vocals, electric guitar, drums and synth parts. The song has a hip-hop-like groove with raw ballad influences.

Conceptually, ‘Days Glare’ is an honest internal dialogue; a stream of thought. It lightly explores the idea of leaving long-term relationships, playing around with these opposing feelings towards independence. Sadness, but also freedom. Fear, but also excitement. Spiralling or stagnancy.

The ‘glare’ is referring to that feeling after a night out. Morning sun through your window, heaviness in your eyes, temporary struggles, yet the satisfaction of doing your own thing. Take it as you like though, we encourage you to interpret it how you like.

OSR: What about the recording of the track?

LM: The track was written by me. This track was produced by Lee McDonald and James Suttor (lead guitarist) at The Factory Studios in Sydney and mastered by Complete Sound Studio. The track was initially recorded in 2018 and we have been working on it sporadically since. It wasn’t super easy to record as I kept returning to the UK for studies, but we are happy with how it turned out!

OSR: If you had to describe the song in one word, what would it be?

LM: Self-empowering.

OSR: You released a video along with the single. Can you tell us about the video?

LM: This clip has sort of a vintage ‘Bond’ feel to it. We actually shot and edited the video ourselves due to isolation. The music video plays with shadow, light and liquid textures. The moving colour splashes were created by filming a marbling ink technique on water. The whole video experience was really enjoyable and experimental.

OSR: How would you describe your music to a person who has not heard of The Wattles before?

LM: We would probably say that we are a mix of a few different genres and influences. We are inspired by female-led bands like The Jezabels, London Grammar, and Florence and the Machine. We sound slightly indie, slightly folk, slightly ballad-y, slightly rock; it kind of depends on each track.

OSR: Do you think female-fronted bands are receiving enough attention at the moment?

LM: Yes and also no. In Australia, the whole pub-band scene is really big for getting your tracks out there and can sometimes attract a bit of a more masculine live act and crowd. Where we live in the north of Sydney, there aren’t many regular gigging female acts, I don’t think. The cities are better in that way and have more diversity of course, but it can be hard to find places that will necessarily suit your music if it is more mellow or intimate. It would be cool if festivals and live events had more female and gender diverse line-ups to have better representation in the industry. At the moment though, I do feel as though a lot of great female-fronted bands are getting the attention they deserve and it’s definitely a nice break from all of the all-dude acts.

OSR: Who is your favourite (not most influential but favourite) and why?

LM: Without a doubt, Florence and The Machine. She has inspired me from a pretty young age as an inspiring female lead. Their music is so emotive and powerful, and I guess I am always impressed by the band’s versatility and complex songwriting. Having seen them four times live, I am always captivated by Florence’s energy, fragility and strength. Visually, she’s quite whimsical and playful too, and I think that’s important.

OSR: Do you think being from Australia has any bearing on your music and its promotion?

LM: For a start, having our name as The Wattles kind of brings an Australian theme to us. Lyrically, I think we are naturally inspired by our surroundings. I think I tend to have an Australian accent when I sing and I quite like that. Our video clips for sure have an Australian theme and influence.

OSR: Do you think a person’s environment influences their music?

LM: Yes and no. Thanks to the internet it’s really easy to find a niche taste in music and I think online streaming has made music definitely more globalised. However, you can definitely be inspired by the surrounding culture and local acts, even sometimes unconsciously.   

OSR: Which is more difficult – music or lyrics?

LM: For me, the music is slightly harder as I only began playing piano in 2016. I have always found writing pretty natural and enjoy writing poems. For James, the music comes more naturally than the lyrics. We do think it depends per track.

Image courtesy of The Wattles

OSR: If you were a superhero, what would your powers be and why?

LM: Ironically, we have just began recording a song about this. I think invisibility would be a really cool power. As I have struggled with anxiety, it would be nice to walk around in scary environments without being noticed sometimes.

OSR: Do you enjoy sport and if so, which is your favourite?

LM: I think we all enjoy the outdoors a lot! I like sailing and hockey and the boys like cricket, but everyone loves Frisbee.

OSR: What is next on the cards for The Wattles?

LM: We recently recorded three new tracks with our favourite sound engineer Lee McDonald and, hopefully, will release them around September. They have been part of our live act for a while, but it has been super exciting to record them with the new band members on our new electric organ. We hope to gig as soon as the live scene is allowed! We are just keen to keep up the momentum, keep creating and sharing.

Thanks to Lucy Murray from The Wattles for chatting with us! You can find more about The Wattles on their Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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