Childe director Jon Laurenson and singer/songwriter Mylee Grace have more in common than just their love of music... and more than their postcode too.
Both residing in the Northern Rivers, the two are old friends and have shared the odd road trip and moshpit session over the years, so it made sense that we would get the pair together to have a good, honest, heartfelt chat ahead of Mylee's new album release this week. The excitement around Mylee's first music release in 7 years is palpable from both sides of the interview, and we uncover the musings and memories that led to this colourful new body of work.
J: Someday Song is a beautiful track and I cant wait to hear the entire album ‘Whiplash in the Moshpit.’ How did you come up with the album name?
M: I was originally going to title the albumAny Road,however it’s one of the song titles and I didn’t want one particular track to seem more important than another. So I started thinking of lyric lines from the album… “Whiplash in the Moshpit" sprung to mind but I dismissed the idea originally. Then randomly my label friend BT also suggested the title “Whiplash In the Moshpit" out of nowhere! It seemed like a fluke and double confirmation that the title was destined to be that.
J: What is this new music about for you?
M: The album is essentially about the journey one goes on throughout a 7 year cycle. Some songs are older and I relate to them in a different way to the newer songs. There’s themes throughout the album relating to how much my friends and family mean to me, mental health, boundaries, personal growth and the concept of one's own navigational system.
J: How do you hope people connect or resonate with Someday Song?
M: I hope people get a feeling of calm and peace knowing they can be content in the moment they are in.
J: When you were a child I believe you loved performing on friends and families kitchen tables before school?
M: My mum always had a guitar nearby and would often encourage me to ‘bust out a number’ with her. I was extremely shy as a child but if I closed my eyes and tapped into a deep creative world I was only just making friends with I could sing my little heart out. Nothing’s changed really
J: What was your favourite song to perform back then?
M: “Can you feel the love tonight “ from the Lion King soundtrack
J: How and why did you first start playing a musical instrument? M: I was writing songs and singing them acapella before I knew how to play an instrument. Mum showed me some simple chords on the guitar and it seemed to make sense to strum along to what I was singing. I learned to play the drum kit around a similar time and I loved the physical side of playing drums and how it seemed to assist creative release in a different way to the guitar.
J: How has your songwriting evolved over time with raising your own family?M: I don’t write a lot of songs. They come out randomly and I view them as gift. I usually feel like writing when I have time and space. Time and space is a limited thing when you have a family so I find I'm often recording song ideas into my voice memos on the fly.
J: When I first met you you featured in a Goons of Doom video and then I remember you giving me a homemade CD album of your music on a road trip from Byron to Yamba when you were 17. I've still got the CD somewhere in the archives ☺ Your voice and songwriting was so impressive back then too. You have always delivered really feel good music that feels tuned into nature. Thank you for that!
A few years later you were busking through Europe with your Mum “Maria Stratton AKA “Panda” and partner Ozzie Wright. How have those experiences shaped your musical taste and direction?
M: The members of the Goons of Doom have always been influential to me and felt like family! The album I made at home with my mum and gave to you when I was 17 was actually spurred on because we wanted to make and sell merch at a house party at Ozzy’s house. It was a fundraiser for our mate ‘Killer Whale’ so he could buy a ticket to Europe to see his girlfriend, ha!
My mum and I played a live show at this party and we sold handmade CD’s to friends. The Album went on to get airtime on Sydney’s FBI when they first launched which we were pretty chuffed about.
J: It must be an amazing feeling of satisfaction releasing this new music after 7 years?
M: Yes! I've been driving my friends and family crazy saying I'm going to record an album for years and never do it! Finally at the start of 2020 I felt I was in a good space and had the support to execute it.
J: Who are some of your new inspirations?
M: I see a lot more women in music these days totally owning it, doing good for the world and singing about important issues. Someone who springs to mind is Jack River. She Gets amongst climate activism, puts on festivals and takes control of her own music brand gracefully with conviction.
J: If your band was a meal what would it be?
M: A Cheese board
J: Who features in your band on this album?
M: The most featured player on the album isSam Joseph (of Family Jordan) who plays an array of instruments on the record and also engineered, mixed and co produced the songs. Also, my talented mother Maria Stratton, Miles Myjavec (Babe Rainbow) and Fiona Franklin. Other guests include Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard) on flute for "Panda Jam", Molly Lewis (Whistling icon) on “Waste my time" and backing vocalists and hand clappers such as Ozzy Wrong, Paige Miller, Anna Feller, Jenifer Stenglein and Kellie Murphy
J: Can you tell us about the film clip for the Someday Song? Who produced and filmed the video
M: The film clip for Someday Song was directed and produced by close friend Loren Bradley. Loren is basically super human and gets more done in a day than anyone else I know. When she said "let’s make a film clip" I knew there was no backpedaling.
Shot by the awesome Ed Triglone (DOP), at the same location asSomeday Songwas written (our home just south of Byron Bay). We flew our friendKirsty Barros up from Sydney to style. Hair and makeup by Cassie Lapthorne. Movement direction by the wonderfulVanessa Marian (of Groove Therapy). The cast of friends and family and I are adorned in several emerging and established Australian designers, such asRomance Was Born, Ten Pieces, Loomes,Caroline Reznik, Nicol and Ford, Jarrod Reid, Karla Spetic and a handful of bright catsuits Kirsty Barros had custom made. We also had our friends Paige and Tory launch their catering company named Banana Catering. It was such a fun weekend of collaboration and feasting.
J: Congratulations on signing with Aussie label Love Police. How have they mentored or supported you through this process?
M: I've always been a fan of what Love Police have done in the past with their touring, festivals and merch company so to see them evolve and expand into a record label is awesome. It’s the first time I've been involved with a label and first time pressing to vinyl so it’s been great to have a team to coax me out of my hidey hole and collaborate with.
J: Who are some of your favourite bands and artists you are aligned with on with Love Police?
M: Love Police started their label a month ago and have already licensed some incredible music. The 1982 Warumpi band recording is awesome! It’s basically a live jam in their living room from when they first formed.
Also, Alex Hamilton from Melbourne has a beautiful album, Mellissa Carper with her early vintage/Americana feel has an amazing voice... Jump on the website to see the other artists. They are all great!
J: Do you have a tee shirt we can buy to support Aus music tee shirt day?
M: Yes! There’s some really old ones on there from the “Mylee Grace And Ozzy Wrong Songs" days plus a small run of new shirts for “Whiplash in the Moshpit“
J: When can we next see Mylee Grace perform live?
M: Ozzy Wrong is having an Art show in Byron Bay at ‘Yeah Nice’ Gallery on the 17th Of December. I’m hoping to get a band together and play on the night! Also, NYE at The Eltham!