RENDEZVOUS: A Quick Catch Up With Georgia Mulligan
"Usually after writing a song I realise there has been something there for a while that needed to be expressed. Whether it ends up being heard by other people or if it’s just something for myself, it’s a way of working through my thoughts and laying them out really clearly."
Sydney based singer-songwriter Georgia Mulligan has a voice that forces you to stop, listen in a little closer and feel a little somethin' somethin'. Her vocals have a unique vintage tone that provide a certain level of comfort or familiarity for the listener. It's heartfelt, warming and most certainly going places. We had a quick catch up with Mulligan to chat about her stunning single 'Any Given Day', the strength of the current Sydney folk community, her debut album (hopefully set for release late 2017) and more.
As always, please press play below before reading on.
There’s something very captivating about your voice, almost like you’re an old soul. Is that vintage sound something you’re conscious of when making music?
When I’m actually writing songs, not at all. I think I have a pretty ‘stream of consciousness’ type of process, whatever happens, happens, and that’s the song. I think though when you’re working with a really simple chord progression like this one (on Any Given Day) it makes the song feel ‘vintage’ - that’s what those pop songs from the 50s and 60s did, took a really simple bedding that felt right and then you’re able to do interesting things with the vocal melody. With this song it just flew together in a few hours, and when I took it to the band we just heard this walking bass line and simple drum beat that took it into that vintage realm. In the studio we used vintage ribbon mics and things too.
What’s the writing/recording process like for you - how do you turn an idea into an actual song?
Usually after writing a song I realise there has been something ‘there’ for a while that needed to be expressed. Whether it ends up being heard by other people or if it’s just something for myself, it’s a way of working through my thoughts and laying them out really clearly. I don’t know how other people write, but for me I feel like if I want to make something good then hiding or masking anything is not an option.
Your songs are quite personal and moving. Do you ever feel vulnerable because of that or is it more therapeutic?
You recently went to Western Australia to record some songs. How was that? Do you think it’s important to escape the city in order to keep things fresh?
Yeah it was good, we got a lot of work done but we were able to take it at our own pace. When you record in the city it’s usually just for a small amount of time, carved out between work and other commitments, so it was different for me to have only the songs to focus on for a whole week.
If you could spend time making music anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
A lot of my favourite artists actually come from New Zealand’s South Island (Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid), but I think anywhere where there is a community of like-minded artists, great folk things happen. I’d also like to check out Austin, Texas, because lot of good stuff seems to congregate in the area - recent discoveries as well as a long tradition of folk, blues and singer/songwriter-driven music. My current favourites are Julia Lucille and Lomelda.
There a strong sense of community in Sydney, particularly amongst your folk-infused peers/pals. Do you find that motivating?
Yes for sure, knowing all these great talented people who are so supportive of each other’s projects has really kept me going. It’s been a real privilege having some great musicians in their own right play my music with me, and it’s an honour to be able to play in other people’s projects too!
What’s plans for the rest of 2017? Can we expect to hear more Georgia Mulligan releases this year?
I am currently in the process of recording my debut album with producer Ryan K. Brennan (Phantastic Ferniture, Julia Jacklin, Ainsley Farrell), hopefully it will be finished in the next few months and ready for release by late 2017.
Finally, you obviously have an ear for music. How do you go on the dance floor?
Let’s just say I’m definitely ok with dancing on my own.