Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Now, in a special edition of this series and as a special treat in honour of the record’s 20th anniversary, for the first time ever we have asked an artist to write a letter to their own album. Here is Something For Kate’s love letter to their own record.
Something For Kate, Stephanie Ashworth – Something For Kate, Echolalia, (2001)
Let me start by saying that this isn’t strictly a love letter – perhaps more of a tip of the hat or an acknowledgement and affirmation of your unique and anomalous presence. It’s not that I don’t have love for you because I most certainly do – but it’s complicated and with the hindsight of 20 years, I think there’s some value in examining you within the context of your lineage and your successors.
You were our third album. You were, by all accounts (and cliches), declared the heir apparent, the one most likely to succeed, a tidy embodiment of the zeitgeist of the new millennium before you’d barely had time to just be. It was 2001. Your predecessors, Elsewhere For 8 Minutes and Beautiful Sharks were by then perceived as the stepping stones to your inevitable crowning. They had, in their grit and their resoluteness rallied and gathered the like-minded and undoubtedly ignited the spark in those with a thirst for curious music. There was much pressure on you. Always.
For these and so many other reasons, you were always going to be difficult and evasive, punishing and contrarian… For a start, we were three 24-year-olds who were already releasing their third album on a major label. We hadn’t stopped the cycle of endlessly writing, releasing and touring for 5 years and expectations on you were exponential. Timing was a crucial factor and a factor that also nearly imploded you from the beginning. It was a brutal 2 years in which we wrestled with every element of your inception, your cultivation and then of course your edges seemed indecipherable. Were you finished? When were you finished? We were tireless in our scrutiny of you, the drafting and redrafting was almost nauseating for some of us.
And then almost bizarrely, you were upon us. After our exasperation melted away, it took some time to appreciate you fully. I was proud of your restlessness, your indignation, your tenderness and your curiosity. I love that you questioned everything, you weren’t afraid to unleash your frustration, you pulled the rug out when people thought they had you pegged and you didn’t care what anyone thought of you.
We were relieved you didn’t compromise yourself in any way. And I think people knew it and were also relieved that you were allowed to just be yourself. You didn’t need ‘spin’. You were the antithesis of ‘spin’. I think your honest discontent and your unabated desperation came along when a lot of people needed you.
For all these reasons and more I commend and admire you. You could call it love I guess. But I also think it’s important to state that as much as you were and are celebrated as some sort of pinnacle, you must remember that you are now one of seven in the line and as crucial as you were in our evolution, you are part of an ever-changing evolution, an evolution that is crucial to the existence of the life of artists. I thank you for arriving when you did but mostly I thank you for allowing us to keep questioning everything. Without that, we flounder and are dead in the water.
Something for Kate
Today, Something for Kate unveil a 20th Anniversary Special Edition vinyl of their incredible 2001 album Echolalia. Upon its first release, the album received 6 ARIA nominations and was voted Album Of The Year by triple j listeners. It debuted at number 2 on the ARIA Album chart, landed 3 songs in the Hottest 100 with the lead single ‘Monsters’ taking out the #2 spot.
Next year the band will be headed out on tour. They will be performing two full sets each show, including 2001’s Echolalia in full followed by a second set comprised of tracks from 2020’s acclaimed The Modern Medieval, plus a mix of other favourites.