Emma Anglesey: On Hiking and ‘Mary Anne’


Tasmanian folkster Emma Anglesey is out with new single Mary-Anne and got a chance to talk with Lost on her upcoming east coast tour, her love of hiking and the meaning behind her latest single.

What have you been up to?       

I did my first solo hike, at the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. I have done a lot of off-track hiking where you go up on to the plateau and take a compass and a map and you follow rivers, hopefully you know where you’re going and you can find your way back.

I have been making music as well, I finished an album with Josh Barber who was a Melbourne based producer, multi-instrumentalist and now lives in Nashville. I finished that project and Mary-Anne is just one of the few releases from it.

Is hiking a second passion you have? How often do you do that?

As often as I can, it’s pretty addictive – getting out there into the wild and having everything you need on your back and turning your phone off. I probably average one hike every few weeks. But I have been really busy lately.

Do you often bring a guitar with you?

I have a little handmade dulcimer that I had got in a music shop in Tasmania. It’s really light so sometimes I’ll take that with me. It’s got a hexagon shaped body and four strings. Joni Mitchell used it on one of her albums Blue.

What are you musical influences?

Radiohead is definitely a massive influence and recently Susuanne Sundsore, the way she combines vocals and organic instruments that’s definitely been a big influence.

How did you fall into folk music?

I was playing at signet folk festival and I had just been playing with just me and my guitar. Josh Barber was there touring with another band from Canada and he just came and saw my set and at the end and asked if he could produce some of my music. I said yes and we worked on the song Bike, which is the track I originally released.

Josh is a percussionist and a drummer, so he brought all these awesome polyrhythms to my music and we have the same tastes in terms of the bands we really like. It was a journey we had went on together, the music moved into the direction it had gone. With the album I spent three or four months where I wrote almost every day and wrote thirty songs.  Twenty of which Josh thought were good. He worked through them a little bit and figured out which ones were going to work and which ones weren’t.

We ended with ten songs which fitted really well together on the record and as I was going through that writing process is was after we had made Bike together, which is a really rhythmic song. I started writing with rhythms and guitar as first, so I actually changed my writing style because Josh was so inspiring in terms of what he did with rhythm. I was impressed and I really wanted to incorporate that into the starting point of the song. We really worked the rhythms and melodies together.

Is there an album upcoming?

I will be calling the album Somethings Can’t be Undone. Its finished and ready to go, I am just putting out another single and putting the album out sometime next year.

Where did the idea for the track Mary-Anne come from?

My house were going through a tough time and there was this moment when I though wow, the journey of your human existence is that you always go through some kind of struggle, whether that’s a break up or sickness, or lose your job. There are all these struggles which we are all going through and life can be really tough. So the song was inspired by this idea that you just got to keep going, sometimes some things are really tough and it was a little bit of an anthem of turning a feeling of struggle into revelling towards the fight.

Is Mary-Anne a specific name or a personification?

It’s a personification of a character. I am a real sci-fi junkie, I love science and sci-fi movies and shows and Mary-Anne was this character name where we had this vision of this woman in this post-apocalyptic scenario living in this rubbish dump. Coming out of the darkness, saying to the establishment to stand down – that is what came into my head as an epic ultimate struggle.

Does the Tasmanian outdoors influence your song-writing?

It definitely inspires me, being here. I grew up in Tasmania, and lived in Sydney and Melbourne for a little while. I spent some time in New York and when I came back here, I feel really excited every day to get up and go exploring and go walking in the gorge not too far from my house in Launceston.

The wilderness is just there, being here just enables me to do that and inspires me to write music and really go for it. The level of peace nature being in nature brings to your life normally means I feel a certain level of freedom and inspiration to write music.

Are you connected to it?

I definitely feel connected to it. I just went through a break-up and my friend Tim was really sad and we had to make this film clip for Mary-Anne. He suggested on going on a road trip and as we were going out the landscape became wilder. I noticed how it affected my mood. I managed to reflect in a deeper way, so that’s why we decided to make the film-clip into a little road trip in the wilderness because I feel connected to nature and the experiences do help get through things.

How long did it take to shoot?

It took a couple of days to shoot the roadtrip and the weather was really epic, we were in a car and it was pouring with rain. We would wait for there to be a break in the meadow, quickly jump out and do something. I had to fly to Sydney to do a show and filmmaker Tim Clean stayed and it was a really nice day and he did all the time lapses in a day.

What can punters expect from your upcoming tour?

There will be me on the guitar, singing, there will be combination of samples and beats and other instruments. There are just two of us in the band. Even though when you listen to my music it’s pretty much all instruments, there are no electronic instruments per se. It does have a little bit of an electronic sound. Some of those we have recorded in the studio I weave into my set, it will be intimate but it will be also be true to the sounds that people have heard.

Will you be taking the Tasmanian weather with you?

Well right now it is really sunny, people in Melbourne – like Victoria and New South Wales will need rain so we can definitely do a rain dance.

Emma Anglesey’s latest single Mary-Anne is out now.

Joe Wilson

Joe prides himself on being the only person to consider sparklers in a total fire ban to be a good idea and surviving the 20 minute odyssey from the festival to his campsite at Southbound. He is a regular punter at Perth gigs and has recently picked up the grand title of Master of Reviews at Grok. He also suffers from alcohol-induced multiple personality disorder and has two known alter-egos; Late Night Joe and Chuck.

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