Melbourne singer-songwriter Lucy Elle has recently released her stunning debut EP, Silent Side of Quiet. The EP is a collection of songs that have been drawn from Lucy’s experiences and track heartbreak, loss and disconnect.
Whilst the songs may have a common theme of sadness, there is a lightness and a soothing nature to them. I’m sure anyone that is going through a hard time will find solace here. The piano on the tracks beautifully compliments the vocals that draw vivid emotional images.
Of the songs on the album, Lucy writes: “Silent Side Of Quiet is a collection of sad songs. I have found nothing sits me down at the piano quite like grief does. It makes me reflect, blurs my vision, and then gives me perspective again. I used to say my songs know me better than I know myself. I find myself singing about things I didn’t know were going on in my head. They help me untangle the thoughts and process. These songs follow the process of loss, to regret, to gratitude, to acceptance and finding peace again. Quiet can mean too much, it is a spectrum. A lot of the grief process happens in the quiet places. When you walk away from a crowd or are falling asleep. When the world around you goes quiet, and you are alone just listening to your thoughts. But I’ve always thought this kind of quiet can be deafening. It takes time to sit and untangle the crossed wires and confusion of regret, pain, joy, love, aches, and nostalgic melancholy to finally find the peace of silence. It takes time and processing before we find silence in the quiet. They are ballads that echo the process of grief and I hope people can find solace and understanding in them.I hope these sad songs are balm rather than salt on wounds. I hope they help you find the silent side of quiet.”
The EP was recorded, produced, and mixed by Jono Steer (Ainslie Wills, Gretta Ray, Gordi and Angie McMahon).
Lucy has written for the AU, a track-by-track breakdown for the EP. So do press <Play> and have a read of the background to each of the tracks.
Track By Track – Silent Side of Quiet from Lucy Elle
I wrote “Already Gone” about the disconnect between physical and emotional presence. Living in the city, I spent a lot of time driving to see friends and the clicking indicators, humming engines, and flashing red and orange traffic lights were the backdrop to this time in my life.
I was changing a lot, and the people I’d once felt close to didn’t feel close anymore. The places I’d once called home felt strange and angry to me now.
I screamed “Already Gone” driving home one night. I had finally put into words the heartbreaking loneliness of losing friends that had once felt close; finally admitted that there was distance building between us. In some ways, it was me that was disconnecting in this time, and it took this song for me to admit it to myself.
It really was May 15th, and I was standing on the Queenscliff fisherman’s pier looking across at Swan Island and Fort Nepean. It was cold, and the sea & sky were grey and angry. It sounds like a love song, but I’d been fighting with my sister. To me, this song is the tension any love has, the choice to be honest and fight through the difficult days or stay silent and just cut connection.
I recorded “Silence” with my phone on the windowsill above the keyboard in my bedroom. The loudspeaker of the local school was going, and there were birds singing outside my window. It must have been mid-June 2020, and I was in lockdown. I loved that little recording and we ended up using it in the final song, because it felt honest, and this song is about being honest.
The outro is by far my favourite section we worked on. All the melodies and counter melodies so echo the endless complexities of voices in my head I’ve so often tried to untangle. Silence is the wielding of words to injure or restore connection. It is the untangling of thoughts and honest vulnerability of defying the silence. I hope it speaks to you like it speaks to me.
I wrote “Shadows” after class in a dark empty piano room the university cleaner left unlocked. It was pitch black inside, except for a small window in the corner of the room that let in the dusk-grey light. The motion sensor lights flickered on and off.
At the time I was mesmerised by the clean, structured melodies of Taylor Swift’s 1989, the dark breathy tones of Billie Eilish & the sweet harmonics of the Johnnyswim duo. “Shadows” grew from those rhythms and sounds, weaving in the warm acoustic piano and strange percussion into a moody alternative folk-pop song.
The next year I roped a few friends in and we recorded a demo in my living room. We threw a blanket over my parent’s old bright out-of-tune piano and put microphones on the pedals. I always wanted this song to have character, it was the most honest I’d been in a while. The same day we recorded various attempts at playing my sister’s violin. It sounded awful, but we used it in the demo anyway.
When I sent that demo to Jono, he sent me back a 15-second Mp3 of where he thought the song could go. When I got it, I sat on the stairs and screamed. He had brought the song to life; it sounded exactly like I’d heard it in my head. He’d made the out-of-tune violin and piano pedal cracks sound brilliant.
Recording with my friend & brilliant artist Jazure, it was easy to find a sweet warm acoustic piano sound that completed the song. Jaz added a sweet, acoustic element to “Shadows” & the stripped-back acoustic sound that felt true to the way I’d played it so often, on the piano in my parent’s living room.
“Shadows” is POP-y, electronic and alternative. But whenever I hear it I think I’ll always be back in the pitch-black university practise room, furiously confused about a boy that would never really mean as much to me as this song does. It has been a learning curve of my early twenties; finding my sound and my way in the flickering neon lights and fading peachy sky.
This song is about costly relationships, cold shoulders, precious regret, and fond memories.
It was one of those songs that wrote itself, in one take sitting down at my piano on an autumn afternoon. When I went to record my EP with Jono Steer (proudly funded by JobKeeper) we finished early and I sat down and sang the demo, finishing the bridge live. I loved it so much, we came back later to do a studio version, and Jono transformed the moody ballad into a bold alternative pop song.