Yours & Owls have pulled off the line up of lineups, with plenty of international and local acts to swoon over including indie pop sweetheart Tia Gostelow.
Fresh off her highly anticipated album release, singer-songwriter Tia Gostelow unravels the inspiration behind “Head Noise,” the transformative influence of producer Chris Collins, and the evolution of her musical style.
With candid courage, Gostelow opens up about her own battle with anxiety, and the purpose built album that offers solace for restless minds. Amidst a whirlwind tour schedule, including a forthcoming performance at the Yours and Owls festival, we caught up with the gifted artist who shares her festival perks, hacks, and must sees.
Happy: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the title “Head Noise” for your new album?
Tia: I feel like ‘Head Noise’ perfectly summarised the feeling of the record and what it’s all about. Each song in someway talks about feelings of anxiety, heartbreak, loss, grief or uncertainty and to me these things can lead to a lot of head noise.
I think it really lets a person who may have never heard of me before know straight away what the record could be about, I think it gets to the point straight away.
Happy: How did your personal experiences with anxiety influence the creation of this album?
Tia: I wrote a lot of the songs on this record about a lot of the things that keep me up at night and things that definitely add to my anxiety. I worry a lot about the future and a lot about the past, as I’m sure a lot of people do.
‘I’m Getting Bored of This’ is about the horrible alcohol anxiety I get after drinking on a weekend, something my friend Matt and I both agreed on when we were writing it. ‘Dog Eat Dog World’ is about my feelings about the music industry and wondering if I’m enough or if I’ve passed my date to make it work.
There’s so many situations and parts of my life that have inspired some of these songs but also watching the people around me going through heartbreak and loss was something that made me want to write something for them. Being able to give other people something to relate and cling onto when there’s no other words for how they’re feeling is a really special part of being a songwriter.
Happy: What drew you to work with producer Chris Collins for this project, and how did his influence shape the sound of the album?
Tia: I’ve been a big fan of Chris’ work for sometime now, his production and songwriting and I was so excited that I was able to get to work with him. Chris records in a way that I’ve never recorded and I fell in love with his process.
He has such a calm and caring nature and that comes through in everything he does down to the way we recorded this album. He sat my band and I in a big live room together and we just played the songs over and over again until it felt good and then we started recording in that same way.
I think he was really able to capture the feelings and energy in the room by recording it that way. His ideas also pushed me to be open minded, I never thought I’d have saxophone or congas on my album but here we are and I’m obsessed with it. Chris really shaped this record in a way I never knew would be possible for me.
Happy: “Chrysalis” showcased a shift towards a disco-pop sound. How did this evolution in your musical style influence the direction of “Head Noise”?
Tia: I feel like I was rebelling a little bit when I wrote Chrysalis, I was tired of people putting me into this country / folk genre and I really just wanted to do something pop to see how it felt. I really love that record and I think I needed to get it out of my system to be able to write Head Noise. I think it showed me the balance between Thick Skin and Chrysalis and to me Head Noise kind of has the best of both of those records, at least I hope.
Happy: What were some of the most memorable experiences or conversations that influenced the creation of this album?
Tia: My writing trip in America is definitely a highlight. Being able to travel to the other side of the world and meet and write with such incredible writers and producers is something I’ll always be grateful for.
One of my favourite sessions would have to of been with Sarah Aarons and Rob Milton in LA, we wrote a song on my album called ‘Killing You’ . Writing with Sarah has always been one of my goals and for Rob to have been in that session too was just amazing.
I’m such a big Holly Humberstone fan so to be in a room writing with someone who has had a part in some of my favourite songs was incredible.
Happy: You are in the midst of a solo tour, as well as the Yours and Owls Music Festival, are you looking forward to the festival?
Tia: I am SO excited!!!! I always hear amazing things about Yours & Owls and I’m so excited to play but to also just be at the festival, it’s such an incredible lineup. It’s my birthday a couple of days before and my friends are coming to the festival too so it’s gonna be a big one I think!
Happy: Are there any particular songs from your new album “Head Noise” that you’re especially excited to perform live at the festival?
Tia: I’ve played some of the new songs already and Spring to Life and I’m Getting Bored of This are SO much fun to play live. I can’t wait to play the new album at Yours & Owls.
Happy: Are there any fellow artists or bands on the festival lineup that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing perform?
Tia: Broods are a big must see for me! Their album ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’ was a huge influence on Chrysalis. They’re playing right after me which is crazy!!!! I’m so so excited.
Happy: Can you share a memorable festival experience from your career so far, whether as a performer or as an attendee?
Tia: I think playing Falls Festival in 2018/19 was a very memorable run of shows. I’ve been going to Falls / Splendour since I was 14 so it felt really surreal to be on this massive tour of the country. It was crazy seeing all of the behind the scenes of the production for other bands like Toto and Anderson Paak.
Happy: How does being a part of festivals like Yours and Owls contribute to your growth and recognition as an artist?
Tia: Obviously the exposure to new crowds is always a massive reason why playing festivals like Yours and Owls is really important for artists.
I also think that being able to network and meet other bands is just as important, the music industry is all about making connections with others in the industry and I think playing a festival like this is the perfect time to go up and say hey to an artist you’re fan of if you get the chance.
I think it’s pretty cool to be able to play a festival and then go and watch your own favourite bands and meet fans and people in the crowd at the same time.
Happy: Any festival hacks or tips?
Tia: Always carry bandaids and if you’re at a winter festival like Splendour make sure you have Hot Hands to keep you warm, they’re a life saver!!!!
Happy: What makes you happy?
Tia: I know it’s a big cliché but being with my family and friends. For me, I don’t think there’s anything better than being around the people I love.