We chat with Phoebe Go fresh off her debut album ‘Marmalade’

“I was going through it, and there was a lot of change and loss along the way,” Phoebe Go says of the creative force behind ‘Marmalade’. 

Sometimes an album comes along that speaks so candidly to the human experience that you wonder whether its creator has a pair of magical keys to the universe.

‘Marmalade’, the just-released debut record from Phoebe Go, is exactly that kind of album — a collection of tracks that lays bare the process of relenting to life’s challenges and finding the courage to dust yourself off again. 

Phoebe Go Interview
Credit: Alexis Aquino

There’s moments of both unadulterated joy and sombre introspection, haunting beauty and radiant vulnerability.

It’s fitting, then, that across its eight tracks, ‘Marmalade’ invokes all the bittersweetness of its namesake for a sprawling manifesto on the joys and heartbreaks of life, love, and growing up.

Fresh off the release of the album, we caught up with Phoebe Go to chat all things ‘Marmalade’, following your gut, and how “these songs really helped me move forward.” 

Catch the full interview below, and scroll down to listen to Phoebe Go’s debut album ‘Marmalade’.   

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

PHOEBE GO: Mostly planning some shows but also sanding a bench. 

HAPPY: Tell us a little about where you live, what’s the scene like? 

PHOEBE GO: I just moved to Sydney from Melbourne. I’m still getting to know my way around but it’s crazy beautiful up here. I can see the ocean from my window. 

Phoebe Go Interview

HAPPY: ‘Marmalade’ seems like a very personal album. Can you tell us a bit more about the specific challenges you faced that led to the album’s themes of finding comfort and getting back on your feet?

PHOEBE GO: When I started writing ‘Marmalade’ I was unpacking some stuff from my childhood. I was pretty disorientated in myself and in my life.

That’s where it all started I guess. I was going through it, you know, and there was a lot of change and loss along the way so inevitably the record became about so much more.

I just wanna write a happy record haha. But these songs really helped me move forward. 

HAPPY: You mentioned ‘Leave’ being about self-numbing. Did writing and recording the song itself become a form of processing those feelings?

PHOEBE GO: For sure.

HAPPY: You describe the creation of ‘Leave’ as having a fun and collaborative energy. Was that the overall experience working with Simon Lam on ‘Marmalade’?

PHOEBE GO: Yeah we had heaps of fun with this record. There’s a lot of trust between us so we know how to work freely and just follow a feeling. We also know how to slack off together haha.

We were always going for something pretty real with the production so that part was just about discovering all the different shades and making sure we weren’t doubling up. But yeah. We just felt it out one song at a time and the process was really collaborative.

HAPPY: ‘Marmalade’ comes after your successful EP Player. How did the experience of making a full-length album differ for you?

PHOEBE GO: Honestly it wasn’t that different. It was a chapter in my life more than anything.

I think maybe the full length gave me a bit more room to capture some other sides of my personality. Like, there’s a bit more muscle and a few more colours on this record than what we had in the EP. 

Phoebe Go Interview
Credit: Alexis Aquino

HAPPY: Looking back at your time with Snakadaktal and Two People, what are some of the biggest lessons you learned that you brought to your solo work?

PHOEBE GO: The big one would just be following my gut. At the end of the day I’m the boss, you know? Finding that sort of confidence comes with a bit of time. 

HAPPY: ‘Player’ showcased a more acoustic sound. Will Marmalade continue in that direction, or will we see a return to some of the alt-pop elements of your earlier projects?

PHOEBE GO: Yeah the record is still pretty acoustic. But I play with a band too so there are always moments of the fuller indie rock thing. I like having both.

HAPPY: Who are some of your musical influences that have inspired you throughout your career?

PHOEBE GO: Wow so many. I dunno. Bright Eyes, Avril Lavigne, Clairo, Alex G, Eliott Smith, The Cranberries, Bruce Springsteen, Big Thief, Haim, The National? 

HAPPY: With ‘Marmalade’ dropping and a tour with Teenage Dads, what are you most excited about for the coming months?

PHOEBE GO: I’m excited to play the album live with my band! I’ve played a lot of the songs live but not all of them. So I’m pumped to get them into a room.

Yeah. A lot of the shows I’ve played this year have been solo so I can’t wait to have some mates around me. 

Phoebe Go Interview
Credit: Naomi Davison

HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

PHOEBE GO: People!