We love New Zealand. Despite the apparent rivalry, we reckon that the island nation is producing some seriously great music and amongst them is indi. Last week she announced her debut album Precipice, something we couldn’t be more excited for.
Having won awards at Australia’s CLIPPED Music Video Festival for her last release, this creative force is back today with a brand new track named Tablelands.
We sat down with the lovely indi ahead of the release to get the low down on the past year of recording, and what we can expect from the new album.
Indi’s music is distorted folk swathed in an eery atmosphere. Cinematic and raw, the experimental artist isn’t shying away from the uncomfortable on her upcoming LP Precipice.
HAPPY: You’ve got an album Precipice coming out in August, tell me a bit about that process.
INDI: This project has probably been the hardest but most rewarding I’ve done so far. I had just come out of releasing the Doprah album in early 2016 and it had been a pretty big ordeal, with very high expectations and label disappointments that left us all emotionally drained by the end.
Instead of giving myself time to rest I just went straight into this. I didn’t intend for this album to be particularly ambitious but you can’t help what you write really and all of the songs needed orchestral instruments. It was a big task of basically sitting down and recording in a ton of MIDI and then calling in favours from a few of my musically inclined friends to help with notations, mixing, string playing, etc.
I had no budget to work with so it has been a process of compromising and being creative with what is at hand. It’s not the album I thought I would write – it’s cinematic and strange, and the vocals are dissimilar to how they were in Doprah.
HAPPY: You revealed the track list, an unusual choice, was this a statement or a personal preference?
INDI: Until I read this question, I had no idea this would be considered unusual. Is it? I thought it would be nice to involve the people who have been following this process as much as possible. It also feels like, once you have released the track list, you have to commit to it. Otherwise I might never release an album because I would keep writing songs and discarding the older ones – it is hard to sit on an album’s worth of tracks for a few months and still like it because musicians are always changing and growing.
HAPPY: New Zealand in a global context is unfortunately often overlooked or is considered synonymous with Australia (though both parties will adamantly profess otherwise). Do you feel like you being a New Zealander has shaped you as an artist?
INDI: Haha… I think NZ is really different from Australia. I think it’s the environment here – the sea is always close by and we have a rich history of volcanic activity and tectonic plates.
The isolation from the international music industry too allows for a creative freedom and dissociation with big musical trends or scenes; I would like to think I, along with other NZ artists, am making work that is unique due to my geographical location.
HAPPY: You’ve actually won awards here in Australia for your music video Precipice, what was that like and was it a competition you knew you were up for?
INDI: The team had entered the video into the competition so yeah I knew about it, but none of us could go to Australia for it (I don’t think we expected to win!). My mum actually knew someone at the event who sent her a photo of the awards and Precipice winning! It was so good to be acknowledged for that clip because it took so much out of me and the Thunderlips/Candlelit crew.
At one point we filmed in an industrial freezer that was like -25 degrees. Special shout out to all the naked people who nonchalantly writhed on the ground with each other in baby oil for that 4th scene. We were one person short though, so one of the directors, Sean, stripped off for it too actually.
HAPPY: Hopefully your album will join a plethora of other records that hold up New Zealand and indeed female artists to the highest regard, where are you hoping to take your music in the coming year and what’s in the pipeline after the release?
INDI: I hope I can follow in their footsteps one day! So many great women are getting the recognition they deserve at the moment. The shows I have planned will be pretty cool: live strings and saxophones, costume by Orchestra of Spheres’ designer Georgette Brown. More videos and some remixes, too. As much as I love New Zealand, it’s just too small to develop a niche audience for the style I write in.
Europe is where I would really like to tour and be based next year. Creating scores for film is something I have started to get more and more involved in too, but it’s tricky to find female composers within that field to be inspired by and I would like to see more of us.
2. Cair Paravel
Precipice is out this August.