Sarah Mary Chadwick is a prolific songwriter; her new release, Roses Always Die, is her fourth solo album in as many years. But listen to her music and she sounds in no hurry. Her laconic, smoky vocals are accompanied only by a slow-burning organ. These crystalline expressions of everyday anxieties are as surprisingly hooky as they are heartfelt.
For years Chadwick led the band Batrider, with Stephanie Crase (aka Summer Flake, who’s also her partner), and Julia McFarlane of Twerps. These days she prefers to hole up at home and write alone.
Broadsheet: What can you tell me about recording your new album? Was there any particular mood you wanted to capture?
Sarah Mary Chadwick: I didn’t put a lot of thought into the album as a whole as I was making it – usually I just write as much as I can until I have more than enough songs for a release, usually about 30 to 40. Then I just cull and choose from that. Recurring themes or content becomes apparent after writing them all.
I enjoy playing with songwriting, using tropes and repetition mixed with my own experience and idiosyncrasies. I want to write something that explains a feeling or predicament I experience as accurately and vividly as possible.
BS: Your lyrics feel very personal. Are they? What compels you to commit your thoughts to music?
SMC: I think part of it is to do with anxiety and spending a lot of time at home; I tend to be very productive because I need to do tasks. Also I find it difficult to speak clearly about myself in reality and songwriting is one of the only times I can speak honestly about what’s going on with me. I also have got into a good habit of doing it almost every day, which although might mean a lot of what I write is – maybe – crap [laughs], it always gives me plenty to choose from and I feel like it’s good for the brain cells.
BS: Who are your key influences/songwriting heroes?
SMC: Peter Jefferies, Carole King, John Lennon, Alastair Galbraith, Lana Del Rey, Nico, Elliott Smith, Pip Proud.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere?
SMC: I don’t ‘wanna support anyone, I ‘wanna do a show just by myself! Or I don’t mind supporting my mates’ bands cause then you get to have a party afterwards.
Roses Always Die is out now.
Melbourne: Northcote Social Club Thursday September 1
Sydney: Newtown Social Club Saturday September 3.
Brisbane: Trainspotters Saturday September 17.