Its hard to think of a proper rock star more memorable than Adalita.
The front woman from Magic Dirt has always displayed everything we idolise in our rock’n’roll performers – danger, attitude, sass, raw talent, honesty, mystique and swagger, all seemingly effortless, but with a glint in the eye that informs the observer that she really gives a damn about performing for anyone, for everyone. With Magic Dirt having the tragic disruption of band mate Dean Turner passing away last year, losing his battle with cancer, Adalita hasn’t shied away from music, and as such, her solo album is just about to be released.
“There are a few factors that led to me to create the solo album. First and foremost Deans encouragement, inspiring me to give it a go. He was privy to my song writing process over the years, and I can see now, how it starts to make sense to make a solo album like he encouraged me to do, as he saw over the years I have had to put songs aside, which were good songs, but not quite Magic Dirt songs. So he encouraged me to make a recording of some of them, sort of like a glorified demo with just a vocal and guitar, and it sounded really lush and full and stripped back and minimal, so we went from there.
Also, over time people had started asking me if I was ever going to make one and Magic Dirt were at the point where we might have had a record or two in us but all of us were kind of occupied by other priorities. So it felt like a good time to do it”.
Surely though, this album isn’t just a bunch of songs that were off cuts for Magic Dirt records over the years? Adalita is quick to let me know “All of the songs were written for the album, and they are different to Magc Dirt songs – all of them are not as poppy and let go of the the “verse-chorus-middle 8” song structure we stick to with the band. Instead, the solo songs to me are longer and more free-form, and allow a bit more of a narrative and the opportunity try and get across a more cinematic or wide scope of song writing, expansive and imaginative.”
And listening to the album, that goal was certainly met. Whilst its undeniable that you have heard Adalita’s style before on Magic Dirt albums, the songs and structure, texture and feel are a shift into a different gear than your usual Magic Dirt album. On the first listen, a gorgeous atmospheric swirl of a track called “Lassa Hanta” falls just after the middle of the record, and I ask Adelita what gave her the idea and confidence to put an instrumental track on the solo album?
“That was recorded during a Magic Dirt session a few years ago, and I heard it again and immediately thought it could fit right in, its real shimmery and slidey. We were jamming around making more instrumental soundtracky noise stuff, I really like experimenting with pedals and effect, and this was done during a tour EP session, at the same studio I did the solo record. And then we found it again just listening through a session, and really liked it. I just don’t like to stick to rules when making records and many of the best bits on records are actually happy little accidents, so when it turned up it was the perfect track for an intermission, and as a palate cleanser for the rest of the album.”
Adalita makes special mention of one of the most emotional songs on
the album for her “The Repairer, which is to be the next single. It was written about Dean, when he got really gravely ill. We are just about to shoot a clip for it, set in the great coastal areas of southern Victoria, and part of it we are shooting in Breamlea, where Magic Dirt was conceived.” She talks of the internal battle with the choices to make music about what is such a recent personal tragedy – the impending loss of a dear friend and colleague – “It is hard because it is a really personal part of my life that that I don’t immediately want to share with anyone. But the other side of this is that I like the song, and I do want it to be out there and it honours him. It’s a complex problem, but that’s life, you know, I feel more than anything that I’m honouring his legacy and his musical contribution to my life, and for that reason I’m happy to make a video clip and a single of a song directly rooted in the loss of a dear friend”.
When it comes to taking this on the road for her impending east coast tour, she won’t have to rearrange all the songs to incorporate a whole bunch of players. “No band, just me and my guitar for the most part. J.P Shilo (of instrumental legends Hungary Ghosts) will be joining me for the Victorian and New South Wales shows helping out on some of the tracks he helped with on the album, and a couple of other guests but it will be following the the record format and who played with me then”.
Adalita has already performed some solo shows lately, with her inclusion on the Day On The Green tour that was headlined by the Pretenders and Blondie. That tour was amazing for her “Well, it was really well catered and organised, so it was really easy to play. And being on the bill with such legends of the game : I met Debby Harry at catering one night, she came up to me and gave me big hug, and it was really awesome. And watching Chrissie Hinde – shes one slinky cat, professional, slick, so on it, kicking arse with every performance… It was amazing and really luxurious, its a really special thing to have been part of.”
Watch Adalita’s new video – The Repairer
Adalita’s self-titled solo debut is out today and you can purchase it online from here
Catch Adalita’s 2011 Australian Tour at the below dates with special guest Amaya Laucirica
Mar 24 – GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL, BYRON BAY
Mar 25 – OLD MUSEUM, BRISBANE
Mar 26 – SHARK BAR – MIAMI TAVERN, GOLD COAST
Apr 1 – THE LOFT, WARRNAMBOOL
Apr 2 – ECU BOWLS CLUB, MOUNT LAWLEY
Apr 3 – INDI BAR, SCARBOROUGH
Apr 7 – BENDED ELBOW, GEELONG
Apr 8 – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT
Apr 9 – TOFF IN TOWN, MELBOURNE
Apr 14 – TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA
Apr 15 – GREAT NORTHERN, NEWCASTLE
Apr 16 – SANDO HOTEL, NEWTOWN
Apr 17 – CLARENDON, KATOOMBA
Apr 20 – IRISH MURPHYS, LAUNCESTON
Apr 21 – REPUBLIC BAR, HOBART
May 5 – GRACE EMILY, ADELAIDE