We caught up with Charismatic songstress, Annie Hamilton about her latest album, her connection with nature, and some really interesting insights into the Australian festival scene!
Please tell us about yourself and what your music vibe
Hello! I’m a Sydney/Eora based artist and designer. The vibe of my music is sunshine-gothic-dreamy-
Have you visited the Far South Coast before? If so, what are your favourite memories?
I don’t think I’ve ever been as far south as Pambula, so I can’t wait to get down there for Wanderer, but I’ve spent a lot of time in Mollymook and absolutely looove it there. It’s so beautiful – crystal clear water, amazing bushwalks and big sandy beaches.
How do you feel your music matches the Wanderer ethos: pristine landscape, a profound sense of place, a deeply inspired community and a sense of belonging?
My last album, the future is here but it feels kinda like the past, was heavily influenced by the Australian landscape. I wrote a lot of the album while I was living in the Snowy Mountains, and the hauntingly beautiful, almost eerie feel of the landscape definitely trickled its way into the soundscape. The universe the album takes place in is a bit of a surreal dream world soaked in Australiana-inspired magic realism – the opening track, Providence Portal, sets the scene – ‘I’m looking out for ghosts, I’m driving to the coast, I’m on some blackened burnt-out no-phone-signal gravel road’ – I actually wrote that lyric driving from the Snowy Mountains to the South Coast. There are a lot of field recordings hidden in the songs (voice memos of magpies, cicadas, the crackling of footsteps on dried leaves, the sound of a car indicator that I recorded on a long drive, a whip being cracked by my cowboy cousin Max) and recurring lyrical imagery of long drives along dirt roads, lying on the bitumen watching the stars late at night, the fruitbats flying overhead at dusk, the dying snowgums littering the Monaro Plain, gum trees flying away into the sky during an electrical storm… I’ve always found the natural world incredibly inspiring so a lot of my creative output tends to reference or reflect it.
What’s your favourite coastal experience that helps you unwind after releasing an album/a tour/a big performance?
I try to jump in the ocean every day, rain or shine, all year round. You never regret a swim. It’s the perfect reset after a stressful week, a big day of travel or a long flight, and the absolute best way to balance out the adrenalin from playing live. Definitely going to be having a post-set swim at Wanderer!! I’d love to go for a big bushwalk too – maybe that can be my Monday morning activity before heading back home. I love being in the thick of festivals, in the crowds and the buzz, but I definitely find that I need to counter it with some nice quiet nature time afterwards to unwind.
What do you hope the Wanderer audience will take away from your music and performances?
I’m going to be playing a bunch of new songs for the first time, so I’m just really excited for the audience to hear the direction my music is going in. I love playing live and have an awesome band joining me for Wanderer so I’m keen to just have a super fun and upbeat festival set and to dance the night away.
How do you see the Australian festival scene evolving, and what changes would you like to see in the future?
After a few really tough years for the local live music scene I have a totally renewed sense of appreciation for festivals. Before I ever played at a festival I would go to every festival I could as a punter. Some of my favourite life-memories have been made at music festivals, there is seriously nothing quite like the collective buzz of being part of a huge crowd singing and jumping up and down together. It’s pure magic!!! I’m so happy that festivals are back but it’s definitely still a hard time for our music industry as consumer behaviour has changed and people are out of the habit of planning and buying tickets in advance – not surprising after years of literally not being able to make plans due to the unpredictability of lockdowns. I feel optimistic though – it feels like everyone is ready for adventure again so hopefully the scene can not just survive but thrive… It’s also really exciting to see festival lineups over the last few years focusing on diversity and representation – the scene has traditionally been so male-dominated but there’s this amazing wave of artists coming through that have traditionally not had the platform – women and GNC artists, queer artists, our incredible First Nations artists and people of colour… Our stages should reflect our communities, so it’s awesome to see Wanderer curating such a thoughtful and well-rounded lineup.
What about Wanderer Festival excites you the most?
By the time Wanderer rolls around I will have just flown home from my UK and Europe tour… I’ll most likely be in a jetlaggy haze with no idea what day or time it is, so I’m very excited to have some downtime, nap on the beach, swim off the jetlag and eat my body weight in oysters and fresh local produce. And obviously excited to play a festival set and watch all the other amazing artists.
Learn more about Annie’s working style and take a listen to his music here.
Can you give us a glimpse into your songwriting process? Where do you draw inspiration from when writing your songs?
Well, I’ve realised along the way that my life must be a work of art. The songs come when they come. But If I live life like it’s the artwork then I know the songs will come sooner or later…when they’re ready. So, I try and create a life that feels beautiful to me. Lots of nature. Lots of laughter. Lots of failures and lots of learning.
Are there any artists or musicians who have significantly influenced your musical style or career?
Oh, for sure. John Butler was one of the first. Along with Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell and Bon Iver. Nick Drake and Neil Young have also been huge for me.
What advice would you give aspiring musicians just starting their journey in the industry?
The trick is to not stop… that’s it. The more you fail the more you learn and the better you get. If you don’t stop… well sooner or later, you’ll be one of the best artists on the planet because of all the failing and learning you’ve done. Most people stop at some point if the failure gets too much… It’s a real shame.
How do you feel your music matches the Wanderer ethos: pristine landscape, a profound sense of place, a deeply inspired community, and a sense of belonging?
Gosh, where to begin! I’m a huge fan of everything Simon Daly has done. I think he puts on the best festivals in the world. I’m a huge fan of the far south coast. It’s my home, where I grew up, and a deep and intrinsic part of who I am. To think we now have this absolutely phenomenal festival created by the best and run by a whole bunch of my friends and people I grew up with is just incredible! I feel like my music fits right into this melting pot of goodness and my songs were created in the area and around a lot of the people at the festival. I’m so so chuffed to be involved 🙂
Where’s your favourite spot in NSW to unwind OR What’s your favourite coastal experience that helps you unwind after releasing an album/a tour/a big performance?
Just getting up early and being at the beach, I think. Surfing, seeing Mum and Dad and having a coffee. Exploring different little nooks and crannies of the coast and finding a quiet place to reflect. The Far South Coast is so ideal for that. So many beautiful little secrets.
What is your ultimate festival hack?
Don’t get caught up in getting too wasted. Get less wasted and see all the music. Get wasted next weekend maybe instead.
What are you most excited about this Wanderer Festival?
Seeing all my friends, family, and people I grew up with enjoying the incredible excitement of a world-class festival in our backyard! And sleeping at home after a gig for maybe the third or fourth time since I was 18.
Learn more about Kim’s working style and take a listen to his music here.
Could you tell us more about your solo multi-instrumental looping performances and how you developed that unique style?
“It’s all improvised and as the title suggests it’s multi-instrumental. I come up with a very loose idea at the start of a piece of music and let it evolve spontaneously and often I will gather energy and content of the improvisations from the audience and basically read the room and create music to speak to those feelings! No two shows are ever the same, once the audience is with me, the show can go in any direction.”
What inspired you to venture into composing major works for orchestras, and what have been some of the highlights of those experiences?
“I was asked to write major work for the New Zealand Orchestra, and I just had to say yes. I had never written for an orchestra before and all of a sudden here I am writing for one of the best in the world, and it’s been such a positive experience!
My highlight is standing in front of the orchestra and playing my own music, hearing the mighty sound of eighty musicians bringing to life my music; as a listener it’s great but when you are up there performing as a soloist and it’s a pretty magnificent feeling!”
Among your numerous collaborations with different artists, which collaboration stands out as particularly memorable or influential for you?
“I reckon the one that was really fun was working on the Hobbit films, even though I wasn’t working directly with Peter Jackson, he was there while I was a part of it and just seeing the way he worked and the beast that is a major film works in the background, it’s definitely a highlight in my career.”
If you could play just one instrument, what would it be?
“The Tenor Saxophone! It’s the instrument that I have studied the most, I did my honours degree in music on the saxophone and it’s the instrument that I express in the most true way. I have been playing it for 30 years, it’s just where I can find my voice.”
What should people expect from you at Wanderer?
“I think come with an open mind and an open heart, come on the spontaneous journey with me, if you see me twice it won’t be the same, come on the journey with me and I will look after you!”
Learn more about Adam’s working style and take a listen to his music here.
Wanderer Festival acknowledges the people of the Yuin and Monaro nations, for whom music and art making have held a central importance for thousands of generations. We particularly acknowledge the Thaua people of the Yuin nation as the traditional owners of the land and waters on which this festival takes place. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.