Melbourne artist Ella Sweeney has released her self-titled debut EP, which was recorded and mixed by Jono Steer at The Perch Recording Studio (Gretta Ray, Angie McMahon, Ali Barter). The EP draws on influences from Feist, Sharon Van Etten, Cate Le Bon & Julia Jacklin, to name a few, and shares coming-of-age tales with songs that are warm, a tiny bit sad, sarcastic and at times excitable; all the things that shouldn’t fit together, but sometimes do. Ella answers some questions about the EP.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of the EP?
It was quite daunting. I’ve always been happy to play live and enjoyed the thought that these performances were the only space for people to listen to my music. I certainly put off the release process out of fear. I don’t look at it in such a serious light anymore. I just want to create and learn and it’s such a privilege to do this sonically. People have been so lovely and I’m very grateful for all the support.
Was the process of making your EP as challenging as you thought?
The production process was greatly enjoyable. I was lucky to work with some amazing people on the EP. Namely, Jono Steer, who played bass on three of the tracks, recorded all tracks and mixed all tracks. He is such a wonderful person and I feel blessed to have worked with him throughout my first recording experience. I also had Holly Thomas on drums for three tracks, who is another warm and talented human I’m glad to have met. Then there’s my long-time friend Macka Heard who played guitar on two of the tracks and sat with me throughout the recording process. Plus Juc Romanis and Lily Clatworthy who documented the recording week in Castlemaine and helped with album art. I love all of these people very much; they remind me that the process of making music is worth it.
Sonically, how would describe your music?
I think my songs have warm and mellow tones, regardless of lyrical content. Perhaps sitting very unsteadily on the wall between Rock and Folk.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
Probably Leslie Feist. I think she’s incredible. Her music is rich and diverse, it’s been a joy to grow up listening to her various releases.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
A lecturer recently told me that I need to stop deciding and start doing, because the deciding is always harder than the doing. He was certainly referring to an article I was meant to write. But I’m now applying this to all elements of my life: my relationships, my work, my music, my reading. Thank you, lecturer.
When did you discover your passion for music?
Somewhere in my teens. Lots of angsty years were spent listening to music in my bedroom, I think after a while I realised that I could start contributing. Enter my Taylor GS Mini guitar. Hundreds of cover songs later and I started to piece together my own. I then studied the music industry throughout my Undergraduate years and have worked the past few summers at a music festival. Both of these experiences remind me of my love for music, both listening to it and creating it.
Are you looking to tour more broadly?
Not at this very moment. I have a lot of creating and performing locally to do in the next few months, which I am so excited for.
What’s next for Ella Sweeney?
Reading more. Writing more. Learning more. Eating more Chicken Twisties. Playing with my band. Sending sad song voice memos to my dear friends. Making poor decisions. Writing more. I’m also very excited for the string of shows I have coming up with my band.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Ella Sweeney on the following dates this July…
July 17 Supporting Bones and Jones @ Cactus Room, Thornbury
July 28 EP Launch @ The Retreat Hotel, Brunswick
July 29 Supporting Millar Jukes with Outtatime @ The Curtin, Carlton