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.
Woodes – AURORA, ‘All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend’ (2016)
There are quite a few artists and albums that have shaped the way I view the world – Sufjan Stevens, James Blake and Sigur Ros. Aurora is one of the newest artists that has made an impact on my world. All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend is really special to me. It was released in 2016 and showed me that music can be bigger than just sound, it can show you a whole visual and conceptual world to immerse yourself in.
This album is soundtrack-pop to me. This album makes me feel courageous, soft, fierce, strong. It’s one of the albums in the last few years which has been there as a sonic friend.
I first discovered Aurora’s music in 2015. I’d just released my first singles ‘Daggers & Knives’ and ‘The Thaw’ when I came across this interview. I linked it to a friend and they were like…. “you two could be friends.” She mentions Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Dragons?! I went from reading her words to digging around to find the music.
I went to YouTube and found a film clip of hers for her song ‘Runaway’ – that was the first song that introduced me to her. It was so strange, I’d just shot my first music video in the snow, in a skeletal wood up at Lake Mountain singing about running (‘The Thaw’), and there on the other side of the world was an artist trudging through deeper snow, singing about running. I’ve also always braided my hair since I was a kid and had always been a magnet to nature, growing up in a regional town at the tip of Australia. I’ve always loved music from Norway, Iceland and Sweden, and automatically I gravitated towards her little universe, noting the parallels.
One of the things that I really loved about Aurora’s record was the fact that it doesn’t tell tales of typical pop music – it’s not romantically focused. It’s more about goals, journeys, quests… it’s quite dark and reflective.
In 2016 when I was writing my EP Golden Hour I had written about goals and quests before, but I really leaned into writing music that would lift my own spirits, and be fun to perform live. I was going through a kinda rough time where I wanted to be more secretive with my personal life because I wasn’t in the best place to talk about it all just yet, and this album was the little sonic friend throughout that time period. I started writing music to motivate me out of that harder place, songs like ‘Hunger’, ‘Northern Lights’, ‘Dots’
To me, this album is pretty much unskippable – but my standout tracks are:
‘Runaway’ – my first Aurora song. I love the hums and the rich mid-range sounds.
‘Running With The Wolves’ – this one was on my running soundtrack for a bit, it makes me feel strong and courageous. I found a women’s choir on Instagram that was singing it acapella and it gave me goosebumps. Seeing a group of women all singing about running with wolves. Heaven.
‘Half The World Away’ – this one was my travel song.
‘Warrior’ – I LOVE the bridge in this. Seeing it live, she leaps up in the air and lands just in time. It feels like a nordic battle. I saw Aurora play in Melbourne at the recital centre in 2017, and this was a stand out in the performance. At the end of the show, there was a massive standing ovation and she teared up. It was a beautiful room to be in. So many members of her community all wrapped up in feelings. At the end of the show we met her out at the stage door ans I gave her one of my Woodes copper necklaces – she then wore it for about a month in all of her photos. It made me so happy she liked it! Was funny seeing my little copper necklace in photos with Stevie Wonder and Katy Perry.
— Woodes (@woodesmusic) January 31, 2017
‘Through The Eyes of a Child’ – I think it’s one of my favourite Aurora songs ever. This one has had a lasting impression on me, and my album too, now that I reflect on it. Often as an independent artist, I don’t know the way through, or the way to the next destination. I’ve been trying to get better at being in the moment rather than thinking to the future too much, especially right now with everything happening.
Often I have thought of myself, younger Elle, long blonde hair running through the bushland with my dogs. I think of telling her that I write music and I produce it too. I tell her I have made a little career out of making things with my friends. She’d be overjoyed. She’d think it was the most wonderful thing. In my song ‘How Long I’d Wait” it explores that, “We were the ones we always wanted, to be when we were younger…. Staring at the sun.”
All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend will always be a special friend. It’s so nice to have a record that can pick you up and take you to a beautiful other world at any point.
Listen to Woodes’ latest single ‘Queen Of The Night’, here. Her debut album ‘Crystal Ball’ is due out October 2nd.