Building off her buzz worthy 2015 Liam Neeson-referencing debut single Taken and sultry follow up Each Time, Sydney based solo artist Tashka has been setting critics off on paroxysms of glee over the last year. Collaborating with the likes of Donatchi and Dugong Jnr in the meantime, the talented young singer songwriter has finally unleashed her debut EP Deals, and we are lucky enough to have her walk us through it, track by track. Pay attention now.
I wanted to include an instrumental track on this EP, just to set the tone of the EP. When I first sat down and started working on it I didn’t have any intentions of keeping it instrumental, but once the ideas came together the song started writing itself and the thought of putting a vocal on top of it felt unnatural and purposeless. This was the first time we used an Ebow on any tracks, I loved the sound and texture so much we used it again in another track (Red).
This is the single off Deals. I wrote this track with Mitch Clews (band member/Guitarist). It was the first time I’ve ever sat down with another person and started a song from scratch. Usually I’ll get a foundation of a song on my own then we’d build other ideas from there. It turned out to work really well, the change from that first session to the finished track is crazy, it developed a lot in just a few days. I like that the bass drives the whole song and it’s a real mix of live and electronic instruments. It’s about seeing the good in a bad situation, and that overwhelming feeling you get when you truly let go of it.
This is definitely my favourite track off the EP. It’s definitely the most personal to me. The intention was to strip back the production so that the vocals sounded more exposed. The lead guitar line in the last chorus is one of my favourite things about this song, it’s simple but filled the space the vocals left perfectly. Just the right amount of ’70s porn the song needed. I started the production of this track first and lyrics were the last thing I did. I knew what I wanted to say but I found it really hard to execute it. The idea was self sabotage and dealing with mental health in a way. At the time I became really aware of the people around me who were dealing with those issues and I hated the idea of feeling ashamed of it, especially when so many people are feeling the same things. It’s about that cycle.
Before this EP I had almost another entire EP finished that I wanted to release. Intimate was one of those tracks. I wrote and produced it over a year ago now, but wanted to include it because I still felt like it had a place amongst the other songs. Listening back there’s a fair amount I would change production wise but I kind of like the imperfections on there. The point of the song is breaking down the facades people have and being honest with each other, so having clinical and perfect production doesn’t feel so right with this song.
We wrote this around a similar time as Upside which was the last track on the EP to be finished. It was initially meant to be the single, but Upside felt like the right choice. It’s a pretty cruisey track, with a lot of accidents that ended up working really well like the “milo tin” sound in the pre-chorus (still cant remember how I got that sound) and the “Hmm” vocal that repeats through the track.
I’m pretty into synthesizers and gadgets/sounds. Initially I started this with synths that all sounded Japanese, just for fun and to find weird sounds as an experiment. I started with midi synths then built more with the prophet 08. I’ve never been to Japan, but the idea of all the synthesizers and cool things excites me, so I wanted to play around with ideas that I imagined resembled Japan in my head. It quickly turned into a Bennie and the Jets feel drowning in synths, so we stripped a lot of it back. Adding the Sub Phatty bass really filled out the sound. Lyrically I always try to have a purpose but this was honestly a jumble of words that fit the melody. After listening back to it a few months after it was written, it sounds a lot like a premonition to myself now though which is interesting. I think this track is the most honest in terms of the direction I want to keep moving in.
Deals is available now digitally. Do yourself a favour and stream the full EP here below.