In the first of our features for 2020, we get to know St.South, a Perth artist who’s just dropped her latest single.
‘Does Your Brain Ever Get This Loud?’ is the name of said single, which kicks off the start of a new chapter for the young performer.
But just who is St.South? How did she get to this point in her career? And what’s Skrillex got to do with the price of fish?
You’ll find out below as we get to know St.South!
01. Name : St.South (Olivia Gavranich).
02. Where are you based? Fremantle, Perth WA.
03. How did you get your start in music? I entered into the Bon Iver Stems Project in 2012 and won with my remix of ‘Wash’. After that I started collaborating with various producers I met on Soundcloud, until I eventually began self-producing my own music.
04. Give us five words to best describe you as an artist. Self-taught, genre-fluid, emotional, honest, defiant.
05. Tell us a little bit about your sound and how it developed. I started working with producers straight after the Bon Iver Stems Project, as I’d only ever written acoustic songs prior to that and had no idea how to produce anything. But after releasing my first four singles I decided that it was time to start self-producing.
Even though I’ve been writing and releasing music since 2012, I feel like the music I’m about to release finally feels like my own.
The ‘Nervous Energy’ EP was self-produced but I worked with a session musician who really helped flesh out the production. And the ‘Inure’ EP was a stripped back breather between releases, so there was no production involved besides electric guitar. I think I just reached a point where I wanted to stop calling on other producers for their input, and start trusting myself enough to do it alone.
In 2015 I quit my day job and and spent every day watching Ableton tutorials, and my sound has slowly been developing since then. I’m really open to experimenting because I feel influenced by such a wide range of genres; from jazz to lo-fi, to pop.
But I think for the first time ever I can confidently say that my upcoming music feels like lo-fi-pop meets bedroom beats, with some big ballad energy thrown in there – which is exciting because I’ve never really known where I fit in the genre world.
My sound is definitely still developing (I think it always will be?), so whatever comes next might be wildly different, but I’m excited for whatever that might sound like.
06. What’s your earliest musical memory? Dancing around the kitchen bench to The Pogues with my dad. I was probably around four or five. Also singing along to a Tracy Chapman cassette with my mum on the drive to school. My parents were always listening to records and singing and dancing with us.
07. Who have been your musical influences? Mostly the artists I grew up listening to with my parents; Elvis Costello, Tracy Chapman, Leonard Cohen, Paul Kelly, The Waifs, Nina Simone, Norah Jones. And more recently, artists like Sharon Van Etten, Clairo, Sylvan Esso, Big Thief, Julia Jacklin, and Kllo have influenced me a lot, both in songwriting and producing.
I absolutely rinsed Missy Higgins from the ages of 13 to 18 so that probably counts for something too.
08. What are your favourite songs of all time? HUGE question. I’ve included my favourites from childhood and some more current tunes. I’ve narrowed it down, believe it or not.
‘Baby’ – Donnie & Joe Emerson
‘Alison’ – Elvis Costello
‘One Day’ – Sharon Van Etten
‘Don’t Know Why’ – Norah Jones
‘The Obvious Child’ – Paul Simon
‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ – Julia Jacklin
‘So Long, Marianne’ – Leonard Cohen
‘Decision’ – N.Y.C.K
‘Akanamali’ – Sun-El Musician ftg. Samthing Soweto
‘Ooh La La’ – Faces
‘Daughter’ – Four Tet
‘Vibin’ Out With (((o)))’ – FKJ
‘Less Than Zero’ – Elvis Costello
‘Rosyln’ – Bon Iver, St. Vincent
‘Both Sides Now’ – Joni Mitchell
‘Beach Baby’ – Bon Iver
‘Beating Myself Up’ – CuckooLander
‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ – D’Angelo
‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’ – Jeff Buckley
‘Soon’ – Angie McMahon
‘Baby Can I Hold You’ – Tracy Chapman
‘I Wouldn’t Ask You’ – Clairo
‘Outstanding’ – The Gap Band
‘Young Hearts Run Free’ – Candi Staton
‘Don’t You Wait’ – CLOVES
‘California Stars’ – Billy Bragg & Wilco
‘Break Apart’ – Bonobo, Rhye
‘Dancing In the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen
‘Midnight In Paris’ – Chaos In The CBD
‘Sober’ – Mahalia (acoustic version)
‘Harvest Moon’ – Neil Young
‘Turns Within Me, Turns Without’ – The Paper Kites
‘To Her Door’ – Paul Kelly
‘Crowded Places’ – Banks
‘Come Thru’ – Drake.
09. Where’s your favourite place to listen to music? Alone in my car, especially driving at night. I also really enjoy walking through airports at weird times wearing noise cancelling headphones.
10. Who are your go-to artists when you’re feeling : Happy? Sad? Introspective? Exhausted?
This changes all the time, but currently :
Happy : Caroline Polacheck, Girl Ray, Clairo
Sad : Nils Frahm, Julien baker, Clairo.
Introspective : Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten, Julia Jacklin.
Exhausted : Leif Vollebekk, Maverick Sabre, Elijah Who.
11. What was the first album you ever bought? I can’t remember the first one I bought myself, but I remember my best friend gave me The Corrs single CD for ‘Breathless’ for my eighth birthday and it was honestly the greatest gift. Owning music in a tangible way was the best feeling I’d ever felt. Also that chorus slaps.
12. Give us a little fun fact about yourself that people might not know. I hate that I’m making this public but I live a pretty vanilla life so this is all I’ve got… If you google ‘Girls That Look Like Skrillex’, a photo of me at 18 with glasses and an undercut is the first one that pops up. Someone stole it from my Tumblr and posted it somewhere and it went viral at some point. That’s probably the worst/best thing to ever happen to me on the internet.
13. What would your chosen career be if music wasn’t an option? I was mainly focused on analogue photography before music took off, but now it’s become more of a side hobby. There are so many things I want to do though! I’d really love to study psychology one day if I can make the time, and I plan on becoming a personal trainer at some point – I love fitness and training, and anything to do with food and nutrition..
14. What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? In 2016 I started living by myself, pretty far away from my family. I was about 10 months away from releasing my first EP, and I was still independent and self-managed. I was feeling pretty nervous and stressed about the future, and my dad sent me this text :
Love ya darling, all will be good. Exciting times ahead. I can sense the music will stream out of you… even though it does already. Set yourself up so all you have to think about is the next second.
I’ve had it saved on my phone for four years. Whenever I feel out of my depth, or stressed about music, I come back to it. It reminds me to stay patient, calm, rational, and to put in the work now so I can rest later.
15. What’s been the highlight of your musical journey so far? So many things! But more recently, finding a manager that I really love and trust (shoutout to Pete), and finally signing to my label after four years of waiting until I was ready.
16. What’s been the strangest experience you’ve had in the business? Probably Aaron Carter randomly liking one of my Instagram photos in 2015. My inner thirteen-year-old is still recovering.
17. If you could trade places with any artist in the world right now, who would it be? Literally any man with a falsetto, like maybe Daniel Caesar or Frank Ocean. But also, I’d love to be JoJo for a day so I could belt out ‘How To Touch A Girl’ without doing permanent damage to my vocal cords.
18. Tell us about your latest release. This is the first track I’ve put out in a couple of years, and also the first fully self-produced track I’ve ever released – so I’m feeling pretty nervous/excited about it!
I wrote it in 2018 and it honestly feels like my first-born. It’s called ‘Does Your Brain Ever Get This Loud?’. I was 25 when I wrote it, and I was going through a transition period where I was leaving my early twenties behind. I don’t know why, but I was suddenly really overwhelmed by the process of growing up.
One thing I noticed during my early twenties is how much pressure I put on myself to have my shit together, but the reality for me (and a lot of people my age) is that I don’t, and I’m often riddled with self doubt.
I think this song is the process of accepting that it’s completely normal to feel a little lost and purposeless sometimes, and ‘having it all figured out’ is really just a social construct.
19. What do your future plans involve? There are heaps of people I want to work with, or remix for. I also want to shoot more music videos! I’ve never had the budget to make music videos before, so I’m excited to create some more visual content to release with new music.
I’ve already started writing for whatever comes next, but my main goal is to keep growing and learning as much as I can. I really want to get better at playing piano, and maybe learn the drums too.
20. Where can our audience catch you live? I’ve actually never played a show before. It’s never been a huge priority for me, but more, something I want to do eventually for myself, and on a small scale.
Right now I really love writing and recording music in my bedroom. But when I’m ready it’ll be about finding the right people to work with on my live setup, and then hopefully everything will fall into place.
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/saintsouth/
INSTAGRAM : https://instagram.com/stsouthmusic
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/st_south
SOUNDCLOUD : https://soundcloud.com/stsouth
YOUTUBE : https://www.youtube.com/StSouthMusic