After a huge couple of years that have seen her showcase not once, but twice, at Canadian Music Week and perform alongside the likes of Flower Drums, Evangeline, SAATSUMA and Vincent Sole, Australian pop electronic vocalist and producer Aeora has recently released her sophomore EP Let Loose.
The lead single I.G.I, produced by Haxx (you might remember his name from our profile on Kult Kyss a little while ago), explores letting go — ‘I.G.I perfectly embraces everything I’ve been feeling and thinking and focuses on that one moment of pure happiness when you let go,’ Aeora explained.
We caught up with the Melbourne native to find out more about Let Loose and to talk music, collaboration and pushing boundaries.
Leiden: What first drew you to music?
Aeora: I guess I just loved singing along to music and music is a big part of everyone’s lives — it’s hard to escape it. We also had a piano in the house and my dad picked up a guitar from a garage sale for me when I was younger. So I guess I was really drawn to it when I started making it myself and after realising it could be a way to get my thoughts and feelings out. I didn’t really know how important it would be for me until I got older and really started dealing with things in my songs.
L: Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How do you approach making music?
A: It’s sometimes different, but usually it starts in everyday life. I guess I just come up with a word or a phrase that sticks to me and I write it down. Sometimes I come up with a bunch of lyrics before I get a melody. But usually it’s just a little phrase.
Then I get to my studio and follow that thought and come up with different accompaniment, and it generally just flows out. I can be a bit nit picky with lyrics and chords, but generally I like to be honest and let it flow out naturally. I generally finish the song (or just about) before I start working on the production. Sometimes I come up with a few production ideas earlier on before finishing the lyrics, so yeah I guess it really differs. Depends what comes to mind and what flows naturally on the day.
Then I work on the production a lot more — usually til I get to a point where I can’t get it any further without feeling completely lost. Usually this is the point I start to get someone else involved (Haxx for instance!). Then we kind of share these processes, but mostly its me just telling him where I want it to go and what I want it to kind of sound like.
L: You have recently teamed up with producer Haxx. How important is collaboration to your process?
A: It’s important for me to work with Haxx because it means I’m not so fixated in my own creative world. It’s honestly so helpful for me. As I mentioned in my creative processes, I always get to a point in my own songs where I feel like if I did any more, I would end up hating the song and never release it. It’s happened numerous times. So its a real blessing to be able to have someone to help me. He sees my vision and helps further it and having another pair of ears is super important for my self-esteem and confidence. I’m my own worst critic, so its really beneficial for my mental health to have company when I’m making music.
L: What does letting loose mean to you?
A: For me, it was this point I got to where things made sense to me and certain things that had happened to me were becoming clearer and I could understand the effects of it on my being. It’s this idea of how to move forward and how to grow. Everyone has a ‘root story’ or ‘root problem’ that defines us and controls our core beliefs. That’s been something I’ve been working through and trying to question for a little while. So I guess letting loose has meant letting go of those past things that dictate how I react and think and just try to live in the present — continuously growing and continuously learning.
L: How do you find navigating the Australian music industry as a woman?
A: Ah I guess I don’t know any different. There’s a lot of change happening — trying to make it a more inclusive place for everyone. People are getting called out for doing shit things and I guess that wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. Looking at history, society doesn’t change overnight — but I think the way it’s going is really great. Of course, there can be more done. But I know it takes time. There’s a lot of great people, groups and companies doing a lot of great things for women in music (eg. LISTEN).
I also try to look at the whole picture, rather than just the music industry. I’ve really started to consider gender stereotypes a lot — challenging how I view gender and the roles we are told to play to fit the gender we were born. The jobs we’re meant to have. The instruments we’re meant to play. All of it. I could write a lot on this, but I’m also still learning — still trying to form my own ideas and learn what I can do to help. I guess I just didn’t really want to answer what I thought navigating in the Aus music industry was like. It’s a bigger thing than that to me.
L: What role does clothing and makeup play in your persona both on and off stage?
A: It helps me set the mood a bit. I think it’s important to share what I want to look like to others via clothing and makeup. I wear pretty basic stuff that I collect from different stores and op-shops. I’m drawn to pieces that help me share what feeling I want to give off. Whether that’s sexy, dark, strong, whatever!
L: How do you hope to see your career progress from here?
A: I guess I just want to keep making music and keep pouring my heart out with writing. So I can see that taking me to different places. Maybe co-writing sessions overseas, hopefully some shows touring with different artists I respect and admire. Hopefully building my team a bit more too. Right now I’m just in love with the process of making music and learning what I can create. I’m in a place right now where I just need to write, so I am taking this opportunity to do just that.
Listen to Aeora’s Let Loose EP