INTERVIEW: Old Sault releases new single 'Melbourne' and announces debut album
Gold Coast independent artist Old Sault (real name Angie Farr) today releases her first music for 2019, the single ‘Melbourne.’ An intimate, dreamy indie track, the lyrical content reminisces about a former relationship and follows up Farr’s debut 2017 EP Mostly Worried. Working with producer Govinda Doyle, the song is the first single from Farr’s debut album Higher Harm due for release later this year.
We recently caught up with Old Sault to chat about her music, career and everything in between.
Hi Old Sault! Your new single ‘Melbourne’ is released today and it is absolutely gorgeous! Can you talk us through the inspiration, thoughts and emotions behind the track?
Hello! Thank you for having me and for your kind words about the song.
I was feeling really emotional and nostalgic when I wrote the song, reflecting on a happier time in my life and realising that I hadn’t felt as happy since those moments. Writing ‘Melbourne’ was like opening a flood-gate of emotions and I don’t think I could have written the rest of the album if I didn’t start there.
‘Melbourne’ is your first new music since 2017, what have you been up to in the interim?
Prior to making the album, I had spent the last year and a half focusing on my health and wellbeing both physically and mentally. I decided that after making the EP, I was in no state to pursue music in a serious way until I focused on myself for a while.
You worked with Govinda Doyle, who is a bit of a legend on the music scene, on ‘Melbourne.’ What was that experience like?
Govinda and I have been making music together for years and we’re very comfortable with each other. We communicate well in the studio so there’s never really any disagreements on the directions the songs are taking throughout the production. Usually I’ll take a song to him and he’ll just get it instantly, he understands my sound and that I’m trying to tell a story without focusing too hard on catchy hooks or making a hit. It’s a pleasant experience.
What artists are inspiring you at the moment?
Phoebe Bridgers, Andy Hull, Camp Cope, Courtney Barnett, Death Cab for Cutie, Elliott Smith.
You have said that you struggled with mental illness for some time, what advice do you have for others that may be going through a similar battle?
I would never want to assert myself as some spokesperson for mental health and I understand that my advice won’t help everyone.
In saying that, if you’re reading this and open to my unsolicited advice: I would suggest that you celebrate your small wins, like getting out of bed in the morning, doing your washing, feeding your animals or watering your plants. Even recognising that something might not be okay is a huge step forward.
For me, taking care of my physical health, sticking to a routine, eating well, sleeping well, meditating and taking control of poor coping mechanisms and addictions are what have changed my life most.
There is a perception that mental illness is becoming more prevalent these days – do you think this is due to the pressures of the society we live in, or because we know more about it now and more people are more comfortable speaking up?
Without doing heaps of research on this, I can only really speak on my personal experiences and observations of the people around me but I would say that my perception is that the pressures of society are linked to greater mental impacts but, on the other hand, the way that we socialise as a society has changed so massively over the past 10 years. We have access to so much information and means of communication and I know that in my circle, this has made it easier to communicate on topics like mental health on a level that may have felt uncomfortable 10 years ago.
With the advent of social media, there is a new pressure on everyone to have a perfect ‘Instagram’ lifestyle and look. This can be soul destroying for young people and particularly young women. What advice do you have for women and girls in a society that places so much emphasis on how they look?
If looking good makes people feel good, and their online persona gives them the validation required to feel beautiful and confident, then that would be like asking for my advice on wearing or not wearing make-up - It’s not my business and it’s not my choice, and we should support women both online and offline without judgement or analysis.
In saying that, I totally agree that it can be soul destroying for people/women to fight for beauty at such a high standard in a society with a pedestal and hierarchy built on popularity, such popularity that some of us cannot or may not ever attain. I think it’s important to remember that everything that we say or post online comes from a place of great privilege and, for me, when I’m sweating the small things like looking shit in a selfie, recognising my privilege as a white person living in a first world country with access to the internet and a platform to be seen and heard is what brings me down to earth. I hope so much that others will take this advice too.
What are your thoughts on the current gender equality debate? Do you think we have a problem with sexism in the music industry, both from within the industry and how the general public perceive female performers?
Statistically, there is an undeniable gender inequality in the music industry whether I inject my opinion on that or not. I believe that gender inequality and sexism go hand-in-hand and where there is inequality there is a breeding ground for more sexism and this will exist in a never-ending cycle until the underlying issues are addressed and fixed. There has been massive improvements over the last few years that I celebrate and am grateful for, and I am proud to say that the industry in Australia is changing and we have many great women who I believe are responsible for driving and inspiring giant changes.
Outside of the industry, in the general public, I believe that sexism is hugely prevalent. All you have to do is read the comments section on a festival line-up to come to this conclusion.
What do you think needs to change to create a more equal society?
If I said everything that I personally thought would need to change to create an equal society, the answer would probably be 500 pages long. I think that we can start by educating ourselves on recognising bad behaviours that feed inequality. Call out the bad behaviour when you see it, and ask yourself, “is this fair?” whenever doing anything that has an impact on anyone other than you.
What’s up next for Old Sault?
I’m writing at the moment and I’m not sure what for. Maybe an EP. Maybe another album. We’ll see!