Example is a global superstar who over the years has found himself relocating from the UK to Australia. His icon status is very much still in-tact with songs like ‘Changed The Way You Kiss Me’, ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’ still dominating in clubs and festival circuits alike.
With the release of his eighth studio album ‘We May Grow Old But We Never Grow Up’, the acclaimed singer, songwriter, and producer has steered back into that pop centred approach with earworm hooks and festival ready anthems. This is an album that reminds listeners why Example became a global superstar and a festival heavyweight in the first place.
I recently chatted to Example about the influence his time in Australia has had on his eighth studio album ‘We May Grow Old But We Never Grow Up’, explored industry politics and the importance of being able to create freely, and discussed the feeling of freedom that echoes throughout the record. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: You have had an incredible career so far, and often with success creativity can become more challenging. You seem to be doing the opposite and creatively reaching new heights. What stands out as your proudest moment creating your eighth studio album ‘We May Grow Old But We Never Grow Up’.
EXAMPLE: I find it really easy at the moment to create. I have done for the last few years actually. I think that whilst I really miss the UK scene and being surrounded by it every day when I lived in London, there is a certain freedom being away from it. The UK has birthed so many different genres, mainly from the beautiful clashes of culture over the years. I feel like I spent the majority of my life absorbing all of it – Jungle, Garage, Dubstep, Grime – now I live in Australia, and I am still very much influenced by all of the UK sounds. I’m just creating it all so far away from London that maybe there is less pressure and fewer distractions.
My favourite thing about this new album is all the voices on it. It’s the first time I’ve really worked properly with female artists being a huge part of my sound. I’ve worked with loads of females in terms of their projects but never for mine I was always the guy who sang the chorus and rapped the verses. So my proudest thing about this album is not just the amount of collaborations but the light being shone on up and coming female artists. ‘Playing In The Shadows’ in 2011 – that was all my voice. This album has 14 other voices on it and I think it’s better for it.
TB: Since moving to Australia there must have been a shift in the music you hear on the radio and the festivals you have played. Have you found many new influences?
E: I always tend to shift my vocal or melodic performance somewhat depending on the producer I’m with. The lyrical content has always been purely me and not shaped by any particular country or musical outlet. Having worked with What So Not, Lumberjack, Peking Duck, Set Mo, Lucy Lucy and Nicole Millar in the last few years since moving down under I guess you could say there is a certain “Aussie sound” present in these songs, Half of which are still yet to be released to the public.
TB: Thinking back to the early days of starting your own label, to being with majors, and now being with BMG; if you could change something about the music industry what would it be?
E: If I could change one thing about the music industry, it would be that all artists are treated fairly. Unfortunately that is like saying “all human beings should be treated equally”. We live in a world where there will always be greed, so I think my idea of a utopian music industry is impossible.
TB: On the back of that… what is your advice to young people who want to make a career for themselves in the industry given its constant evolution and new challenges?
E: I do think artists should try and do everything they can themselves. I like to run my own socials, do my own styling, and direct my videos, as well as obviously writing my own songs and putting together the visuals and sound for the live show. You don’t have to be able to do everything yourself, but it definitely helps. It’s not something that happens overnight. The best thing I’m discovering more recently though is that because of the advances in technology, particularly on phones, most young artists can not only produce music themselves, they can also edit and create visuals. This wasn’t really a thing when I started out 20 years ago. Everything was so expensive, and you couldn’t do it all yourself from one device in the palm of your hand.
TB: The things that stand out in the record is the freedom bouncing between all types of genres. Have you always had a similar creative process which allows you to be confident to do that, or have you refined it as you gained more experience?
E: It comes down to the fact that I’ve never felt like part of a scene. Even at school. I liked Grunge and I liked Jungle, and I liked Hip Hop and I liked Metal. So I’ve never felt like I owe anything to one scene in particular. Which in-turn has allowed me to jump ship freely between genres whenever I’ve wanted to. I’m always respectful of genres but always try to do my own spin on them. The more you create the more confident you become for sure. And I’ve written maybe 100 songs in the last few years, so my head is in a great place.
TB: Among the collaborators you had on this album, who surprised you the most?
E: There’s some globally recognised names on this album like What So Not, Tommy Trash and JME. So they didn’t really surprise me purely because I know how world class they are in how they create and deliver. Working with James Angus and Penny Ivy though was the real eyeopener. Because here are two Brisbane locals who are pretty much unknown entities, yet their talent and contributions to this album are world class. So that was a very pleasant surprise every time we stepped in the studio together. Which was a lot *laughs*.
TB: I’m only going to give you 3 words to answer this next question. What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music as an outlet?
E: Very very dull
TB: This album’s theme is youth. So what is your go-to hangover cure that has kept you keeping on?
E: Before you go to sleep have a pint of water with hydration sachets in there, two nurofen, and a decent pillow. If you’re not too drunk or high then some deep breaths in and out helps too. I haven’t had a hangover in years now
TB: Lastly, Australia has been your home for a couple years now. Is there any bucket list venues or shows you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
E: I really want to play the Sydney Opera House one day. I Have seen some amazing gigs there over the years. I’d also love to play at Falls Festival or Splendour too. It’s weird because I’ve played everything else but these festivals. Also, my Aus headline tour is 2023. So watch this space !
‘We May Grow Old But We Never Grow Up’ is out now!