Music Interview: Appleonia’s free album
Double amazingness! Not only has Australian musician Appleonia released a record for FREE, but it’s also filling the mouths of those in need. Somethingyousaid.com caught up with her to learn more:
Hello! Firstly, where does the name ‘Appleonia’ come from?
The short answer is that I had a dream about it. It’s also possible I dreamt about it because of my small obsession with Prince’s Purple Rain and his protégé ‘Apollonia’.
You composed the music for the biopic ‘Despite the Gods’ last year and are now releasing your album ‘OH’. These are quite different projects. Did one influence the other at all? Was one easier to complete or more difficult?
I’m sure everything influences everything but I wasn’t aware of it at the time. With ‘OH’ I was exploring more pop ideas and experimenting with different pallets for different songs. ‘Despite the Gods’ is more like a long amorphous prayer. I didn’t for a second think about choruses and verses and conventions. We just wrote stream of consciousness and I found such beauty in that. ‘Despite the Gods’ had some lovely restrictions that helped the music making process, including the ultimate need to serve the film’s story, cinematic release deadlines and the director’s musical vision. Sometimes restrictions are the best thing that could happen to you. But both albums definitely had their unique challenges.
You’re giving away your new album ‘OH’ for free through a collaboration with Vittoria Coffee. For every download, Vittoria Coffee will donate the value to Australians in need through the charity, OzHarvest. How did you get involved with this collaboration? Why choose this charity? What does it mean to you?
I have volunteered for OzHarvest over the years and seen the look on people’s faces when you deliver the food. It’s such a simple model, so effective and transforming. Basically they rescue perfectly beautiful food from events and restaurants that would get thrown out otherwise. I approached OzHarvest about essentially donating my album to them, and about the idea of every download somehow triggering a donation. OzHarvest took it from there and Vittoria Coffee were the first to say ‘yes’. They are really into new ways of doing things and have also been huge supporters of OzHarvest for many years. It means so much to me that this music has essentially become food.
It took quite a while for the album to be completed and you described it as ‘endurance testing’ and ‘chaotic’. Why was this?
When things are very very indie and home spun, like this record was, they can take a lot longer than they might need to take. Things got very experimental at times and it got really hard to make decisions. Different producers worked with me on different songs, and though that was great on the one hand, it started to getting really confusing, with no defined deadlines. Eventually, I had to let go and regain perspective.
What is like working with [legendary Australian musician] Ben Lee? What is the best advice he’s given to you?
Ben is such a good friend and our conversations and friendship has been invaluable to me. We’ve been through a lot together over the three albums we have collaborated on so far. One thing I learnt through his example is to cultivate gratefulness for criticism, even when it really hurts… because it’s always an opportunity for your ego to die a little death, and that is always helpful in this game.
You supported Sarah Blasko on her ‘Heavenly Sounds’ tour. How was it?
It was a stunning tour, just gorgeous. We played in such sublime spaces and to such beautiful audiences. It felt like a religious kind of theatre, and I loved that. And of course Sarah is pure magic.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?
I will be launching my album ‘OH’ at FBi Social in Sydney on Feb 20. I’m really looking forward to celebrating this whole thing. After that I’ll be scoring another documentary, and will be working on Ben Lee’s next solo record in The States. There is also a new Appleonia record in the pipelines that I’m excited about.
Interview by Carol Bowditch.