2019 was a tough year for Gold Coast based artist Saint Lane. The unexpected passing of his father, followed by an incident of heart shattering personal betrayal, left the native New Zealander at his lowest ebb, despite the creative success he was concurrently experiencing.
For the self-confessed musical lifer there was no other option than to channel his wounds into his muse, from which was forged Saint Lane’s splendid new song (and sixth single overall), ‘When Did We Grow Up’. On a bright and breezy acoustically-strummed bedrock, Saint Lane lays down his pain and redemption, rounded off by a classy vocal cameo from talented First Nations singer / songwriter Robbie Miller. The track has been garnering glowing reviews from all who lay ears on it and as Saint Lane’s stocks continue to rise, he took time out to chat with Blank GC on how it came together, as well as his formative influences and love of the lifestyle of his adopted city.
Reading about the story behind your latest song, ‘When Did We Grow Up’, was very moving. Was it a difficult song for you to commit to doing, being that it’s so deeply personal, or was it more of a case of necessary catharsis?
I had to be as honest and transparent as possible for the song to work so I just laid everything out on the table. No matter how difficult the truth was to come to terms with, I had to give the song everything.
When Danny Duke laid down that guitar sound it took me straight back to the first time I ever heard ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon. Graceland is one of my favourite albums of all time and I love Paul Simon’s honesty in his song writing. I wanted to give my audience the feeling that ‘Graceland’ gave me, with a modern spin.
For this track you teamed up with the talented Robbie Miller. How did this collaboration come about? Did you have him in mind for the track all along, or did that come about after the song was written?
Huge shout out to Chris Fraser my A&R for lining that up. The song was finished and the section before the chorus was a sample of the song Babylon, by David Gray, that I was singing. The song was actually called Babel originally. We were in a position where we could get the David Gray sample cleared or present something entirely original. Chris suggested Robbie Miller, who is an artist I love, and after Robbie sent over that pre-chorus everybody felt like the song was complete. Even when the original version was called Babel it felt like it was missing an ingredient. Robbie Miller came in and added that secret sauce, that spice, in a way that only Robbie Miller could. I am so grateful to have him on the song. He is one of Australia’s best artists.
Have you been working on any other new material during these COVID-19 times? And how have the impacts of COVID-19 affected you as a musician?
I made my next single in my bedroom when I was in quarantine after coming back from Canada. I plotted the music video from isolation too. I’m letting ‘When Did We Grow Up’ have the moment it deserves before talking too deep about single number seven, but to answer your question COVID-19 has led to the creation of some of my best work.
You’re originally from New Zealand but now call the Gold Coast home. How long have you been here and what are a few of the things that resonate with you about the Gold Coast?
It’s been a decade here for me on the Gold Coast. I love it here, I have all my friends, the beaches, all my local food spots (shout out to Cha-Cha’s, Chong Co, Ace Wasabi, Paradox). The baristas at the local Zaraffas always tell customers that Amy Shark and I are regulars. I don’t think it gets more Gold Coast than that.
Has music always been a driving passion for you and did you gravitate to it from a young age?
I’ve been thinking about this more and more. My first ever memory (this is as far back as my brain can travel) – I was standing in front of a guitar and the guitar was taller than me, so I must have been very, very young. We were living in West Auckland at the time. My Bubu (pronounced Boombu, which is Fijian for grandmother, but she was my great-grandmother), my grandparents on my mum’s side, my parents, my mum’s brother Richard, his wife and I were all living in this together and music was everywhere. My uncle loved Pearl Jam, my mum loved Lauryn Hill and all 90’s rap, my dad loved Pink Floyd and 80’s music, my grandad loved The Beatles, my nana loved Elvis and all country music and Bubu loved the old Fijian tunes – when she wasn’t watching Judge Judy. This was the soundtrack of that house and I would explore it room to room, getting introduced to new sounds and ideas.
I think music was my most natural direction… it might have been the only direction. If I came from money I might have studied law at university but there was no way I could ever afford to go to Bond. There is no Plan B, there was never anything close to a parachute. I’m jumping out of this plane and the music will get me where I need to be.
Check out the lyric video for ‘When Did We Grow Up’ below: