Making music visual: Phoebe Sinclair

Phoebe Sinclair’s ambient, electronic tunes and haunting vocals have struck a chord her listeners and the music industry alike. A finalist in the Gold Coast Music Awards, and part of Griffith University’s SEED program, Phoebe is looking at evolving her sound with a focus on electronica and has recently been featured on a new track by Nashville artist and producer KELLR. She caught up with our Editor, Samantha Morris, ahead of appearances at NightQuarter and the Mudgeeraba Show this month.

Congrats on being a GC Music Awards finalist for Video of the Year for ‘This isn’t Love’. How did it feel to be standing alongside such high quality acts?

Being a finalist at the Gold Coast Music Awards full stop was incredible! To then take a look at the absolutely stellar artists I was up there with was both surreal and humbling. The video was a labour of love and to have it recognised was moving.

Can you tell me about the video’s creation?

The video was made with a small crew, the mastermind behind it being the excellent Phillip Choi, a then-Gold Coast based indie filmmaker. Together Phil and I drafted the storyline, collected supplies from junkyards, practiced putting a leaf blower to my face and put together a team to shoot our clip.

We shot most of the video in one day, with Phil collecting the rest of the external footage from around the Gold Coast afterwards. As I mentioned earlier, it was a labour of love. With very little budget, a tiny crew of friends helping friends and plenty of complex creative ideas; it took patience, an excellent group of people and heart to complete.

How important is it to have a strong video to accompany your music?

Music is an incredibly visual experience for me. It is rare that I will write, or hear a song and not have visual elements come to mind whilst listening to it. It can be something as small a certain colour scheme coming to mind, to something as elaborate as a complex feature film story line! It is an integral part of my music, and my connecting with my audience. It further helps them to see what I see, feel how I feel and generally engage in my music.

You told me recently that you’re looking at leaning towards an electronic vibe rather than an alt-pop one. Tell me about that transition.

Well, I have always loved electronic pop music but I was always a little scared to jump into that realm due to a lack of know-how when it comes to producing electronic music. However I decided that just because I didn’t know, didn’t mean I couldn’t learn and find others to help me make this leap. I am lucky enough to be working with Lantana Crunch, who remixed my second single ‘Mine’ from my EP ‘Sentiment’, and together we have been crafting my sound into this excellent blend of electronic – alternative pop and I couldn’t be more happy.

You have some new songs you’ve been working on. Are these songs more electronic than pop?

I have been writing lots! It’s always an interesting process when it comes to the genre of my tracks, because often they will start with just my voice and keys or a guitar. Then I take it to Lantana Crunch, and my team, and we will adapt, add and inspire new ideas in the songwriting. The new track I’m working on is quite electronic, I have been absolutely awestruck by vocal sampling, processing vocals in unique ways and SYNTHS (oh my goodness… synths), but the songwriting itself is still supported by my pop history and fits itself nicely into this little electronic-alternative niche.

You’re a SEED artist and showcasing soon at NightQuarter. Tell me about the SEED program and what it means for emerging artists on the Gold Coast?

The SEED program is absolutely excellent and I truly believe I have it to thank for getting my act together. I became a SEED artist in 2015, two years later I am still supported by this incredible program, still learning from the opportunities it provides and so proud to be a part of its wonderful network of artists. The SEED program is so supportive, it provides its artists with so many opportunities to grow; through performance showcases, mastermind workshops, industry insight and feedback on any music or industry aspect you might need help with. I am forever grateful for the help that Hannah Morrison, the SEED Events and Special Projects Officer, and Griffith University’s Conservatorium of Music has so lovingly given me.

What’s on the horizon?

I am featured on a new track called ‘Rumours’ released by Nashville artist and producer KELLR. I had the honour of connecting with KELLR whilst in the States, upon my arrival back home I wrote and recorded vocals for his latest single. You can download this track for free on Triple J Unearthed and be sure to let me know what you think!

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Phoebe plays The Kitchens at Robina Town Centre on Friday 2 June, NightQuarter on Friday 16 June, Mudgeeraba Show on 24 June and Brisbane City Sounds on 14 July.

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