Interviews

Charlie Collins opens up about fine wine, growing pains and the ability to say ‘Fuck It’

Charlie Collins

Despite the smash-out success of her debut LP, Snowpine, Charlie Collins is pushing her boundaries further in search of defining her beautifully strange take on Country music.

Despite winning an ARIA, and rising to the top of Australia’s burgeoning Country scene, there’s a constant authenticity to Charlie Collins that can’t be missed.

In 2019, Charlie showed Australia a focussed, perfected version of her heart-melting alt-country vision. Now, she’s seemingly let the rainbow out of the prism with her new miasmic headbanger, Fuck it. In light of this tremendous evolution, Happy sat down with Charlie for a chat about growing pains, pushing inner boundaries, and adapting to life as a newfound keystone for Aussie music.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: I’m going to start off by asking, what’s your favourite meme?

CHARLIE: Favourite meme?

HAPPY: Favourite meme at the moment.

CHARLIE: Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’s a guy at a bar, asking for a shot, and Eminem is serving him, and saying ‘You only get one shot.’ How good is that? It’s so funny. It’s so good!

HAPPY: Um, so I listened to Fuck It. It’s a totally funny way to say it – like I just listened to Fuck It this morning, and it’s gorgeous, by the way.

CHARLIE: Awww, thanks!

HAPPY: What I wanted to ask is, there’s so much of that weird niche anguish in it. Like that bittersweet sort of stuff. How the fuck did you write it that way? Like how did you get that?

CHARLIE: Um, so, this song was like, I was going through a really heavy breakup, and I kind of had so many emotions inside, and it was kind of like, when people are talking about you, and you just hear shit being said about you, plus going through a breakup, and it was just all of this. And I just felt like I was going to explode. And this song just kind of came out, just like ‘Fuck it, I know I fucked up, but can you fuck off?’ You know, pretty much, it was just like hurt and anger and pain all at once. And honestly, this song, I just sat down and it just pretty much wrote itself, because it was just everything being like… ‘FUCK!’

HAPPY: How long did it take you to write?

CHARLIE: I reckon this one, half an hour.

HAPPY: Shit, seriously?

CHARLIE: Yeah. Like really quick. I literally like still have the voice memo on my phone, I just recorded it the same time I was playing guitar, and it kind of all… l came out. Yeah! I guess like, just being through such a journey too, and the song is just kind of about my life, I guess. Like how I felt I was – I guess I was – kind of being controlled a lot.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: By people, by things, but also I have myself to blame because I let myself get controlled by people, and kind of lost who I was. And then I kind of went through this pretty awful breakup, then that kind of came out. And it’s like this journey of all this pain in my life that I’ve been through, and you know, the present, the past, and everything.

HAPPY: Yeah. And I guess – I don’t want to pry and…

CHARLIE: No, it’s fine! I’m an open book.

HAPPY: OK, so when you say like being controlled, what do you mean about the people around you?

CHARLIE: Yeah, so I was in another band before I went solo, and I guess I was making music that I didn’t like.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And getting told by the record label, you need to be this certain way, and play this certain style, and be more that. Be more that direction. And you kind of just get swept up in it, and I didn’t have any ground to stand on. And again, it’s my fault for not standing my own ground, and just getting swept up into what the expectations were of me, and what people wanted me to be.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And even, same thing in my relationship, I lost who I was – again, no one is to blame for that but me because I put myself in that position. And I guess that’s what the song’s about too. So many people blame people for a lot of things, but a lot of these situations, I put myself there, and I made that decision to just go along with it, and not say no and stand my ground.

HAPPY: Yeah, and that’s an interesting form of introspection, to kind of bring everything back into what you could’ve done better.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

HAPPY: Is that a philosophy you’ve always had in life?

CHARLIE: You know what? No. Definitely not. I was like ‘It’s everyone’s faulty!’ Honestly, it’s only really recently, I guess. I’ve just – I think, you know, I’ve really found – it sounds so cliché, but I’ve really found myself, more than ever before, and so I think when you do find yourself, you dig in deeper within yourself, and you figure out all these things that you maybe… I had a lot of self-pity in myself, like ‘Why? Why? Why?’ when it’s just like, ‘Oh my God, you put yourself there. Just deal with it.’ Like, you can’t change your past, but you can definitely change your future.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: Yeah. And I wanted to ask, you said before that you were making music you didn’t like, and now you’ve gone through that evolution and you’re now where you are. I guess, like, what is the music you enjoy? That follows up with, kind of… why does country sing to you, in that sense?

CHARLIE: Yeah, sure. I grew up on country, so I grew up in Tamworth, and I listened to… I grew up on Johnny Cash, and Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams, and Graham Parsons, and all these incredible country artists. And so, growing up in Tamworth, I played at the festival since, like… my first show, I was nine!

HAPPY: Were you shitting yourself?

CHARLIE: Yeah, yeah, definitely was shitting myself. So I kind of… it’s embedded in me. It’s in my blood, it’s in my roots, and it’s home for me as well. Literally, like my parents still live there, so going back to the country is home, playing country music is home…

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: You know, it’s how I learned to write, it’s how I learned to sing, it’s how I learned to perform – everything. So yeah, country definitely holds something really special. And I think now, at the moment, the music I’m making is much more me, because I am going back to just… Even not just playing country, country music, but just playing a simple form of, just writing with me and my guitar again. You know, I hadn’t done that so long, but for me, that’s what I love. I just love sitting in my bedroom in the dark, with everything closed, writing songs, and just that organic way. No producers, nothing fancy, just kind of… yeah, so coming back to my roots, that’s a big thing for me. And also, with country, it’s something, I think that… I remember growing up, I couldn’t say I played country music. It’s almost like uncool. Like I used to wear fucking Western shirts, and Bolo ties, and cowboy hats, when I was like ten, and it was not cool, and I got teased the shit out of. Now, you walk down Newtown and everyone’s wearing that! It’s like…

HAPPY: So you were before the time.

CHARLIE: Yeah. But it’s like, I guess for me, it’s cool that country music is now really acceptable, and it’s a cool thing. I kind of want to – I don’t know where I’m going this. Oh, I know – I kind of want to, doing country, kind of bend the rules a bit as well. Like, I love – I don’t know – like experimenting with stuff, and there’s so many cool instruments in country music. Like bands are on the mandolin, and the pedal steel, and all these cool instruments that don’t really get used much in other music. But I think it’s cool to kind of – I’ve been experimenting with using like these traditional country instruments, but kind of putting a distortion pedal on a banjo, or putting sounds on a pedal steel, and warping these traditional sounds into like, the music I make, so it’s kind of got this country flavour. And you can hear those instruments, but it’s also this whole other sound.

HAPPY: Is that what… Like, I definitely feel like there’s been an evolution from your previous works with Fuck It.

CHARLIE: Yeah?

HAPPY: I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But I was like, this sounds completely like… the next step, but I didn’t know why.

CHARLIE: Yeah, for sure. Like, Snowpine was all very organic. It was recorded live, one take, in the house, and I loved that, because it was just the songs in their purest form. But with this record, I feel like it’s a lot more heartbreak, and a lot of anger. But a lot more self-discovery. Like I just learnt more about myself, as well, and I just wanted to have fun, and not be safe, and experiment with sounds and instruments, and you know, have a song like Fuck It where there is so much anguish, but then also have this sweet little pedal steel in the background. And like, you know, there is a banjo underneath that. And even the guitar, Tachi, he plays guitar in the band, and he helped produce the record. Like, I just left him in a room one night, and he just came up with the guitar… just like, something like a banjo, but like kind of do it on guitar. And I was like ‘OK, bye.’ And I could hear what he was trying to do, and I’m like he’s never gonna get that. ‘Bad call, see ya Tachi.’ And in the morning, I wake up, and then he’s like, nailed it, and I’m like ‘It’s perfect! Oh my God. That’s exactly what I wanted.’ And God knows how long he was in that room for, but he nailed it.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: I sort of wanted to ask, are you going to continue down… because I feel like Fuck It has this ambient-esque kind of feel to it as well. Like, play with atmosphere and space? Is that going to continue?

CHARLIE: Yeah, definitely, definitely. There’s a lot of songs that I’ve been working on that kind of have that more, yeah, I guess eerie, ambient sounds. But there’s a lot of everything! But definitely, Fuck It is the road, sound-wise. And energy-wise, I guess. Screaming a bit more.

HAPPY: Yeah. I wanted to ask, when you’re writing a song, is it always that comes out quickly, or do you ever have things that you work at and chip away at over time, because you know at the end it’s going to be good, but you just need to figure out what the fuck you’re doing?

CHARLIE: I wish I could be that writer, but for me, no. I just write as I go, because I… I would literally sit down with my guitar, because I feel something so strongly. I never go, ‘OK! I’m going to write a song today!’ It’ll be like, ‘Oh fuck! Where’s my guitar! Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick!’ And then I like, press record on my phone, and all these words come out with the chords at the same time. And I’m like, ‘OK, sounded like I was singing that, so I’m just gonna write that down.’ And then when I’m doing that, it’s all sort of comes out at once. I’m never even like, ‘I’ll just write something down for now, then go back and change the lyrics.’ Once the song is down on paper, that’s it. Like, for me, if I’m gonna change it, I can just write another song. This song is just like, right now, what needs to come out. And sure, the lyrics are kind of weird, and whatever, like very literal. But like, it needed to be born, and it’s my therapy. When I write a song, it’s like me sitting in front of a counsellor and just blurting out everything. Like, music is my counsellor.

HAPPY: I actually really love that, and that brings so much more gravitas to the idea of your story-telling as well. Because it’s not just ‘it’s coming out as it goes’…

CHARLIE: Yeah, like I don’t think I’ve ever even made up a story. Nah, yep. Everything you hear is what’s happened to me and what I’m going through. But that’s scary though. I can’t be that person that’s like ‘I’m going to make up a story, or do this…’ There’s one song that I’ve written that’s about an Ernest Hemingway book, and that’s the only time I’ve ever…

HAPPY: Which song is it?

CHARLIE: It’s going to be on the new album.

HAPPY: Oh OK, damn it!

CHARLIE: I know. So that is the only song I’ve ever written that’s about a book.

HAPPY: Which book is it?

CHARLIE: It’s Across the River and Into the Trees.

HAPPY: I don’t know her.

CHARLIE: Oh.

HAPPY: What’s she about?

CHARLIE: I guess it’s like, a love that, you know – it looks so beautiful, and there’s so much passion, but… I don’t want to give away the book, but it just…

HAPPY: Doesn’t.

CHARLIE: Doesn’t work. And they want to escape, and it’s just… shit just happens, but it’s so good.

HAPPY: It sounds good. I’m actually gonna get it.

CHARLIE: Yeah, and that song is going to be out, and you can listen to it and go, ‘Oh my God, this is nothing like the book! She lied!’ Um, but yeah, that’s the scary thing, when everything is so literal, everyone knows everything about you. Some songs – even things I’ll post on my Stories – I’ll just write as it comes out, and everyone’s like ‘Hey, are you OK?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, sorry, I just needed to let it out.’

HAPPY: Have you ever had people be like, is that about me?

CHARLIE: Um, oh yeah. My boyfriend, we had a massive fight, and I wrote a song, and he was like, ‘Is that about me? And I said, fuck yes it is!’ There’s plenty more where that came from!

HAPPY: I actually had a really good question lined up and I totally forgot about it.

CHARLIE: Shoot.

HAPPY: Fuck me. Nooooo… Wait, the pandemic, that’s what I was going to ask. What did you get up to during the pandemic? Did you get stifled creatively, or did it all kind of come out a bit more?

CHARLIE: No, it definitely came out a bit more. I recorded a bunch of new songs, like Fuck It was one of them. That was fun, I got to go away and record, then I was writing a lot more. I adopted two cats, which are now my life.

HAPPY: Gorgeous!

CHARLIE: They’re little rescue babies, and one of them has one eye. And, like nobody wanted them because they were a bit older, and one of them had one eye, and they came together. And I was like, ‘Fuck yes, sweet angels, come to mama.’ And so, yeah, I recorded, wrote, and adopted cats, and it was awesome. It was so good. That was my pandemic time. Drinking a lot more wine than I normally do as well.

HAPPY: What’s your favourite wine?

CHARLIE: Anything natural is awesome. There’s another one called the Tender Cat… is that the one we like?

CHARLIE: Yeah, our favourite one is Tender Cat!

HAPPY: Tender Cat.

CHARLIE: It’s like a red…

HAPPY: Oooh. And it’s got like fewer nitrates in it, doesn’t it? Natural wine?

CHARLIE: Yeah, not sure… I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m just like, ‘It’s natural…’

HAPPY: Totally!

CHARLIE: It’s probably got way more additives in it. ‘It’s natural!’ But no, I love natural wines. Pinot noir is my favourite type of red, so anything… I’ve been doing preservative-free pinots as well. Helps with the hangovers.

HAPPY: Are you environmentally conscious in that sense?

CHARLIE: I definitely try to be, yeah, definitely. Everyone does their bit. I would like to be more, but I am very aware as well.

HAPPY: Is there anything upcoming, perhaps… do you engage with political issues at all, or anything like that throughout your work?

CHARLIE: I’ve definitely been… I think because I support a lot of things, I’m never political with social media. Unless it’s something I’m really, really strongly about but I wouldn’t really call myself a political person.

HAPPY: Totally valid!

CHARLIE: Yeah.

HAPPY: Totally valid.

CHARLIE: There’s a lot of people who are doing such great jobs, and are so informed – so well-informed – and are doing so many incredible things. And I think I just like supporting what they do. Again, I think if something really, really struck something in me, I would definitely stand up for it. But I support so much that people are doing in our industry, which is awesome.

HAPPY: I guess, I do just want to talk about your experience in the music industry.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

HAPPY: How’s that been?

CHARLIE: I mean, it’s been great. I think, we have such a great industry in Australia. Everyone’s really supportive, and it’s like a big family, which I really love. I lived in LA for a while, and that was… just different, I think. I was just lonely, and didn’t really feel like I had a strong community or family, per say. Whereas here, I just think it’s really lucky, everyone’s just really inviting and warm. And I’ve never had a problem with the industry. I’m lucky that I have such a great team behind me – you know, a great management team, a great label, a great booking agent, a great publisher. So my team… my team rules.

HAPPY: So good to know! Why do you think there’s been such a big resurgence in alternative country?

CHARLIE: That is a really good question. You know what? I think there’s artists like – and I could totally be wrong – but say before Taylor Swift, people – young kids – did not listen to country music. And I think there’s artists like Kacey Musgraves as well, and Taylor Swift, that are introducing people to country, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, this is country!’ And they kind of have a foot in the door, but then they open that door, and there’s this whole other room of incredible country. And they’re like ‘That’s country? That’s country? That’s cool!’ And I think it’s because those more mainstream artists drawing people in and introducing people to it, I think. And then, I think, people that were already doing country, more of an audience, because people are a bit more acceptable to it, and a bit more informed about it. I think another artist – Kasey Chambers – did that for us in Australia. She was a huge artist. There wasn’t really another female before her really doing that, and she kind of did the same thing for us – introduced the country in a more mainstream side, so people got to be more informed of the more traditional side, or the whole other world of country. Because it is just a whole other world of music that’s just waiting to be explored. So I think it’s more just the little things that have been chipped away at, and it’s giving people more of an opportunity to perform to more of an audience that are accepting country music.

HAPPY: Yeah. Who are you listening to right now? Because you’re like… what’s your go to thing that you have to listen to?

CHARLIE: Yeah. Man, I’m just trying to think. I’ve been listening to, like, a lot of different things. I’ve been listening to Angel Olsen a lot – I think it’s that kind of angsty vibe being really inspiring to me. You know, I’ve always loved… I love listening to music. You know, I love Phoebe Bridges. I think she’s really awesome. She’s just such an incredible writer as well. I love Maggie Rogers as well. There’s some really cool pop chicks that are really just crushing it. But I listen to a lot of new music, then I always go back to old music, just to like… I feel like I need it, to come back to. My go-to’s though, I love Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers… Graham Parsons is just a record that I spin on repeat. I pretty much have every Johnny Cash record that’s ever been made. So yeah, I don’t know. I kind of mix it up with both.

HAPPY: And what were you sort, during the making of this album, listening to? What was your view, and what were you, I guess, drawing from emotionally?

CHARLIE: Yeah. You know what, making this album, I wasn’t really listening to much. I think I was literally just going through myself? When I was making these songs, I was never really like, ‘OK, I want it to sound like this’, or ‘I’ve been inspired by this’. Yeah, so I didn’t really listen to anything if I’m being honest.

HAPPY: OK, but that’s insane that you can just draw that out of yourself.

CHARLIE: Yeah, I definitely… I don’t like to be too inspired, I guess, because then you just end up subconsciously mimicking someone else. That person’s already done that, so I just like to make music that – I don’t know – resonates within my soul.

HAPPY: OK, I did have something else that I really wanted to ask. Hmmmm….

CHARLIE: Hmmmmm…

HAPPY: Hmmmm… Oh yeah, that’s it. I guess, like, this sort of album, who are you sort of hoping to – because I feel like with this story-telling you do, it’s almost like you’re capturing in really specific, but also really wide groups of people. Do you know what I mean?

CHARLIE: Yeah.

HAPPY: And I guess, who are you sort of writing for, in a way? Not just yourself…

CHARLIE: Yeah, sure.

HAPPY: But who else do you think you’re going to reach?

CHARLIE: You know, I just want to reach people. I don’t really have like – I don’t know – an age bracket, or a type of person. Everyone is welcome in my world. For me, it’s just like – whoever can like… whoever resonates with the songs and the stories that I write. And that’s one of my favourite things about recording music and writing music and playing music – when you get people writing to you or coming up to you at your shows, and being like ‘That song got me out of a really hard time’, or ‘This song helped me with this’. That’s what I love about music. I just like helping people with music, and maybe my story can also be their story, which is so cool – that you can have an experience that feels so personal to you, but someone else is going through that exact thing, and it’s just another way to feel like you’re not alone.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: Yep.

CHARLIE: Because it can be lonely sometimes, like being out on the road a lot, or like, when you’re busy doing other things, or locked away. But you know, people who don’t do music, just in general, with the pandemic, it’s so easy to feel lonely and alone, so music is just another outlet to feel like you’re not alone.

HAPPY: It’s so interesting that you’ve touched upon feelings of loneliness. Do you feel lonely often? I feel like everyone does, but…

CHARLIE: Yeah, definitely. I definitely feel lo… I think it’s an emotion people just go through. There’s different… So to feel lonely, but you know you’re not alone. So there are times when I do feel lonely, but I know I can call out to people so I don’t feel alone. And yeah, I think it’s definitely something I feel a lot. And also just, you know, you go through stages where you feel like people don’t understand you, so… Or you can be out with people, but feel lonely because you’re just not connecting with them at that time. It could even be the headspace you’re in, like… But you know, definitely, because I struggled with mental illness. For a while, that was a big struggle. When I was writing Snowpine, a lot of that was about going through a lot of things, and… So it’s something I’ve worked on, just to know that I have people around me, so when you get to those low points – and to know though, that it’s OK to feel lonely, it’s OK to feel sad – but to know you have people around you, because you are not alone, just to call upon, and just to pick yourself up when you are in that state as well.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

HAPPY: I guess, when you do you need to pick yourself up? Do you have a routine? What’s the pick me up process?

CHARLIE: I literally just be like, ‘Where are my cats?’ Or I’ll just film them doing dumb shit.

HAPPY: Which one’s dumber?

CHARLIE: Dylan, for sure. And she’s the one with two eyes. Go figure.

HAPPY: OK, so the one with one eye, is it like closed over?

CHARLIE: It’s sewed shut.

HAPPY: Oh God, OK.

CHARLIE: I know. It’s really so sad and cute. But she’s just a bit special. We say she’s a bit special. Like she has these… she looks like a Disney cat, like she has these big eyes, and she looks like… she looks like Puss in Boots. But she just falls off stuff, and stacks shit, and…

HAPPY: Just a little bit slow.

CHARLIE: She’s a little bit slow, yeah, but we love her. She’s our special girl.

HAPPY: I guess, why would you wanna adopt older cats? I think that’s kind of interesting.

CHARLIE: Um, because everyone adopts little kittens and fluffy kittens, and it’s the older ones that never get a home.

HAPPY: That’s true.

Charlie Collins

CHARLIE: Yeah. And, I don’t know, I just fell in love. My partner and I… we were just on Gumtree, and there were these fucking adorable little fluffy things, and tiny little kittens, and then these two came up, and it’s just like, ‘Oh, they’re really cool!’ And they just kind of had these little personalities, and like they lived lives, you know? They were just cool. I liked them. And the person that was putting them up for adoption said that, you know, they’ve been on for ages, and she was getting worried because they were getting older and no one will take them. And I was like, ‘I will take them off your hands.’

HAPPY: ‘I will take them.’

CHARLIE: ‘I will take them!’ And I’ve never looked back. By the way, I’ve just got TikTok and that’s pretty much what my TikTok is.

HAPPY: Girl, we need to do a TikTok!

CHARLIE: Well, I don’t really know what I’m doing, so at the moment, I’m doing everything.

HAPPY: Are you doing, like, dances?

CHARLIE: No! Well, I don’t know how to use it. I am just like singing some songs, and then I’ll film my cats, and then I’ve put a chipmunk filter on my face and started singing Dolly Parton… I don’t know.

HAPPY: I need to check this out! I need to check this out!

CHARLIE: Don’t! It’s actually really bad!

HAPPY: Yessss!

CHARLIE: I actually have twelve… no, I had thirteen followers, and now I have twelve. Someone unfollowed me. So I must be pretty fucking bad. I just don’t know what I’m doing, I’m really bad at it.

HAPPY: Well, it takes a while to get the hang of, yeah.

CHARLIE: Ohhh, I didn’t know you could like. I haven’t been liking or Not In… or anything. Watch me go viral, bitch!

HAPPY: You got this!

CHARLIE: I literally was like, when my manager said to get a TikTok… talk about not being told what to do… But it is a thing, unfortunately, you do need all these things right.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: But my last words were like, ‘Got TikTok, bye, I’m famous now.’ And I literally had two followers. And now I have twelve.

HAPPY: Soon to be thirteen.

CHARLIE: Well, I had thirteen, and someone unfollowed me.

HAPPY: Yeah, well, let me boost you back up to thirteen.

CHARLIE: Yes, boost me, boost me. I need a boost.

CHARLIE: You weren’t following me before? What the fuck? Oh my God, so I could have like, fourteen followers.

HAPPY: Fuck.

CHARLIE: Oh my God, paparazzi, they’re gonna be wild when I walk out this door.

HAPPY: What are your thoughts on social media?

CHARLIE: Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s like a thing where it is necessary. Do I like it? No. But it’s like, you know what, it’s a great way… I think, to look at the positives, it’s a great way to be informed, again, about things. And for people to make a stand, and a political stand as such, with having a platform as Instagram. Big platform. So I think it’s good a lot of things. Even music. It’s great that someone who isn’t anyone can put up a song, and then people love it, and it can go viral, and that person has a career with music, or with anything. So with Youtube, and stuff like that, so it’s great for other things. It’s dangerous though, for also a lot of things. Like I can’t imagine being in high school and having Instagram.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: That’d be hard. Like, you think about… I know when I was in high school, it was already tough enough as it is. Like we weren’t very rich, and everyone had like, Ripcurl and Billabong backpacks, and I had the shitty dark green one from Kmart. And like, you know, but…

HAPPY: That’s the most Australian thing I’ve ever heard anyone say!

CHARLIE: Well, I’m from Tamworth as well, fuck! Everyone had Mambo, and I had Mambo, like… And that was hard! I can’t now, where chicks are like contouring their faces at nine. I was just sprinkling glitter in my hair and my face at night! Like, you know what I mean? Pretty heavy! I just can’t imagine what it would be like.

HAPPY: Were you cool in high school? Do you…

CHARLIE: Well, I just didn’t have any friends. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t cool! Just didn’t have any friends, you know. I kind of like… I liked to call myself the floater. I floated from groups. I couldn’t like, stick to a group, so I ended up just hanging out with myself a lot, or just not going to school. Yeah, but I was kind of touring and stuff…

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: During, like, high school, I kind of just didn’t, to be honest, take school too seriously. I wanted to quit in Year 10, and my parents were like, ‘Yeah, like whatever you wanna do. We know you wanna do music, so do that.’ Then by the time I was thinking about it, I finished Year 12.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: Just. But I finished it.

HAPPY: Did you ever have a moment where you were like, maybe music’s not for me, or maybe this is…

CHARLIE: Oh, I have that moment every fucking day. I like, definitely go through waves, for sure. I think it’s like, a healthy thing to challenge yourself with what you do.

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: Literally, yesterday, I was like, I picked up my guitar, and was like, ‘Maybe I’ll write a song.’ And everything that came out my mouth, I was like, ‘I suck!’ How did I ever write a song before, because I can’t write one now, you piece of shit. And I was like, ‘Maybe music is not for me.’ And then like… but I think of my life without it, and I could not do anything else. So yeah, but I challenge myself. I think it’s, again, probably me a few years ago, would say, ‘Music’s not for me,’ and start to wallow, and become pretty depressed with it, like ‘Waaaahhh, what do I do?’ And it was like, you know, that was pretty dark. But now, I think I look at it as a way of me challenging myself.

Charlie Collins

HAPPY: Yeah.

CHARLIE: So when I say ‘Music is not for me’, then I think it’s like, ‘OK Charlie, what is for you? OK Charlie, fucking nothing else. Because you’ve been doing music since you were like, a fetus, so just keep going with that.’

HAPPY: Fetus Charlie.

CHARLIE: Just challening myself. In a healthy way, you know. I get frustrated with it. I think any job you’re in, you get frustrated. ‘I wanna quit!’ Like, do you get that with this job?

HAPPY: Absolutely. All the fucking time. But I feel like with music, it’s a bit different, because like, there’s so many other moving parts to it. Like you’re not just writing songs. You’re touring, doing this shit… There’s like four hundred other pieces to go in the puzzle.

CHARLIE: Yes, there’s so many pieces. And like, all the other side of things. You know, I’m lucky to have a good team that really takes the load off so I can just do the things I love. Which is like talking to people like you…

HAPPY: Awww.

CHARLIE: And writing, and like dropping poses in front of a camera. Actually, no joke, I literally was like, this morning, really deep in the contouring. When I was doing my makeup, I put on a contour video. I literally did a makeup tutorial, and was like, ‘Uh huh, OK, highlighter up here… Concealer, OK…’ So how’s my makeup?

HAPPY: It’s looking great. Contour though.

CHARLIE: Is the contouring, you know… is it blended?

HAPPY: Well, I didn’t even know that there was contouring, so I think you did a good…

CHARLIE: Awwww!

HAPPY: No, in a good way, in a good way!

CHARLIE: OK.

HAPPY: Not like, ??? serving fish!

CHARLIE: I know, I was just like, I got really caught up. You know sometimes you spiral with social media, and now my feed is all like… ‘cos I maybe looked up a couple of like, makeup tutorials, and now all my feed is like, ‘OK guys, so today, we’re going to contour like this…’

HAPPY: And it’s always someone with really immaculate skin!

CHARLIE: Right?

HAPPY: Fucked up ???

CHARLIE: I was like, and then… yeah, and I kind of wanted to do a before and after video, and I was like… I don’t look like that! I just look like a cake.

HAPPY: Not Pretty Enough by Kasey Chambers plays in the background…

CHARLIE: I know, seriously, oh my God.

HAPPY: I guess, that sort of wraps up everything I wanted to ask. Is there anything I haven’t touched upon that you think is important? Anything you just wanna throw out to the wind?

CHARLIE: Nah, I think the wind has caught everything.

HAPPY: The wind is settled.

CHARLIE: Yeah, I think we covered everything.

HAPPY: That was really fucking lovely, thank you.

CHARLIE: Yeah, that was fun!

 

Charlie’s new singles, Fuck It and Honey We Can Run Away are out now!

 

Interview by Mike Hitch

Photos by Charlie Hardy