Island Time is out now!
Australian singer-songwriter Maddy Jane has made her return with Island Time. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release, how moving back to her hometown has influenced her music, her experiences performing live and so much more!
Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and what led you to pursuing a career in music?
I grew up in a music loving family, but none of them were necessarily musicians. So I don't really know but all I wanted to do was sing and then as a teenager all I wanted to do was write songs and sing them. It was probably a sort of coping mechanism as a kid, for boredom growing up on a small island off Tasmania as well. It was just kind of what else would I do? And although I had no industry experience, or any idea how to actually make that happen, it was all there was!
Island Time is our first taste of new music from you since the release of your debut album, NOT ALL BAD OR GOOD, last year. Was there anything you learnt during the creation of your debut that you’ve implemented when it comes to the music you’re currently working on?
I learned a lot through the process of my first album, things I would do again and things I would not! But one of the big things I learned through that process that I wanted to bring into this new music was to try and capture my rawness. I don't want to overcook things until it loses its spark. Trust the song and with this new music I wanted to grow and keep the importance of the emotion at the forefront. But this process was so different to my album, being in a pandemic and not working out music with my band or even playing with them, and now working with Chris Collins, so it's all very new as well!
The track is all about slowing down, being alone and missing loved ones, and arrives after a long nineteen months of isolation felt worldwide. Unpack the conceptual nature of the track and what inspired you to write it…
I think, for a lot of this pandemic I struggled creatively. This song felt like the one that just had to come out because it really was the truth at the time. What I almost couldn’t say out loud, if I tried to speak it I think I’d struggle. I was feeling very isolated, lost and found! And stuck. But these words came out of me like it was to give me perspective on my situation. It was like I couldn't quite explain how I was feeling but this song explained it better than I could with speech. Island Time is the term for that isolation and slowing down, and waiting for the world to change and that feeling of being forced to wait.
Last year, you returned to your hometown Bruny Island. How has that relocation back to a familiar place influenced what you’re exploring thematically and how you create?
It was a very big full circle, here we are again moment. But it has reminded me exactly why I do what I do. I began writing about the mundane and the beauty of it, and that is exactly what Bruny Island is, so beautiful and quiet and confronting. So it is very fitting and funny to me that I come home and write a song called ‘Island Time.’ haha. But it also took me a while to find my groove again down here. I guess that’s the confronting bit. But I did feel like I had to work myself out again after returning home. So it felt needed or like it should’ve happened. It also put my values back in check for sure.
You co-wrote and recorded Island Time with producer Chris Collins (Gang of Youths, Ruby Fields, Azure Ryder, Skeggs), who has just been nominated for an ARIA! How do you think that collaborative effort elevated the track?
I loooove working with Chris! As I said earlier, I was really struggling creatively and collaborating with Chris really helped me to come out of that writer’s block. It also helped that working with Chris would mean my music could grow and develop for sure. We put this song together in our first session. I came to him with all these different sections of that song but hadn’t put a finished song together in months. It just came together with Chris, and it felt like we both were really excited about our new little chapter together. It worked so well and we really took new sounds and influences that I’ve wanted to put into my music for a while and elevated the sounds from my previous music. It was a whole new way of making music for me but that’s almost what I needed.
What’s your favourite thing to do on island time?
Stand around a fire on the beach with family and friends. It just seems to be the thing to do on Bruny Island and to me that is the epitome of Bruny life, we need fire because it’s normally cold down here in southern Tas.
What’s one line from the song you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
“I’m on island time and you’re up the coast, I’m in love but still alone" is the crux of the song to me and I think that pre chorus is catchy as, but also the angst of the bridge with all the "I know i’m the one who’ll fuck this up" and stuff gets in my head as well! ha
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
I love so much Aussie music, and that is a family thing too. I grew up with Aussie music fans, hardly listened to music from other countries in a way! Everything from Eskimo Joe to Paul Kelly, to Middle Kids, King Stingray, to The Jungle Giants to Skeggs and Courtney Barnett, and Methyl Ethyl. I’m a huge fan of the Australian, aussie music too, like aussie sounds, culture and accents in music brings me to life. I love Benny from Skeggs song writing and tone and Australianisms, and that is similar with Courtney, Paul, King Stingray, Methyl Ethyl. But then I love the brilliance of the Jungle Giants, they are one of the best live bands in the country in my opinion, and eskimo joe is still so good to put on in the car or after a few beers and yell to. But that’s just too hard I could bang on about so many Aussie acts, but there are a couple of examples.
You’ve played shows and performed at festivals across the country including Falls Festival, Yours and Owls and The Big Pineapple Music Festival, and toured with the likes of Harry Styles, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Luca Brasi, Polish Club and Trophy Eyes. How have these experiences and touring with these artists help shape you as a live performer?
I’ve been really lucky to have some amazing influences and close contact with some absolute legends. I think every performance I see has an impact on my performing. I couldn't pinpoint it all, you get such different things from different kinds of shows or tours. Performing with local acts I learned the grind, the how to get someone interested in 30 minutes, how to push on and do it constantly. That is so valuable. With tours like Harry Styles I learned about the world stage and how to be a part of a large scale event. I think there are musical things but most things I take from performance are interaction, it's so nice to see first hand how audiences respond to certain situations. But I feel very lucky to have such a broad experience in live shows and what I’ve witnessed.
The past nineteen months have taken its toll on the whole industry, in particular the touring sector. Have you planned your return to live music and what are your hopes for the industry moving forward?
It is really hard to imagine what it looks like coming out of this but it just has to put the importance back on live music. I would love to start my journey overseas, that was the next step for me before the pandemic hit. But plans are hard to make these days. We are still not locking in anything yet. Looks like 2022 fingers crossed. But oh yes I plan to come back bigger and better (but probs a bit rusty as well).
Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett, Fleetwood Mac, Haim.
Mark Ronson (dream big).
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Courtney Barnett - sometimes i sit and think and sometimes i just sit.
Missy Higgins - Sound Of White.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Aussie, relatable, classic.
Best song of 2021 so far?
The angel of 8th ave- Gang of Youths.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
The Hunger Games.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Dont make me choose!!!! ..Miley.
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Aw something weird like a Hannah Montana song, or like the Saddle Club theme or a Disney song or something that would really go off haha
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Catfish and the Bottlemen, any of their albums.
First concert you went to?
Either The Wiggles or Hi-5
Best concert you have been to?
I’m gonna go with Catfish and the Bottlemen on that one in this particular moment.
First album you ever bought?
I think with my own money, it was Evermore!!
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
Spice Girl ‘the future is female’ bisssssh (they were using that term in the 90s!) 🙌
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Brutal spice? Or no bullshit spice? ha
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Probably supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Pretty hard to forget.
Guilty music pleasure?
Hannah Montana, High School Musical (2 in particular), Jonas Brothers (I have heaps of those).
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Haim or Miley Cyrus..
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
I would say Stevie Nicks is up there...
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Can you please stop beating yourself up. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can anyone else?
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
When i started writing songs in high school and it felt like an extension of me.
Island Time is out now!