Australian songwriter Angie McMahon recently spoke to The Last Mixed Tape about re-imagining her debut album Salt in her new stripped back E.P. Piano Salt.
What’s the last song you listened to?
Midnight Sky – Miley Cyrus
What artist or album has gotten you through lockdown the most?
I don’t know if there is one – I usually love to obsess over a particular album or artist, but since being in the same place for a long period of time, I kind of want to listen to a much bigger variety of things so I’m really into playlists at the moment! I have just been following anyone and everyone’s playlists and soaking up the mixtape feeling. Eventually when I just want a familiar feeling, I go to War on Drugs.
What’s influencing your music right now?
I have been feeling like writing each time I go for a walk, like if I don’t have headphones then whatever the type of song that I wanted to hear while I was walking around my neighbourhood, that’s what I want to go home and write. I’ve been reading about nature, and white fragility, and the experience of being in a female body, I’m like halfway through about seven books (chaos) which are all spilling out into music too. Also having a crush on somebody, and having lots of time to reflect, and lots of time to listen to those playlists…I want to absorb literally everything.
Tell us about your new E.P. Piano Salt. How was it written and recorded?
I hired this rehearsal room one day with a grand piano in it, just to play around and practice, cause I was really missing piano. Then I got sick of writing new things, or ran out of ideas, so I started testing out the Salt songs, and sent a few to my manager Charlotte. We both liked them a lot, and when we got locked down, thought it would be a good time to record some solo tracks because no one else would be allowed in the studio anyway. I went to the Perch Studio in Castlemaine, where my friend Jono recorded everything from the house across the property. While we were recording, we also set up some Go Pros to film the whole thing, and Jono and Charlotte turned it into an online concert, with help from editor friend Lewis Parsons and some lovely others.
Arranging the songs on piano gave me a bit of anxiety, I worry that my piano playing is cheesy and makes it sound like I’m in a musical, but I took some tips and inspiration from another dear friend Leif Vollebekk, who’s playing I love, and love to try and copy.
How did it feel revisiting the songs from Salt in this stripped-down way?
It kind of felt like going back to read a diary from years ago, and having a new perspective for it. And it felt like honouring the raw way that a song first comes into shape for me, before I take it to the band. Just like an extra little creative gift, a fun way to fiddle with my songs while making space to write new ones.
Angie McMahon’s Piano Salt E.P. is due out on October 2nd. Photo credit: Caitlin Reilly.