E^ST’s debut album ‘I’m Doing It’ is a surprisingly comforting collection of songs that embraces the process of heartbreak and self-healing. Following in the footsteps of Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’, this body of work captures that raw emotional intensity in the most beautiful and understanding way as she finds hope within the darkness.
Teasing the direction of the record through the lead singles ‘Flight Path’, ‘Fresh Out Of Love’, ‘Talk Deep’, ‘Maybe It’s Me’ and ‘ I Wanna Be Here’, she’s built a sonic that is so empowering, bold and uniquely hers.
From the release of her EP’s ‘Old Age’, ‘The Alley’, ‘Get Money’ and ‘Life Ain’t Always Roses’, she’s progressively grown her artistic vision towards this really cohesive force to be reckoned with. And her fan base has rapidly grown with her as they sell out her headline shows and scream along to her lyrics passionately.
I recently chatted to E^ST about the cohesivity behind ‘I’m Doing It’ and the story of heartbreak and hope that she wanted to unravel through songs like ‘Found Somebody’, ‘Fit For Company’, ‘Turn’ and ‘Walking Home In The Rain’ with their fitting production and vulnerable lyrics. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut album ‘I’m Doing It’ is a collection of tracks that reflects on the collapse of a relationship and the personal journey that one goes on in its aftermath. Looking back on the album now as a body of work, does the record feel cathartic and empowering or does it still feel quite emotionally raw?
E^ST: I think going through a break up, that given enough time, you do normally get over it but I think there will always be lingering feelings of hurt, disappointment or sadness. Sometimes, those are things you carry with you for the rest of your life. So even though I’ve definitely moved on from that experience, it’s still kinda sad listening to where I was at in that time. I think that’s where the sadness comes in for me as I think “oh man, you went through that. You had to deal with all these emotions and feelings”.
It’s emotional in that way, but not in the way of relating to it anymore, which is really nice to have that separation now.
TB: The lyrics are very honest and you don’t shy away from just telling it as it is in the most candid way possible with excerpts like “I’ll just keep on trying everything now until I don’t wanna die, and I wanna be here” and “I can’t believe you found somebody. I can’t believe it wasn’t me”. Did you find it easy as a songwriter to let these truths pour out? Or was it something that you actively tried to channel?
E: I think naturally, I’m a super concise person as I try to say everything straight to the point. I grew up as a really shy kid around big personalities, so when you’re the shy quiet one, every chance you get to get a word in, you have to say it really quickly and to the point. I think that translated into my songwriting from a pretty early age.
TB: What would you say is the most vulnerable moment lyrically on the album for you?
E: That’s a hard one because there’s definitely a lot *laughs*. But I would say that ‘I’m Not Funny Anymore’ is probably the most vulnerable, not only lyrically, but also sonically, which is something I don’t usually lean into as I usually layer and hide the vulnerability with production. This is the only song on the album that doesn’t do that. It’s a piano ballad, so it really commits to being sad *laughs*.
I wrote that song a week before actually breaking up with that person, so it was written right in the thick of everything, and was the first real step to me realising that the relationship was going that way.
TB: ‘Fit For Company’ is the album’s intro, while ‘Turn’ then plays as a little interlude in the middle. So why did these tracks feel so important to build the album’s cohesiveness?
E: This album does have a larger story arc to it, and a journey that it goes on which is not something I planned when making the album, it just kinda happened that way. And then I realised that the first half of the album was really the first songs I wrote for the album, and were more of the heavy and sad songs that wallow in pity and sadness. But as I lived a little more life, grew a bit as a person and had more experiences, the songs started to change and started to take on a different tone of optimism, hope and acceptance.
‘Fit For Company’ was one of the first songs I had written for the album. I wrote it in my bedroom on Garage Band. When I was thinking of the tracklisting I was like “this is probably the most depressing song, so let’s put that one first *laughs*”. And then I realised that shift in tone, so I wanted to write a song that signalled that shift so I wrote ‘Turn’ intentionally to mark that point where things turned around.
TB: ‘Found Somebody’ is a song that immediately stood out to me on the album as it details the moment you find out that your ex has moved on. Can you step us through the creative process behind this track?
E: Most of my songs are driven from the melody and the lyrics, and the sound of the song then builds around that, but with ‘Found Somebody’ it was actually the opposite. We created the sound of the song first, and it had this really bittersweet and sad feeling to it. I then wrote the chorus melody and mumbled the lyrics over the melody, and decided to roll with those lyrics that came naturally.
TB: What made you want to intentionally do this process in the opposite way than you normally do? Were you just playing around in the studio?
E: Yeah! Me and Jim Eliot started the album in Sydney, and then we had 5 or 6 weeks together later in Wales where we essentially spent every day in the studio. So I think we were just trying to push for ways to break out of our routine and were actively trying to approach it differently to see what would happen. So yeah, that song was a bit of an experimental day, but it turned out really beautiful.
TB: ‘No One With You’ brought back some serious nostalgia with late 90’s and early 2000’s pop-rock vibes. What was inspiring you sonically for this track?
E: Well this one was interesting because I started it on piano, and then I brought it to Jim and we realised that so much of the album was piano based *laughs*. We decided that we needed to break away from writing piano songs and try to fuck shit up.
We found that little synth which is now the bass sound for the song, and I think it just brought an atmosphere of fun to us that day. So we committed to being super wacky with the song and added a jarring guitar which was kinda out of tune, and it was almost like a domino effect from there as all of the other bits and pieces came together.
TB: There is a lot of beautiful imagery on this record and ‘Walking Home In The Rain’ is one that personally resonated with me as it hears you finding hope through music, and by just having a moment to yourself. So what was the song for you that personally helped shift your mindset in that said moment?
E: That’s such a good question! The song was ‘Virile’ by The Blaze. It’s one of my favourite songs as it’s so beautiful. It’s a slow build song, so it starts with just a beat and then by the end of the song it’s a soaring bittersweet moment.
The story behind ‘Walking Home In The Rain’ is exactly what happened. That night I was at a friends party and feeling so disconnected from everyone, and everything that was happening. It got too stifling to be there, so I had to leave. I missed my bus home, so it wasn’t a train, but I started walking home and it started to rain. I was like “oh man, this night couldn’t get any worse *laughs*”. I was so down! I had my headphones in, and only one was working at the time because the rain stopped one of the sides, which was totally my luck that night. But then this song came on and it just completely took me out of my own world, and I felt this wave of peace come down over me while walking home. It was honestly a really beautiful moment.
TB: ‘I Wanna Be Here’ is another one of those self-realisation moments, and the production is super interesting as there is a lot of innovative layering. How long did this track take to come together?
E: Well, we wrote this song in one day and had the plan with how the production was going to go. But once we had the production and recording process down, the mixing actually took a really long time. It took about 6 months to get it to the final version cause there really is a lot going on within moments, which means it’s hard to get the right balance.
The movement in the song is triggered by small things, so we had to really think about where we were going to add this click, or have this really quiet bass synth underneath everything. It was a really thought out song in the production, for sure.
TB: With the album nearly out, have you thought about how you want to represent it on the live stage?
E: To be honest I haven’t as performing live feels like such a far away dream. I
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions. You ready?
E: Let’s do it!
TB: The emoji that best describes my album ‘I’m Doing It’ is…
E: The sun behind the cloud!
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…
TB: My pre show pump song is…
E: I actually don’t have one as I’m the person that has a really quiet, don’t talk to me vibe before a show *laughs*.
TB: My pre show ritual involves…
E: Bubble warm ups, a bit of jumping around and then nervously and softly punching my band mates *laughs*.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
E: A vibe! I like it!
‘I’m Doing It’ is out now!