Interview: Sarah Blasko
Tue, 10 Aug 2010 12:43:22
Sarah Blasko Videos
Sarah Blasko has got more than a few stories to tell on her third album, As Day Follows Night.
Available now, As Day Follows Night, is a personal, poetic and powerful collection of soulful piano-based pop from the Australian singer-songwriter. Blasko has her own style that's both theatrical and very vulnerable at the same time. At the heart of As Day Follows Night lies a collection of vivid lyrical tales that bring listeners very close to Blasko…
Sarah Blasko sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about As Day Follows Night, what she's currently reading and watching and so much more…
Was there an overarching theme or concept for As Day Follows Night?
Well, it's sort of a heartbreak album. The record is really about trying to dig yourself out of a tunnel and see the positive. If I was going to give it an overall theme, I'd say that was it.
How do songs usually begin for you?
For this record, it mainly began by sitting down at the piano. I hadn't written much stuff on piano before, but this time around, that was the instrument that I really wanted to write on. For me, it was a matter of sitting there and playing. You play a few chords and from there, the melody starts to come. I start with some kind of gibberish at first [Laughs]. As words come, I start to feel like I understand what the song's about. This emotion wells up inside and you know you've got something you really need to express. The lyrics are always like a response to the music and the feeling the chords evoke.
Do you tend to read a lot while you're writing lyrics?
I do a little bit. It's an odd thing—writing songs. It's so hard to explain how it happens. Sometimes, it just happens so quickly and comes out of nowhere. Then other times, you really labor over a song and it's difficult to find the right words. While I'm writing, I'm always looking for inspiration. You can find it in the daily newspaper if you want to, as well as films that you see and things that are going on with friends. It all feeds you somehow, but it's never quite so obvious how it happens.
What books or movies do you always come back to?
Lately, I've been getting some inspiration from this book I've been reading by Oliver Sacks called Musicophilia. It's about people who develop really odd conditions that have to do with music. Sometimes when people have a stroke, they constantly start hearing music in their head. I'm really fascinated by all of these stories and anecdotes. I get more inspired by true stories rather than fiction. It's that cliché that reality is stranger than fiction sometimes. The book has all these little stories about people. The brain has done this really weird thing that has to do with music. It's fascinating!
Do you feel like there's a theatricality to your music?
As I go along, I think about the live setting a little bit more because I think you're more aware of the realities. I do feel like I love that side of performing probably because I started playing before I started recording. I like that sense of drama. I'm a big fan of soundtracks, and I love making things just a little bit larger than reality. They can be more magical.
What are some of your favorite soundtracks?
I love musicals like The Sound of Music and Cabaret. I like really uncool soundtracks such as the two I just mentioned [Laughs]. I grew up listening to The Elephant Man soundtrack a lot because my dad had the album and it sounded so crazy and bizarre when I was a child. It's like really creepy circus music!
If you were to compare As Day Follows Night to a movie what would you compare it to?
That's a difficult one…there are elements of an Ennio Morricone sound but I wouldn't necessarily compare it to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly or anything like that [Laughs].
What visuals come to mind when you listen to the record?
It's not so precise. When you picture music, it can be a color or a shape. In the artwork and the things alongside the record, you can see how I perceive it. The cover of the album has that simplicity and freshness and then you see bursts of color. That's how I visualize in the album in those colors. I think it's quite a clean album on one, but then it's got these bursts of life that add colors to the sound.
What albums shaped you?
A really terrible Paul McCartney album is one that shaped me. It's called The Pipes of Peace. It was an album that I listened to a lot when I was ten-years-old. I still feel really great when I listen to it now. It's got a certain homey-ness to it that I still enjoy. I think his voice and some of the elements have a lot to do with my musical development.
Have you heard Sarah Blasko yet?