Q&A WITH FELICITY GROOM

The Perth songstress has come a very long way since her 2010 debut, Gossamer. With frequent collaborations from fellow WA-er’s POND and Tame Impala members, Felicity Groom has been able to craft a feverously dynamic listen for here sophomore release, Hungry Sky. With “Aphex Twin style beat drops” on lead single ‘Higher, Higher, Taller, Taller’, to the acoustical brass bass of ‘Constant Sun’, featuring the very “[Kevin] Parker-esque” drumming.

Felicity took some time from parenting, song writing and touring (busy lady, indeed) to have a chat to Jake Wilton.

Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) helped you out on your new record, Hungry Sky. What was his influence on the making of this album?

We tried to get him to replicate the demo as best as possible. He’s really good at that kind of stuff because he is excellent at [making] crunchy drums with a single mic set up. He’s also a nice dude and I like to work with him!

Who are some other names who appear on the album?

The regulars: Andrew Iron, my partner, he’s played in the band for a number of years. If you have a physical copy of the album you’ll see there’s heaps of names on it! Because we were doing [Hungry Sky] at home, and everyone seemed to in town at the time, people would just pop and listen and doing little something then leave. Jay Watson (Tame Impala / POND) played on the album too – he seemed to be sleeping on every couch area my area. He actually wrote the final chord to the track ‘Hungry Sky’.

Seeing all these friends and family of yours filter in and out adding their touches onto the record would have given you plenty of altered perspectives to creating the album. 

Yeah, absolutely. That’s the peak of the experience, really; the excitement of having someone add something little to the track and all of sudden take a new shape. For instance, the track that I recorded ‘Constant Sun’, I basically had finished that off which I recorded that with Dave Parkins. I invited Kevin [Parker] back in to have a listen and see what he thought. He said, ‘I can hear a really cool drum beat for this song.’ Even though it took in this completely different direction to what I was thinking it was just so excellent. It has this very Parker-esque style of drum beat halfway through the song – and I love it so much.

I’ve heard that you’ve already started progress on the third album. How’s it travelling so far?

I’ve been doing these courses with Josh Hogan – he is an Abelton expert and a professional teacher with [the program]. I was saying before that I’m really excited to do more of the courses when I get back home [from tour] because it’s been a while since I’ve studied anything and this is a worthy thing to learn. It’s a bit of a labyrinth or crazy web where you zoom in one bit and realise there’s an infinite amount of stuff to know within that. I’m not putting too much pressure on anything, I’m still in the process of learning and if a song comes out then cool – it’s only early days yet.

Back on Hungry Sky, I found the contrast between the beat-heavy songs, like ‘Higher, Higher, Taller, Taller’, to the more subtle moments like ‘Oh Jesus’ and ‘Better Days’ to be really fascinating.

I do too! I like creating a dynamic album. I’m still coming at album making at an old school approach – or maybe it’s just one approach – but I still enjoy the whole of an album. You’d have various moods and moments in each of the songs.

You’re on tour now with the final show tonight in Brisbane. The last time you played this side of town was with BIGSOUND.

I was so nervous that night! It had been a while since I played a show outside of WA and those events feel a whole lot more… precious. You’ve got all these “taste makers” eyes fixed upon you to decide your fate. Whereas on tour it’s a little more relaxed and you know that people are coming to see you and enjoy the tunes rather than size you up.

Speaking of that BIGSOUND performance, I remember your guitarist having bloody fingers mid-way through the set.

Oh yeah, Andrew! Mind you, Andrew has just released a new album with his band which are in vein of post rock where he does all these mad, angular guitar riffs. Even though my songs are perhaps not what you’d call post rock or songs you could shred to, he moves around guitar amazingly. He’s got busy hands!

For someone who’s possibly about to see you for the first time, what could they be expecting from a Felicity Groom live show – beside the possibility of bloody guitar fingers?

Well in Melbourne we had some horn players which was fun. For Brisbane, tonight, I’ve yet to find any buddies who’d do it. I’ve asked them to do it for beers and hi-fives! So if there’s anyone who can read sheet music and are after beers and hi-fives, you’re welcome to come play strings or horns.

Felicity plays her final show of her tour tonight in Brisbane at Heya in Fortitude Valley.

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