When Ali Barter packed up and headed out to LA for some writing sessions in 2015, what met the Melbourne songwriter were some experiences that she would latch on to and embrace to the fullest. As she describes her latest trip to the United States (which resulted in the recording of current single “Far Away”), Barter already sounds ready to head back or just head back overseas in general. The travel bug always tends to bite hard, but when you’re over there aware that artistic inspiration could lay anywhere, once it hits, that feeling of being overseas and thriving is insatiable.
“It was a really good time for me to be by myself,” Barter admits. “I’ve always been with people or writing with people that I know and people whose opinions I care about. It’s great, but then when I was overseas, I didn’t have any of that and I didn’t know anybody. Nobody knew me and I would just rock up to a songwriting session and have no expectations. If we wrote a good song, then cool. If we didn’t write a good song, who cares? It was really freeing.”
“In America, I feel like you can go there and you can wear whatever you want and you can feel like it…I don’t know why that is; everything is larger than life there. Maybe I wouldn’t have written a song like “Far Away” in Australia, because I would’ve cared too much.”
Returning to Australia midway through 2015, Barter had no time to work back into any sort of home routine; with partner Oscar Dawson on the road with Holy Holy, Barter laughs remembering her first few weeks being back at home and how quickly she realised that musically, she wanted things to change.
“There’s definitely a comedown!” she says. “You come back to reality; I came back from America and my partner Oscar, who plays in Holy Holy, was on tour. I was thrown into schleppin’ around with the boys and it was a bit of a rude awakening! I was like, ‘I want to be doing my own thing again, I don’t want to be chasing around after you boys!’, even though I love them! It made me go, ‘Cool! I can do this by myself!’”
“Then it was more that I didn’t want to record in the same way. I came back and I was like, ‘I don’t want to record in that space and I don’t want to record like that. I want it to be really fly by the seat of your pants, rough, quick and not to be stressing about things too much’. It gave good perspective, to come back and go, ‘How was I doing it before?’ and then I’d have this cool break and come back to go, ‘Well, I don’t want to do it like that anymore and I don’t want to do it your way anymore, I want to do it this way’. It was a very positive thing in many ways, that trip overseas.”
While Barter’s been flexing that creative muscle in the studio recently, working on an album “Far Away” has us incredibly keen for, she’s also excitedly eyeing up the 2016 Laneway Festival. Fans in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will be able to see Barter perform alongside some amazing festival acts and it’s an opportunity Barter is ready to relish.
“I’ve just been having some meetings with Oscar, who will produce it, and Stephen Mowat, who will co-produce and mix it, about how that’s going to happen.” she says of where the album is at currently. “We’re going to do that through April/May, that’s the plan. I’ve got about 11 or 12 songs that are good to go and I want to write a bunch more. I’m going away for a month to India, so hopefully it will be coupled as being a break and also somewhere really cool, I’ll be inspired to write a bunch more songs. I’d really like to go back over to the States and do some more writing and just do that stuff again.”
“I’m very excited for Laneway,” she enthuses. “I’m excited to play on a big stage. The music keeps getting bigger and bigger and when we play little venues I just feel like, ‘I just want to break free on a big stage!’. I’m really excited to get to do that.”
Catch Ali at three of the five Laneway Festival shows, boldened below!
2016 ST JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
February 5th | Harts Mill, PORT ADELAIDE
February 6th | Brisbane Showgrounds, BRISBANE
February 7th | Sydney College of the Arts, SYDNEY
February 13th | Footscray Community Arts Centre, MELBOURNE
February 14th | Esplanade Reserve & West End, FREMANTLE