Sissysocks Reflects On The Making Of ‘Slink Away’

Melbourne electronic producer Sissysocks has released new album Slink Away, an exploration of fallibility via oblivion pop. Slink Away is the third album from Melbourne oblivion-pop artist Sissysocks (Tom Briglia – Creeks, ex-Parading), produced by James Cecil (Architecture In Helsinki alumni who has recently worked with Time For Dreams, The Goon Sax, Thibault and Chitra) at Super Melody World studios, Macedon Ranges, and mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio, Collingwood.

Slink Away charts the artistic evolution of the artist from the earlier Sissysocks albums, Bloodied and Because We Have Things In Common, from harsh tones and vacuum drone towards lush textures and apocalyptic atmospherics. Slink Away reflects a dynamic range of influences, including iamamiwhoami, TR/ST, Grouper, Grimes, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow, while retaining lo-fi qualities that informed
the previous albums, such as early Zola Jesus and U.S. Girls, and Topaz Rags. Tom Briglia speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album.

With everything that has been going on are you relieved that the album is finally done?
The album process itself was very drawn out, both inside and outside of the studio. I do feel quite silly and embarrassed about how long it all took, and the deviations I took to get there – all independent of COVID! But there is some relief.

How have you found been in lock down and constant restrictions in trying to be creative?
Being creative has been more difficult than I thought it would be. Over the last several years I hadn’t left the house too much and I absolutely did not give enough credit to…you know, experiences, and their impact on my creativity. The pandemic exacerbated that obviously, and so did a lot of anxiety and exhaustion around the album and its release.

I’ve had to re-learn a few things about my creative process, mostly around being able to draw things out of myself rather than forcing them out. Perhaps a lack of self-discipline hasn’t helped. I’ve had to work on taking off the pressure on myself to make up for how I handled the album, and the feeling that I should be making something amazing all the time.

There’s inevitably been moments where I’ve been drawn back in and worked on new Sissysocks stuff (there’s plenty of new material already). I’ve also started another music project with a friend that has been very important and opened up quite a few things for me. I really love her solo stuff and what we’re working on – inspiration has been hard to come by and I’m really lucky to be doing that with her.

Did you have any doubts that you would get there in the end?
The album’s completion felt close for a very long time. Being stuck in that feeling was very exhausting. It made releasing the album a much bigger deal than should have been.

What was the biggest lesson learnt in creating this album?
Pay attention to what you have in your mind for what you want something to be, and what you want from it. Be prepared for and educated about how doing all of those things might look in practice. Know how to communicate those things, too. Which is all pretty rudimentary stuff, but it’s very important!

How would you describe oblivion pop?
A soundtrack for a world inevitably treading towards an apocalypse. Maybe the best moments of a bad dream. The inevitability that this isn’t ever going to quite end how you wanted it to.

What sorts of music fans do you think your album will appeal to?
People who enjoy being patient with music.

Who are some of your musical heroes and inspiration?
Radiohead is a singular formative influence. They showed me as a 16-year-old what music could be and how it could be explored. Blur (and Gorillaz releasing Demon Days around the time I was listening to them – I’m a sucker for Damon Albarn) made me want to actually play music more so. Listening to The Smiths and Morrissey as an 18-year-old made me want to sing. When I started making music as Sissysocks a couple of years later, my influences were either much more lo-fi, or relied more on textures and landscapes – Grouper (still a presence), early Zola Jesus, early US Girls, Pocahaunted, Cocteau Twins, A Sunny Day in Glasgow.

There’s parts of all of those on the new album. Artists I was listening to that had a more immediate influence were iamamiwhoami, TR/ST, Grimes, Julianna Barwick and Beach House. Artists that I am taking inspiration from now are Julia Holter, Kedr Livanskiy, Alex Cameron, Virginia Wing, Nite Jewel, Young Ejecta, Helena Deland, I Break Horses, Indigo Sparke…

Are you looking forward to getting that green light to be able to play live?
Yes. Even just to experience my own music in a different context, and even just as an excuse to see people and be in a different space. My live show relies heavily on visuals and everyone’s been stuck on screens for a while (myself included) so I’m also looking forward to the excuse to tinker with a few things. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of Melbourne artists that I find inspiring, and who really do love making music and performing.

What’s next for Sissysocks?
I’d like to think another video for a track on the album is coming soon. As patchy as my creativity has been, and the overly-long album process notwithstanding, I have quite a lot of new stuff that I have been working on. Hopefully the next album won’t take longer than it needs to.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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