We enjoyed listening to your song “Talk About Us”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
The song is about a breakdown in communication in a relationship, that self-conscious isolated feeling that can creep up on you when it feels like things are going downhill, and you’re struggling to connect with the other person in the relationship. I started writing it at home, pulling from a feeling I’d had in a long gone relationship that I could never really put my finger on. It took a few years of growing up to return to it, and have the bravery as a songwriter to put these parts of myself out there – intensity, insecurity, loneliness.
The title was pulled from the central lyric in the chorus, which I had written along with the first verse when I brought it in to the studio to work on with my friend and collaborator Maude Minnie Morris. We started digging in to the production together, and ultimately made a track that felt so free and exciting to both of us.
We’ve watched the music video that accompanies the song. What ideas went into making the video and is there any story – or message – that you hope the video contains?
Director Mareea Vegas and I dreamt up a video for ‘Talk About Us’ that could introduce Isla Noon, and was personal enough to capture the emotion of the track. We filmed it all in one room, with the camera right in my face. I played on two different “looks” in the video – one more dramatic to highlight the melodrama and intense emotional state I’m describing in the song, and one to show me as I look most days. In my mind, the dramatic look is the larger than life emotion, the Isla Noon inside that uses expansive production to show you how it felt. The natural look is me showing the person who really lived the experience which may not have been so cinematic and grandiose in real life but still cut like a knife. In that way, this video is my way of saying “here’s me, the artist and the person, and Isla Noon is both of these things all the time”.
If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
My influences change all the time, but I had a good mix of poetic singer/songwriters, disco and Euro-pop floating around the house growing up. I hadn’t realised how much this had influenced my writing until I was asked about it after releasing my first two singles, and now I can trace some clear lines to the kinds of choices I make as a writer and producer. Someone recently described my sound as “glitter and grit”. I like that. I pull big synths, raw emotive subject matter and catchy yet often off-kilter melodies into what has most recently been labelled ‘indie pop’.
What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
Releasing my first single ‘Summer in August’ in 2020 was a big milestone, after years of writing and preparing to put something out that I was really proud of. My single release for ‘Talk About Us’ saw a number of personal and professional highlights – hearing my song on the radio for the first time, and waking up to see myself on Rolling Stone Australia under the title “Song You Need To Know” among them.
The biggest highlight for me is solidifying the feeling that I’m on the right track, that I’m pursuing what makes me truly happy. I’ve wanted to be an artist for most of my life, and there was a part of me that always wondered whether once I really pursued it I would feel like I had made the wrong decision. I can say that at this point, I still really want to be here.
Dreaming big, I’d love to play a major festival – I think Glastonbury Festival is on any artist’s bucket list.
If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Part of the draw of being an opener is accessing a certain level of live show that is still beyond your reach as an artist, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the kinds of venues, production and crowds only Taylor Swift can pull off right now. Opening for her on a tour would be a mind-blowing full circle moment for me as someone who was so inspired by her in my teen years and early songwriting. The scale of her live shows is something else, and her music has an untouchable quality in the way only the music you were obsessed with at sixteen can have.
What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
I’ve been listening to Caroline Polachek, Holly Humberstone, Aly & AJ’s new album (yes they’re making new music, it’s so different and so good), Clairo, Wolf Alice and Christine & The Queens. If I could recommend a new album to check out, it’s Wolf Alice’s ‘Blue Weekend’. I’ve had it on repeat for weeks!
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