Australian singer-songwriter Tim Allan recently released his EP “Songs I Used To Busk With,” a collection of some of his favourite tracks he used to perform while busking on the streets of Melbourne.
Tim Allan wears his heart on his sleeve in his latest single “By Your Side,” a poignant acoustic pop ballad about the struggles of long-distance relationships. The track, which features a meticulous guitar solo and backing saxophones, is the second single lifted from Allan’s upcoming album “Songs I Used To Busk With.”
While the song’s lovelorn lyrics speak to the heartache of being apart from a loved one, its message ultimately conveys hope and a determination to keep the memories of a romance alive. In a recent interview with Happy, Allan shares how his busking past has influenced his musical artistry, and how his EP takes listeners on a journey through his identity as a musician.
Allan’s EP, set to be released on April 14, comprises seven tracks that showcase his versatility and unique sound. What’s more, the singer-songwriter played every instrument on the EP except for the drums and sax, and is proud of that fact.
With his follow-up EP already done and ready to go, Allan is daring himself to release some of the songs he recorded during lockdown about his life at that time. At the end of the day, he simply wants to make a living writing and playing his music, and is excited to see where his career takes him.
Happy: Your new song By Your Side explores a long distance relationship. Why did you think this topic was rich for songwriting?
Tim: I guess it means so much to me because I spent so long living one. At the time my girlfriend was away at uni and we never saw each other. Suddenly my world felt a lot emptier without her in it all the time and I really just wanted to hang onto us.
I think so many people go through them at some point and it takes a lot of work to make them. By Your Side just unravels that idea.
Happy: You were once a busker on the streets of Melbourne. What are your fondest memories of these sets?
Tim: One of my favourite spots I used to busk was by the Yarra on Southbank. There’s a strip of restaurants I used to play out the front of and I’d sometimes get a crowd of people just sitting down to watch me when they ate.
I remember I noticed a couple on a date once and spent the whole time playing lovey dovey songs for the two of them while they had the best night.
Oh and of course that time Stephen K Amos sat and watched me for half an hour, and the 50 he gave me after wasn’t too bad either.
Happy: How does your previous busking career inform your musical artistry now?
Tim: I spent a long time busking trying to find my own musical identity. A lot of the time I’d play covers because that’s what people knew. I felt like a lot of the time I was imitating my favourite artists.
Now, I feel a lot more like my own artist.
My style is always developing, but I think I don’t rely on being like anyone anymore, just creating what feels right for me.
Happy: Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming EP Songs I Used To Busk With?
Tim: Songs I Used To Busk With is a collection of some of my fav songs I used to belt out on the streets of Melbourne. I used to write new songs every day and test them out each day.
The newest track was probably For All of Time, that was written about 2017.
Whilst the earliest was a song called Everytime. I remember writing it about 2012 and thinking, maybe I could make this songwriting thing happen.
It’s seven tracks that are pretty varied and all have their unique flavour.
Little Rock is an acoustic rock and roll track about where I’ve come from. Where as something like Take It All Away is stripped back and vulnerable.
Happy: What sort of gear went into the making of Songs I Used To Busk With?
Tim: For this EP, I spent so long working on arrangements and developing these songs. So long that I think I took away what made this EP special. Once I realised this EP was about showing where I’ve come from, I stripped all of the songs back.
Besides By Your Side, that I used my current full band to record including a glorious tenor sax, the entire EP was recorded how I used to play it.
I love my Maton, Martha (yes I name my guitars) and I broke many strings recording on her.
I used my home studio setup- and sat at home and recorded the whole thing over lockdown. Got the old loop pedal out for songs like Last Kiss, and went nuts.
I played every instrument and EP, with exception of drums and sax, I’m really really proud of that.
Happy: What are plans beyond the release of Songs I Used To Busk With, in terms of music and overall career trajectory?
Tim: The EP will be out April 14! We’ll be launching the EP at The Workers Club April 26th which I can’t wait to play at again!
Immediately after this EP I’m going to jump back on to where I left off before lockdown. I’ve got huge plans for my follow up EP and I can’t wait to share that too. It’s done and ready to go and I tell you what, it bops.
As well as that I recorded a lot of songs during lockdown about that time in my life that I’m daring myself to release at some point.
As far as career goes, I just want to make a living writing and playing my music. Where that takes me, I’m just going to ride the roller coaster and find out.
Happy: In terms of live shows in support of the album, how do they differ from your busking shows?
Tim: I’ve come a long way as a writer and performer since I was busking.
Busking was just me and my guitar and whilst there’s elements of that in the live show, as a whole we’ve tried to make this show a lot more fun and engaging.
There’s really intimate moments where I feel I really connect with the audience and other times it is just straight up rock and roll.
Happy: Can you tell us a little about what it’s like to perform alongside a live band?
Tim:Having the band gives me so much freedom to have fun with the set. Everyone in the band met at uni and we’ve been playing in different bands for a few years now.
So more often then not, it’s just such a good time.
Happy: What did you read or watch growing up that fuelled your passion for music?
Tim: I’ve had so many influences over the years that I feel I never stop developing.
When I was 10 I found my brothers guitar and begged for lessons. Within weeks I’d taught myself the entire Green Day Bullet in a Bible live album and just wanted to be like Billie Joe.
My dad blasted Acca Dacca on his record player and my mum danced along to Barbera Streisand.
I spent 4 years training in musical theatre before launching into my own music.
And I’d say now I’ve grown up to connect to songwriters like Taylor Swift, James Bay, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and Australia’s own Dean Lewis.
So it’s pretty varied in terms of genre and I think you can hear that in the songs I write.
Happy: What makes you happy?
Tim: I’m a simple family and friends sort of guy. I love backyard cricket with my nephews, rocket league with my mates, watching footy on the weekend and nights off with my cat and my wife.