Music

Castle unpacks the beautiful relief in breaking from a bad relationship

Not even heartbreak can stop sixteen-year-old Castle Hughes from producing and releasing her angelically dreamy debut single Moving On.

Indie pop artist Castle is an angelic marvel both as an artist and creative mind. The young singer, produced her new single Moving On as a vintage sheered breakup anthem with the intention to inspire listeners into a world beyond heartbreak and angst.

Motivated to build her platform through any means necessary, Castle jumps into her musical career by starting her own label CastleMusic, articulating that whilst she hasn’t felt the full support of the music industry just yet, it is not going to stop her from continuing to master her art.

Castle Hughes

HAPPY: Hello Castle! Where do you find yourself today?

CASTLE: I am at school studying. I am in my final year of high school, doing ATAR. Lots to get in to and get involved in, what a massive year this is turning out to be. I am in the final stages of rehearsing for the musical β€œFiddler on the Roof”, which will be my final high school musical.

HAPPY: A huge congratulations on the release of your single Moving On! The track is about the breakdown of a relationship… What else does that title mean to you?

CASTLE: Thanks so much! Moving On was kind of a necessary message I had to give myself last year. This song is a personal reflection on me waking up to the realisation that some relationships are not healthy. I wrote this song after a breakdown of a friendship that I loved and valued. I had to face the realisation that I was always running to catch up and be heard and seen. I felt overlooked and forgotten and I desperately wanted to feel wanted and loved. After facing my discomfort head on I realised I needed to move on! That friendships should be a balance, give and take, and lift you up and have your back. True friends help you shine, and love you for who you are, even the crappy bits.

HAPPY: Moving On really builds towards an atmospheric sonic including both strings and electronic beats. How did you arrive at this sound?

CASTLE: The strings and the electronic beats symbolise the fusion of emotions I felt at the time of my friendship ending. I felt the violin was a good representation of the grief and sorrow I felt, but at the same time I felt a kind of relief, like a weight had been lifted and I felt optimism and a sense of empowerment that I was doing something good for me. So, the electronic beats symbolised my self-determination and the sense of doing what was good for me, lifting me up to better days.

I also have a vision for the songs of my first album to each have a specific setting to which the music evokes a feeling of being in a particular environment. For Moving On, I based it around an oceanic vibe, as the ocean always has this cleansing feel for me. There is a part of the song where it almost sounds like a whale is calling, I love that! Finally, it was important to me for the song to have a dance vibe, due to my love of dance so combing the violin and the electronic beats just seemed to work for what I was trying to create.

HAPPY: How does the creative process typically look for you?

CASTLE: Honestly my creative process really differs to what comes to mind at certain times. Sometimes the lyrics will come in one liners or maybe a whole verse and then I might fix a melody to it, other times I might hum a nice melody and connote lyrics to the sound of the melody. It kind of just happens. I could be in the kitchen or the shower and lyrics or a melody just comes to me. They can be so random but I record them in my voice memos. I record everything.Β  And it just develops from there.

HAPPY: In terms of imagery, your press shots are beautifully romantic and feminine. Are you looking to shoot any music videos for this release?

CASTLE: I am in two minds with a music video, although I have some amazing ideas for a beautiful aesthetic video with the same vibe as the promo shoot, its nice to just have the single interpreted without visuals for the listener to interpreted however they see fit. Ill see where it goes.

Castle Hughes
Photo: Andrew Ho

HAPPY: Can you tell us a bit about your own label, CastleMusic?

CASTLE: Creating my own label to release my music seemed like a good idea. Gives me the opportunity and freedom to produce my own work. I come from a family that believe in hard work, grit, determination and believing in yourself. The idea that it is okay to take risks, put yourself out there and dream big… If you want to do something bad enough you will work hard to make it happen.Β  So I created Castle Music as a platform to create and do what I love and passionate about. My big audacious dream is expensive though. In the past I have done home recording of covers, however my equipment is limited and the production quality is not great. I work as a lab assistant and receptionist in the school holidays, and busk when I can. With the money I raised over the last few years I decided to record my debut single professionally in the studio. What an amazing experience and the production quality was 1000 times better than at home. It was also a huge learning experience, with many lessons I will take to the studio next time.

HAPPY: What are your musical goals for 2021?

CASTLE: I would ultimately like to record the album, however I have a few more hours of work I need to do to raise the money before I can afford to get back into the studio again. I would also like to start gigging more, beyond the busking scene.

HAPPY: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

CASTLE: I do not feel I am in a position to really know or understand the music industry yet, I am too inexperienced and young.Β  As a young person dipping her toe in, I do find the industry appears to be veiled and almost inaccessible for emerging artists. There is a sense that the established networks close ranks and is protective. Navigating my way so far has been like trying to do my school work in a pitch-black cave. It can be pretty isolating and full of errors and stumbles.Β  It is also hugely expensive to get anything done. So, without support you are forever scrimping and saving to try and create. I would love to see more support for emerging artists. Establishing a solid mentoring program that can help artists like me navigate the business side of the industry would be brilliant!

HAPPY: Cheers Castle!!

Listen to Castle’s beautifully orchestrated single below: