Owl Eyes alter ego Brooke Addamo is many things to many people. She’s the voice behind the summer-light chorus in hip-hop favourite Illy’s single It Can Wait, which landed in 29th place in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100, and the face of Lenko’s Animal Sweaters line, launched in June. To some, her name will be familiar from the 2008 season of Australian Idol.
When Addamo steps on stage at the Northcote Social Club this Saturday and Sunday, however, it will be on her own merits. Launching her second EP as Owl Eyes – the fantasy-laden, synth-driven Raiders – Addamo will be kicking off her largest run of headline shows around the country and proving why she’s one of Melbourne’s most intriguing and relatable new performers.
The first of the NSC dates has already sold out, helped no doubt by the radio attention given to the EP’s sparkling title track. With a humble laugh, Addamo says she still feels a little odd whenever she hears it come on. “I still get really excited and giddy. I feel a bit disconnected, like it doesn’t feel like it’s you but it is,” she says from home, where she’s preparing for the tour. “It’s like, ‘Oh, that’s me!’ Because you’re in it all the time, you don’t realise that your music is getting out there, and then you see your name on a poster or hear yourself on the radio – it’s surreal that it’s me behind it.”
A moment of disbelief also came at this year’s Splendour in the Grass, where Addamo joined Illy to perform It Can Wait. Addamo and Alpine’s Phoebe Baker were wandering the artist bar when they spotted Devendra Banhart, who gave Owl Eyes her moniker via his song of the same name. “We saw him walking past and we sort of had this fan-girl moment – it’s kind of embarrassing – and we were like, ‘Should we go up to him or should we not? OK, we have to,’ and then we met him and he was lovely. I told him that my name was taken from his song and he was like, ‘Oh, that song belongs to you now’ – gosh, gosh, gosh! Obviously he’s beautiful, so it was really great.”
For the EP tour, a new band setup will bring the Owl Eyes sound closer to her spaced-out recorded work, including keys, synths and electronic drums. Lenko has lent its visual craft, with Addamo working with label head Dana Lenko on headpieces to wear onstage and on merch in the form of ‘Lenko loves Owl Eyes’ t-shirts.
As for what comes next, Addamo says she’s keen to head overseas to begin writing for an album. “I’d maybe like to write some of the album in the UK or Paris,” she says. “If not, I’ll start in Melbourne and maybe venture over there at some point next year.”
Owl Eyes launches the Raiders EP with Split Seconds at the Northcote Social Club on Saturday August 20 (sold out, also with Love Migrate) and Sunday August 21 (also with The Townhouses).