Triple J Unearthed winners Tinpan Orange know how to juggle. With lead singer Emily Lubitz giving birth to her daughter recently and a national tour following their sophomore album release, the band has little time for much else. Thankfully, Emily found the time to chat with me ahead of their Adelaide show at Jive this Friday!
Have you found a pressure to "follow up" with success since winning Triple J Unearthed?
It was wonderful to have Triple J support for a moment and we started getting a lot of interest from all all over the place.. industry, fans. But radio can be fickle and we certainly owe our bread and butter to our fans who have seen us at festivals, small venues, support slots and have come out to see us again again. We have been touring for the past five years and that is where we have really fostered our career.
How important is something like Unearthed to independent musicians?
I'm not sure. For some, it is totally life changing.. but I expect for most it is just a a glimmer of recognition that sinks into the sea of all the other amazing independent music that is being made in this country. I don;t mean to discount that recognition, because it can lead to other excellent things, but it certainly isn't to be all and end all.
You began writing your new album Over The Sun when you were pregnant, how much did that influence the work?
It certainly influenced my writing but I don;t think you would listen to the album and know that I was going through a major life transition. It's a little more subtle. I think the album is a lot about looking back and remembering. I guess its about pre-baby life..
For those who haven't heard the album, explain the theme and narrative.
Well, I guess it's about my domesticated self looking back on my undomesticated self. It's about the past lives of the suburban housewife.. and maybe the housewife goes a little mad!
What inspired you to make the album into a sonic story of sorts?
I think it wasn't as deliberate as that. The songs were collected over a period of 2 years and they just seemed to tell this story without me really intending them to. I write pretty autobiographical songs so it just made sense that the songs would tell my story.
Is there a song, be it your own or a cover, that you enjoy performing the most?
We have been loving playing this whole album. 'Lonely People' is a favourite of mine to play live. By the end of the song there are four voices (sometimes more when we get guests up to sing with us) singing 'We are the lonely people'. It feels anthemic, triumphant and ironic. It's always an intense moment in the set.
How has touring and having a very music-dominated lifestyle changed since becoming a mother?
Not really. I mean, we haven't slowed down one bit! It's changed the logistics of touring and I have had times when the fatigue of having a baby and doing shows and being on the road has left me feeling like a shell of my former self.. But mostly it has been happy chaos. Touring and being with a baby are somehow, strangely compatible. No sleep and vomit! Just kidding! But the dead time that everyone knows is involved in touring.. the waiting around in airports and green rooms and whatnot, goes well with the time that you have to dedicate to being with a baby.
What can first-timers expect from Tinpan Orange's upcoming shows this month?
A lot of new stuff. We are pretty excited about how the new songs have come up in the live setting! Some nostalgic covers and whole lotta sing-a-longs.
Next on the agenda after touring?
Sleep. some summer festivals. CANADA! And a bath.
Tinpan Orange play Jive on Friday, November 16. Visit www.jivevenue.com for more information.