I learned to sing by singing often–that’s all, I sing in the shower all the time, and I sang with my favourite records and stuff. It’s just like your voice is a muscle, there are muscles in there and they just get stronger over time. You can sort of hone it, and perfect the little movements that you have to make so it doesn’t hurt you or you have more stamina. I think it just takes time and singing a lot.
Did you ever take singing lessons?
[A very coy] Nope.
Do you have a particular writing process for your vocal lines, or songs in general? Do you start with lyrics or a piano line?
Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other. I don’t really pay attention to how I write. Everybody’s dying to know how people write songs and I don’t even know. I let it happen–if I look at it too hard I’ll solve my own mystery. It’s a mish-mash. Usually I’m walking at 2 a.m. and something will come into my head from the ether. There’s a thing about harmony, like having a sense of the chord, but not hearing it that I totally find useful and I’ve used it throughout my musical training and career. You can mentally picture or mentally hear chords. So, I’ll be walking and I’ll have this little tune in my head and then I go, ‘Oh, okay pay attention to those chords you’re hearing,’ so I listen to them in my head and I remember that’s one, that’s four, that’s five or minus three goes here. Then I get home and I twiddle it out on the piano and I’m like ‘ooh, that’s pretty good.’ It’s this weird sort of abstract mental thing if you can picture a chord, and I find that completely helpful.
It was printed somewhere that you went back to university, not for music, but for writing. Did you want to sharpen your story-telling abilities?
I actually took a short story course for the reason to get out of the bubble that is the music industry. My whole life, my friends and my social life and everything was sort of revolving around the same clubs and the same things to do every night and the same people and I was losing my mind. So I said, ‘I need to know there’s another reality!’ So I enrolled in this course, because I’ve always liked school too–I’m a big nerd loser. The more books the better. I just took it to sort of see other faces and see different lifestyles going on; people walking around campus in jogging pants and binders, it was like, ‘Wow! Cool! People living differently.’ It was good–it’s like mental spring cleaning. You have to rub clean your eyes all the time.
Artistically, you work in various other mediums, painting, drawing, photography, what attracted you to these forms of expression?
I’m always watching. I feel like that’s my job–to watch–that’s what I do for a living. I get to express that in so many different ways. There are so many things you can do in one day, or with your life, I just want to try them all and normally I want them to have something to do with sound or colour, I don’t know why, that’s just my particular idiosyncrasy. I’ve always loved visual arts. I had a really influential teacher in high school who really pushed me and challenged me, so maybe that’s why.