Vera Blue On Heartbreak, Tempers & Writing Herself A New Narrative

It’s been easy to feel like we’re all losing our minds a little lately. I’ll be the first to admit my head’s been playing more than the usual tricks on me, and my fuse has been shorter than I’d like. So, hearing the new Vera Blue bop ‘Temper’ was a very welcome reminder that, it’s not just me.

Grinding ’80s synths give the tune a cool-chick pop vibe that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Carly Rae Jepsen album, while the lyrics explore the darker side of a new relationship. You know the part where you’re not sure if a double text is acceptable or going to ruin your life? (I’m still not sure – please leave advice in the comments.)

It’s been a hot second since we heard new music from Vera Blue, and ‘Temper’ was well and truly worth the wait. We caught up to talk about the track, and all the things she’s learned between records.

Music Feeds: It’s so nice to be speaking with you because I have been playing Temper nonstop! How does it feel to have it out?

Vera Blue: SO good. It’s just like, a release of just… everything. It’s been so long since I’ve released a song and I think it’s so great to finally have something out there, and something new for people to listen to and dance to and relate to in whatever way they want. I’m very happy.

MF: I’m very happy for you! Do you still get nervous around a new release or is it all just business as usual for you now?

VB: NERVOUS. Every time. EVERY time. Because I really value what people think. Maybe too much sometimes, which can be a little dangerous, but obviously, I want people to enjoy the music and relate to it, but I can’t control how people feel. So, I have to just kind of let that go and go with the flow, but I always get nervous! Like ‘oh my god, it’s coming out!’

MF: You must be stoked with the reaction then – it’s all been so positive.

VB: It’s been awesome! People seem to really like it. And I love the sound on this song and people are really tapping into that kind of subtle ’80s element with the driving pop which I think is really cool.

MF: I was actually going to ask you about that – it’s such a cool sound. Is it something you’ve always wanted to explore?

VB: Yeah. I think it’s kind of just accentuating the ’80s synths. We like to play around with instruments that have that ’80s twang, and also the electric guitar on this song is much different to the electric guitar that we’ve always had in other songs, so it’s got that real ’80s kind of like… you know the chorus is going to hit really hard and it’s going to be a nice happy moment, or emotional moment. And I’m starting to play a lot more electric guitar in shows as well so, I think it’s just tapping into those little elements of music that I really like, and it’s kind of making an appearance in my songs.

MF: It sounds like such a light, happy banger but in the lyrics, you get quite dark and moody. You don’t strike me as someone with much of a temper! (Laughs) Does that side come out of you very often?

VB: (Laughs) Not now! I mean, I should ask my boyfriend that really! Sometimes I have a bit of a short fuse. But in terms of this song, in past relationships, when you’re just starting to see someone or you really like someone and they’re giving you signs, it’s literally just about not knowing what’s happening. And it can send you into a bit of a state of anxiety, and kind of second-guessing yourself like, “do they really like me? Or are they going to break my heart like the other guy? I need to know what’s going on.” And it can really stress you out! And make you feel insecure. But the thing I love about this one is that there’s a bit of cuteness about this one as well like, you just want to be with that person. Like there’s a part where it’s just “oh I want to know, can you tell me?” It’s desperate a little bit, but there’s also a little bit of a crazy side like (sings) “tell me, do you, hate me!” Like ooooh!

MF: Maybe that’s why I relate to it so much…

VB: Yes! Plus, you know, if we want to know what’s happening – we don’t want to get hurt. But I guess it’s part of building a thick skin. In relationships, you have to sometimes get hurt a few times to know that the person you’re with that hurt you isn’t the right one. You’re eventually going to find someone, or maybe you won’t – maybe you don’t want to find someone. I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. Some people are just happy to do the fling thing, but I’m a relationship person. I love love. I love feeling safe and comfortable in a relationship and knowing that, hopefully, I’m not going to get my heartbroken.

MF: Forgive me if this is too personal then, but do you feel that way now in your relationship? That it’s different to the past?

VB: One hundred per cent. I’m in the most gorgeous relationship, and I feel very content, very safe. It took me a while at the beginning because I was a little bit traumatised by past relationships and things not working out, you know being cheated on and things like that. But this one is just like, all smooth sailing. He rocks! He absolutely rocks and it’s frickin great.

MF: That is so nice to hear.

VB: It’s awesome!

MF: You mentioned the desperation, and there is that lyric “and now it’s almost daily, questioning my personality.” In general, are you a fairly confident person?

VB: Um. yes? But I think in relationships there was never much confidence as soon as something started to feel like it could work out. I would always start second-guessing everything! Which is, pretty normal for people who have had their heart broken a couple of times. You’re always thinking, you’re always second-guessing, you’re always blaming yourself for things. So, it takes a lot of, even therapy. I spent a lot of time in therapy trying to figure out why I blamed myself so much, why things went wrong. And sometimes it’s not you, it just comes down to the time and the fact that it just wasn’t the right fit. So, I think I spent a lot of time just being hard on myself. So, it’s really refreshing now not having to… deal with that shit! (Laughs)

MF: Changing tack just quickly, I want to talk about those incredible performances from earlier this year with the symphony orchestra.

VB: Oh my god…!

MF: They were… SO beautiful. Was having them backing you a completely different energy?

VB: It was beyond incredible. The orchestras – Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney – were just incredible. It was so amazing, rehearsing with them, performing with them. It was magical. Absolutely magical. And it was something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I thought the opportunity and the timing was perfect. I’ve always wanted to hear Perennial, and my singles, arranged in that way, and I worked with Ross who is in my band, my live key player so we collaborated and created this set and this show that was just raw emotion. And songs in a way we’ve never done them before. It was just really special.

MF: You seemed to sneak it in just before all these lockdowns kicked off again.

VB: I don’t know how we did it! I think, in my head I just didn’t think we were going to lockdown again. But we just went for it and created a show where people could just sit down and relax and experience music in a different way.

MF: You mentioned Perennial, it’s been a little minute since we had a full album from you. What can we expect from the next record?

VB: A new narrative. The music that I’m making at the moment is about completely different stuff to Perennial. Perennial was about overcoming heartbreak and mending and figuring yourself out. But this new music is very raw in the way that I’m talking about mental illness, I’m talking about new love, I’m talking about friendship. And just learning about myself I think as well. I’ve gone through some mental adjustments and it’s very, very raw. And the music itself is really fresh. There are some different sounds, there’s emotional strings, we’ve got driving guitar baselines, and a lot more ’80s synths, which I really, really love. There’s a lot of emotion, a lot of colours, and a lot of beauty. I love it.

MF: What do you think you’ve most learnt about yourself in the time between albums, and perhaps even the music industry? It’s been a tough time in a lot of ways.

VB: Yep. It’s a good question. I think I’ve learnt to look after myself. When I first started the project, I was in my very early twenties and I had a lot of energy and stamina and I think the older you get you start to buckle a bit. The touring is full-on, you’re hitting adrenal levels at all hours and it can really mess with you. Going through anxiety and depression and things like that has been a huge, huge learning curve. And it doesn’t get easier, it’s just something that… well it does get easier, but it’s something that you have to accept, and really look after yourself. Self-love, and self-care, and acceptance. I’ve learnt a lot of empathy for other people going through tough times because I can relate to it.

MF: On that note, other than the music, what does makes you happy these days?

VB: My puppy!

MF: That’s a great answer.

VB: (Laughs) Yeah his name’s Texas. He’s a mini dachshund and he just brings so much joy to us. And I got brand new rollerblades! They are incredible, they’re so much fun. I used to rollerblade so much as a kid and now I’m just obsessed with these new rollerblades.

Image: Supplied

MF: Totally ’80s vibes again, you’re bringing the whole lot back!

VB: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah! And Italian food. I love it so much. I could have pasta every night.

MF: Well thank you so much for being so open and chatting with me. Just to finish up, with a new record there’s usually a tour announcement not far behind. Things are opening up – are we a chance to see you on the road sometime soon?

VB: Absolutely. We are planning to see you guys! We are working so hard at trying to figure out how it can work, but it’s been a big waiting game. I know there are things on the horizon – some festivals – and we are planning headline shows. So, I think it’s about preparing for that and hoping that by the time we get to do it everything will be back to normal.

Temper by Vera Blue is out now.

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