Mallrat has quickly become one of Australia’s biggest names in the music industry. The Brisbane singer-songwriter has humbly built a fanbase that has grown with her over time and has evolved as she has. Her third EP ‘Driving Music’ (out 6 September) is her most vulnerable and intimate collection yet. It hears her opening about her family in a very honest way for the first ever time. She is a bit more direct with her lyrics instead of hiding behind metaphors but she’s still holding onto the concept that she wants her music to be as universally relatable as possible.
Her recent single ‘Charlie’ has already been added to heavy rotation radio playlists and is on track to being her biggest hit yet.
I recently chatted to Mallrat about the vulnerable side to her artistry that she opened up to showcase on her new EP ‘Driving Music’, the importance of universal connection and how she wants to grow her live show. Check it out HERE;
TB: ’Driving Music’ is your third EP and hears you continuing to open up as a songwriter and show listeners a vulnerable side of your artistry. With your debut EP being a bit more playful, what do you think you’ve learnt about yourself between all of these releases that has opened your songwriting up to be in this reflective manner?
M: It’s hard to say what I’ve learnt about myself but I think I’ve just learnt a lot about songwriting in general and I’ve learnt about what I like and appreciate in songs. And that’s often more detailed and scary to write about, so I’ve just really pushed myself to go there with these new songs.
TB: With this new collection heading towards a dreamy reflective state, what would you say is the most vulnerable moment on the EP for you?
M: I think the EP is really vulnerable in it’s entirety because I’m just starting to talk about my family in music which is something I’ve always been scared to do. I mean talking about specific close relationships in general is always the scariest because you don’t want to hurt the peoples feelings that you care about. But I’ve learnt that almost all relationships are complicated and it’s okay to embrace those ups and downs.
When I write about things, I’m not angry. I just want to put the feelings into a song. I always get a little worried when I do that as I’m scared I will hurt someone in the process but I think its okay. My mum has actually just messaged me and I haven’t opened it yet but I think it’s a good one.
TB: In the past you’ve stated that songwriting for you is never just one path and you want people to listen and take whatever it may from your songs. Why is universal connection so important to you?
M: Music is a very healing thing. I think trying to over think it can take away the magic of it sometimes. People will listen and connect in their own way.
Love is so diverse because love isn’t just romantic, it can be a love for your friends, family or siblings. Sometimes when I write song it can sound really romantic but it’s actually just about my friends or my sister. But that’s just where my love is coming from at the time and other peoples love is coming from somewhere else.
TB: Has there ever been a reflection from someone else about their connection with a song that has surprised you and made you think?
M: It’s pretty cute with ‘Charlie’ in particular because for me I just needed a title for the song and I thought it would be really cute to dedicate something to my dog ‘Charlie’ and it fitted lyrically so I did that. But people have been messaging me and telling me that it’s the name of the boyfriend they just broke up with and all these different things, which I think is so special cause they obviously then connect with the lyrical content in a different way. Also turns out there are a lot of people with Labradors called Charlie *laughs*. I’ve had some really cute DM’s from people that are really specific to the title and I really didn’t expect that.
TB: Where were you drawing your experiences from sonically for this EP and what did you want the impact of this EP to be?
M: I don’t really think of the impact it’s going to have and I don’t really care because once it’s written and I like it then I can’t really control what other people think. Like I think this EP is really good, I’m super happy with it.
But during the writing process I was listening to ‘Slow Burn’ by Kacey Musgraves a lot as well as some UK Garagey stuff which you can kinda hear on ‘Drive Me Round’ and ‘Circles’. I’ve been really getting back into country music and I guess that is quite evident in the storytelling.
TB: My favourite track on ’Driving Music’ is the intimate and honest ‘Stay’. So do you mind if we reflect for a moment about the creative process of this track?
M: This guy called Lucian Blomkamp produced it and we were recommended by one of my friends to work together so I flew down to Melbourne and we wrote it at his house. It was honestly quite a long time ago, so I don’t remember a lot of the little details but it was one of those songs that just came together so easily and nicely. It fell into place. That wasn’t a really interesting story, I’m sorry *laughs*. But I do love that song. It was a song that captured a bunch of hopeful moments within family which I wanted to bottle up while I had them.
I find that when I write things down then it becomes real. I don’t know if that’s just me or not. Maybe I’m just really connected to what is around me. But I am really careful what I put down in words, even in art, because when you repeat something over and over, you create what is happening around you. So I just try to focus on nice things, without being insincere, but also I don’t want to curse myself *laughs*.
TB: You are someone that never stops touring, so with the release of ‘Driving Music’, how do you want to continually grow your live show to keep getting stronger?
M: I haven’t thought that far ahead yet, but I would really love to do more acoustic stuff in my live show. I’ve been waiting for new music so I can make the most of it because my first two EP’s don’t really blend themselves into that sound except for a couple of songs.
I’m still planning out the structure of it. Performing is a very unnatural thing for me, but I’m slowing growing into it and getting more comfortable with it.
TB: Have you ever thought about adding a drummer or more guitarists into the show to interpolate and grow the different sounds?
M: For the last tour my manager was encouraging me to add a drummer but my voice is so quiet that I honestly even have issues hearing myself. So I think if we added a drummer it would be hard for me to pitch as I wouldn’t be able to hear myself.
I also love having an empty stage. I think a lot of rappers have that stage plan where it’s just the DJ and a empty stage, but I love that. It’s so free. Eventually it would be really cool to have a band but I just don’t know if it’s necessary yet.
TB: With these recent run of shows since the release of ‘In The Sky’ in particular, you’ve created a very euphoric, reflective and safe space in your live shows. What do you think it is about your connection with your fans that ables this comfortable and appreciative feeing to be established?
M: I honestly don’t know! But I guess because my music is very honest then the crowd I attract is a very gentle and good hearted group of people. Maybe if they connect to it then they are similar to me and very loving and gentle. That sounds really funny to say out loud but that is how I feel.
TB: Your fans are so passionate with every show on your recent Australian tours selling out very quickly. So when you look out and see these at capacity crowds, what has been one of the strangest/weirdest or coolest things you’ve seen?
M: Strange things are always happening *laughs*. It’s her to narrow it down to just one. but the moments that really stand out to me are the ones where the whole crowd sings together. When people sing so loud that I can just stand back and watch them, that’s the best feeling and the moments that stand out to me.
Especially when I played ‘Make Time’. that would sometimes nearly reduce me to tears. That song was my little baby for a long time. I didn’t think that many people had even heard it and then playing it on the last tour I was so blown away. I would always talk it down before I played it as I didn’t know how to introduce it and then people would just go crazy and throw flowers at me during it.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind…
M: Let’s do it!
TB: My go to road trip song is…
M: ‘Want You Back’ by Jackson 5!
TB: If my dog Charlie was a human, his job would be…
M: A childcare worker
TB: The emoji that best describes my new EP ‘Driving Music’ is…
M: The red race car
TB: Pineapple on Pizza is…
TB: If I could get groceries with any person it would be…
M: My family all together
Driving Music is out on Friday 6 September
Launch Parties & Signings
Thursday September 5 – The Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
Friday September 6 – M2 Gallery, Sydney
Sunday September 8 – BSide Gallery, Melbourne
*All events free and all ages