Sydney singer-songwriter Caitlin Park said it took a bit of alcohol to get people to take their clothes off for the cover of her second album, The Sleeper. Alcohol and “a really good Talking Heads record”.
The award-winning artist released her sophomore album earlier this year to critical acclaim. And now to bring this piece of work to a definitive peak, Park has put together a series of instrumental soundscapes, to essentially help a listener let go and breathe. The new EP, titled To Breathe You Out, is set for release Friday, 11th July.
On the eve of this release, and just before she kicks off an east coast tour, Caitlin Park talked to Music Feeds about the making of her second album, that collaboration with Joyride and the lessons she learnt from John Cusack.
Watch: Caitlin Park – Lemonade
Music Feeds: What was your mindset going into the new album? Were there things you wanted to change? Things you wanted to maintain?
Caitlin Park: There were so many things I wanted to change in approaching music for this album. I didn’t have a strong idea about album number two for a very long time. My ideas seemed to switch in swift moments – but experiences change you, and something happened to me that I wanted to write about. I wanted to explore pop music – as well as keeping up the obscurities and intricacies that I enjoyed writing in my first record.
MF: Were there changes in your approach to writing or recording that you wished you could apply to your debut?
CP: Yes, definitely. But you grow as a songwriter the more you write, so there are no regrets. I am happy with both albums, I’m just glad that there was a progression – otherwise there’s nothing to turn you on. I wanted to focus on melodies and strong rhythm, rather than rely on looped harmonies as my debut did.
MF: You said you had hesitations in putting together your second album. Can you elaborate on that at all?
CP: There was hesitation about beginning a new work, and trying to show off new skills, and trying to create a transition. I wanted to try new things – but I wanted to enjoy what I was doing, I wanted to like it.
MF: The samples are there to create a cinematic experience for the listener. What drives you to craft an engrossing, “whole” album in a time when most listeners download individual tracks and shuffle them?
CP: I really love watching films, just like I really love listening to someone read aloud. The listener uses their imagination to create their own ideas of the story unfolding – and this is the same as music and songwriting. I’ve always wanted to include samples and sound effects to add to these experiences, that make them more sonically visual.
I think all the songs on The Sleeper stand on their own, as well as in a group – but I do hope people listen to the record from start to finish. In any genre instance, writers and producers create a tracklist for a reason. It’s like building a mixtape, just like John Cusack said in High Fidelity.
CP: Joyride and I met in a cafe in Annandale, I was working behind the counter and he came to chat to me. Love at first sight really. We’ve always been fans of each other’s work, so we always hoped to work together. The Solange cover came from a shared love of that sweet drum beat. We tried out a bunch of different genres, but it felt right to start our creative relationship with this. Hopefully, it will keep getting stronger.
Listen: Caitlin Park and Joyride- Losing You (Solange Cover)
MF: There must be stories from the day you shot The Sleeper artwork. Can you share?
CP: Ha, yeah it was so much fun. It was hard to get everyone to lose their clothes, but there was alcohol involved, of course, and a really good Talking Heads record playing. In the end, everyone involved were very happy with the beautiful picture Nicolas Gonzalez took and couldn’t wait to share it with people.
MF: You’ve said that you “choose” to sing in your trademark deep, striking timbre – why is that? Is it at all a reaction to the amount of fey female voices that are around nowadays?
CP: No, I think singing low just suits me. When I started writing music, I was heavily influenced by females with deeper vocals, so I began to sing in that way. All in all, I think I can just push more power out that way.
MF: Are there other conscious decisions you make with your music or is it just what comes naturally?
CP: There are definite conscious decisions, but I like to work instinctually. You get excited about and idea and you try it out – sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s better than not trying it at all. Stylistically, things are starting to come a little more naturally these days, though – you do things enough and they will.
MF: What can fans expect from your upcoming tour?
CP: These are the big shows, so lots of drums and percussion (from errryone in the band), samples and three part harmonies, their are some stripped back moments, but mostly its all in!
Listen: Caitlin Park – Hold Your Gaze
Caitlin Park The Sleeper Tour Dates
Tickets on sale now
Friday, 11th July
The Vanguard, Sydney
Friday, 1st August
Bella Union, Melbourne
Tickets: $12 + bf – www.bellaunion.com.au or 03 9650 5699
Saturday, 2nd August
The Hive, Brisbane (All Ages)
Tickets: $15 + bf – www.oztix.com.au