The dreamy combination of atmospheric pop synths and heart on sleeve lyrics created by singer/songwriter Airling have been circulating through the airwaves a lot as of late, and thankfully the wait for new music is finally over. In the wake of her debut album, Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream I sat down to chat with the Brisbane based singer/songwriter, about killer collaborations, lyrical artistry, and taking her show on the road.
Congrats on your upcoming Debut – Hard to Sleep, Easy To Dream. How long has it been in the works for?
Thanks so much! It’s been in the making for a couple of years now, I think. We basically started working on it after my song “Stallin’” was finished. Initially, we set out to make a second EP, but I was writing so much that it became undeniable that this next release was going to be a full length album.
I really love the title, did it stem from any particular incident or experience?
It’s actually a lyric from the first track on the album called “I Am Just a Body”: So hard to sleep, but so easy to dream. So hard to fall asleep, but so easy to fall for your dreams.
I guess it sums up a part of my character, in that I’m a big dreamer, but I tend to struggle with day to day practicalities. I’ve realised this is something many people are resonating with as well.
Did you purposefully set out to write an album or was it a matter of pure creative process?
I’ve always wanted to make an album ever since I started falling in love with other artist’s albums when I was little. I wanted to create a journey with a full body of work and art. Now that I’ve had a taste of the first one, I can’t wait to make more.
Did you have any standout influences or inspirations for the album?
I’m constantly being influenced by new music and old music. I love James Blake, Sufjan Stevens, D’Angelo, Tracy Chapman, Erykah Badu and lots of current Australian like Big Scary, Julia Jacklin and Emma Louise.
Your lyrics are so incredibly intricate and personal, tell me a little bit about your writing processes.
I just write what I feel and what I know. I love language… lyrics, poems, books etc. I have thousands of notes in my phone and in my lyric books of ideas, quotes and poems so I’m always consciously and subconsciously drawing on these expressions.
What is it about song writing that really makes the process of communicating complex and often incredibly personal complications, easier than in general conversation?
I think it might be because it starts with yourself, with self-reflection and realisation. You dig into honest places that might be lying deep within and you can coat them with beauty, textures and metaphors. Then, you’re almost creating something bigger than yourself that might live forever, something that can last longer than in that moment, that pain or that love.
Where did you complete most of the initial writing for your debut record?
Most of it happens initially at home, on my piano and with my synths and beats. I like writing alone first, and then being able to breathe different life into those ideas by collaborating or changing things with my producers and friends.
“Give Me All You Got” is such a standout for me so far on the LP, can you tell me a little more about that track?
I guess it’s a reminder to myself, and hopefully to others, that love will make you fall, and it may let you down but to never stop loving as hard as you can. I believe you have to love and you have to give, and that you will hurt because of this but it’s worth it.
You’ve collaborated with a host of wonderful artists like Japanese Wallpaper and Xavier Dunn, will we see any other collaborations in the future?
Yeah, definitely. There are a couple of collabs on the album; one featuring Fractures, another one with Tom Lansek and as well a song that I wrote with Emma Louise. I love working with others and seeing the different colours that people bring out in one another. There’s nothing concrete planned for future collabs at this stage, but knowing me, I’m sure something will pop up soon.
You’re heading out on tour in May, what will the live experience of Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream, look like?
I’m playing my first headline shows in places like Adelaide and Fremantle, which I’m super excited about it. I’m going to play most of the songs off the album on this tour as well as some golden oldies. I’m also bringing along Jack Grace, whose music I lurrrrve. When I play, I love to be present, and my favourite shows are those when I walk away feeling connected to the humans in the room. I’m hoping that this tour will be a moving experience for myself and for the audience.
AIRLING TOUR DATES
Tickets via www.airling.net
May 19th | Jive Bar, ADELAIDE
May 20th | Babushka, PERTH
May 26th | Civic Underground, SYDNEY
May 27th | Black Bear Lodge, BRISBANE
May 28th | Black Bear Lodge, BRISBANE
June 3rd | Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE
June 4th | Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE