Racing is out now!
Australian artist Lochie Colin has unveiled his debut album, Racing. We caught up with musician to chat about the release, his artistry, crafting a unique sonic realm and so much more!
Across the body of work, Colin's craftful approach to songwriting navigates the human existence, with a particular focus on love, loss and reconciling with past hurt. Recalling on experiences from his youth, he touches on moments that left him longing for more out of life and speaks directly to his younger self to share the message that life can blossom after teenagehood. Introspective and relatable lyricism is brought to life by Colin's mesmerising vocal tones, drawing the listener in and lulling them with warm and engaging melodies that brings a sense of nostalgic comfort.
The body of work presents genre-defying soundscapes, leaning into influences of classic rock, 60's pop and dance, creating a unique sonic exploration that oozes with charm and an effortless presence. Widely self-produced by the musician, Racing serves as a chronicle of Colin's own artistic evolution as a producer and songwriter. The album captures five years of experimentation with sound and self-taught production skills, that have in turn been utilised to create a delightful and charismatic debut body of work.
Before we get into the album, could you tell me about your musical background and what led you to pursuing music?
When I was growing up my mum was a piano teacher, so she made sure that all of my siblings played an instrument like school [laughs]. We were kind of very much forced into it, even if we didn't want to. So I started playing the trumpet when I was six, and that kind of continued. My brother and sister stopped after a couple years. They didn't really like it, but I played trumpet in this symphonic orchestra at school for the whole time, from year 2 to year 12 when I finished. That was kind of all I did until I was 18 pretty much. And then, you know, the trumpet wasn't really enough at that point, so I started to try and play other instruments. Mum had tried to teach me piano when I was very young, but it's very hard to learn from someone that you are close with. We had a piano at home, so I just started fiddling around with it, learning songs that I liked. And then I had a guitar from when I was like five and tried to do lessons of that as well, but I hated it, and then just taught myself that as well. Then it just sort of turned into an obsession and spiralled out of control a little bit and I just kept buying instruments and [laughs] learning as many as I could and which led me to now.
That's an expensive obsession, but one that's paid off! You debut album Racing has arrived, and it's truly a wonderful body of work. I think there's quite a craftful approach to the songwriting on the album and captures moments of the human experience, at least my in my opinion. Could you unpack the themes and concepts explored across the album and the importance in documenting them within your music?
Well, I think I had a pretty rough high school experience. I went to a school from year seven to nine where I was not treated particularly well. I think a lot of it stems from that, and then just wanting more out of life than what I was getting, I guess the last couple years of high school were very good though. Half the album was written based on those very young teenage years and kind of the angst that comes along with that, and then the rest of the album, which explores love and loss and all that, was based on past relationships and new relationships. I think I was kind of exploring what I would've liked to hear. Like a lot of it's talking to myself. It might sound like I'm talking to other people or like, you know, I'm saying baby and it sounds like I'm talking to a girlfriend. But a lot of it in my mind I was trying to speak to that younger Lochie and say everything's gonna be okay. 'This isn't great, but it turns out better in the end'.
Yeah, that's so lovely and I think something everyone can relate to, going back to your younger self to offer some reassurance. There's a fair few sonic influences on the album, it leans into like different genres and weaves and together threads of classic rock, sixties pop, little dance moments. How did you go about crafting the overall sonic realm of Racing?
It's gone through a whole lot of phases and deleting and [laughs] recording. I guess it's just kind of a mix of everything that's influenced me over the past five years. When I first started it and I was just getting into recording and stuff, it was very indie pop, you know, like Rex Orange County, Mac DeMarco and all that stuff because that's just what I was into at the time. But by the time I'd finished it, I kind of realised that all the songs were just the exact same. It was just following the formula, like four chords and a little guitar thing and you know, catchy melody. But then when I was around 18 I just became very infatuated with music of all genres, but especially rock music. Which before that, I hadn't really heard much rock music until I was 18 [laughs]. I kind of became very obsessed with it. I just listened to The Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra and all those bands just obsessively. And then I think it just slowly became a mix of those two things. So the pop music and the rock music because I very much like to be able to focus and do a pop album and a rock album, but you know, know for the first one I just kind of wanted to explore a bit of everything and it kind of turned into this massive [laughs] sound and I think it sounds pretty unique and I like it.
It sounds so great and expansive. I think it's also wonderful to establish on your debut that you do want to explore different genres and not stick to the one lane. A few of the songs on the album you teamed up with Mark Lizotte, more famously known as Diesel. How did that collaborative relationship come about?
Well when I released my first single, I'm also a model and my agents are very close with with Mark, like on a friend basis. I think Priscilla, the head of my modelling agency, she sent my first single to him and he called me and he said, 'Hey, I'd like to meet you with you, even if it doesn't come of anything, I'd just like to have a chat'. And that's literally what we did. I went to his house and we talked for like three hours about the music we like and kind of found that we have very much in common. And then just kind of went from there. I started doing some sessions and then, yeah, now we've got three songs on the album that we did together and I'm very happy with them.
That's so awesome. It's such a nice bridge from your modelling career to your musical output as well. What do you think has been the most important thing you've learned from him throughout this process? Obviously he has so much experience and would have a treasure trove of advice.
I think a lot of it's just to not get too overexcited about anything. Because a lot of the time you're gonna be disappointed. In terms of production he's taught me a lot, but the main thing that I've taken away is just to always go back to the first draft of what you've done. Because most of the time, especially when you're an obsessive producer, you end up making something that is just a complete mess because you keep adding things to it. So yeah, always go back to the first thing and you might find that it is better than what you've been working on tirelessly for the past couple months.
That's some good advice.
Yeah, very good advice.
You produced the album as well, correct?
Yeah, so apart from the three songs that I did with Mark, which two were produced by him, one was co-produce, the rest of it I produced and played all the instruments in my bedroom [laughs].
I love that. So what do you think are the advantages of kind of having that complete creative control of the final recording?
I think it's just the ability to do what I want and not have anyone else's opinion, which is good sometimes, but [laughs] at other times it's not very good. So mum is used for advice a lot and, you know, 'does this sound good or am I completely lost?' I just like the ability to build something from the bottom up and just kind of like, I start with drums and then who knows what will come after that. It's just kind of fiddling around and then seeing what works. I think if I had a band it would be very set, like the base of the song would be very set. I just like the fact that I don't know what the end outcome's gonna be when I start the song.
Yeah, that's such an interesting perspective. The the first single from the album, I Don't Know/Alright!, came out just over two years ago now. You mentioned that the your artistry has gone through a bit of a change in terms of the sound and genre. How did this collection of songs evolve over the past two years since the release of that first single?
I think the album actually, if you listen to it from top to bottom, it kind of shows a difference in production quality. I Don't Know/Alright! was kind of the first songs I ever really finished recording and all the stuff before that was just kind of messy ideas. I think as I got better at producing or, you know, more comfortable with producing, I was more comfortable using weirder sounds and changing up the landscape. I think I Don't Know/Alright! is very basic pop-rock. It's grungy guitar drums and that's about it. Whereas a lot of the rest of the album has a lot of different weird aspects. And also just throughout that time I started to pay more attention to production in music I liked rather than just going, 'Oh that's good song', or only taking influence from on the songwriting. I became very obsessed with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra and started to try and use some of the things he did and see how I could do it in my own way.
Yeah, I back that. Especially tuning into what the production is doing on music you liked. If you had to pick three songs off the album to play with someone who had never heard your music before that you think would make then an instant diehard fan, which three would you choose?
That's a tough question. Probably Works Out For You just because it's very fun and danceable and very pop. Maybe Sometime, Somewhere, Long Ago. I think that shows a bit more of my influences and songwriting. Maybe Clowns (Will Be Clowns) as well, just because I think it's very bombastic song. I like it a lot.
I mean, everyone should just listen to the whole thing top to bottom. But if they only have like 10-15 minutes, there you go. Is there a particular line, lyric or musical motif from the album that you find will get stuck in your head more often than others? Or maybe one that you're most proud of?
There is a part in the song Clowns (Will Be Clowns) and it goes like, "oh, it's magic" and it's just completely different from the rest of the song. It just kind of changes into this 12 bar blues thing with vocoder and stuff going everywhere. That gets stuck in my head a lot and I would like to have turned that 12 bars into a whole song if I could. Maybe I will.
Do it on the the next album. I love when artists build off a canon from one of their precious releases. Now that the album's done and is out in the world, what are your thoughts listening back to it now as a complete body of work?
I'm very happy with it, which I never thought I would say [laughs]. Because I Don't Know/Alright! came out in 2020 and the album was supposed to closely follow that and it didn't because I wasn't happy with it. But I'm now very happy with it and I'm ready to put it behind me and go, 'well that's what I did when I started and that's the starting point'. But I think from it I'm able to pick a lot of things that I wanna focus on more, like hone in on more and I very much know what the next album's gonna sound like. It's already mostly written.
Do you have any live performance plans? I know you'll be overseas for the following months, but o you have anything in mind for when you do return home?
Yeah, so I have a band which is just mostly made of my friends from the jazz band at school. I've made sure they're on board and everything and then I think when I'm back we'll start doing some practices and then I think it's time to do some live shows. Because I haven't yet and I think that's what people really want to see. So yeah, when I get back we'll do that.
GET TO KNOW LOCHIE COLIN
Biggest musical influences?
The Beatles, George Harrison, as a solo artist more specifically, Jeff Lynne and Big Star.
Ooh, Harry Styles.
I got Harry vibes from listening to your album, so that would be great. How about an album that has had the most impact on you?
I think it is 1Record by Big Star. It's an album that I did a whole documentary on it for university, because [laughs], it's like one knows about them because they had this whole problem with distribution in the seventies. But I think almost anyone that listened to the album will recognise at least one song from a movie or something. But I think as a whole, that album is just like the greatest songwriting and sonically crafted thing ever. So I think everyone should listen to it.
If you could create the soundtrack for any existing film, which film would it be?
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus.
What was like the first song that you loved to sing or play?
Oh wow. Probably like Big Red Car by The Wiggles.
That's a good one. I don't think anyone's ever said The Wiggles, but I love that. How about the first concert you went to?
Best concert you've been to?
Wow. Harry Styles Madison Square Garden.
Oh that's so good.
Yes, it was great.
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
What would your Spice nickname be?
Do you have any guilty music pleasures or if you don't really believe in anything being guilty, maybe something that you listen to that like your friends and family just don't understand?
I have some guilt, like the Alvin of Chipmunks soundtrack. Fire! [Laughs]. Or I listen to the the Hairspray soundtrack a lot. I think it's really good.
I think that's my favourite answer we've ever had. If you could tour with any artist in the world, who would it be?
Probably Elton John or Billy Joel. While they're still here.
How about an artist that you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
Wow. Oh, The Beatles.
What advice would your current self, give to your future self, for a year from now?
Don't rush anything. Just take everything in a day at a time and try to enjoy everything.
Good advice. The final one is the moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I think there was a couple of moments. But the defining moment was when I saw Queen live when I was 15 or 16 and I went, 'I wanna do that'.
Racing is out now!