We take you inside our favourite new albums with the artists who made them. Today we're sitting down with Melbourne-based folk-pop singer-songwriter, Elsie Lange
Alice Springs and Melbourne are different in almost every way. That struggle and confusion, between the natural wonders and spirited-yet-remote upbringing in the outback versus city living so very far from home, is something folk-pop singer-songwriter, Elsie Lange explores on her breakout single ‘Adelaide’.
There is a warmth that runs through all of her music, like the feeling of nostalgia that comes from hearing a record player’s needle slide across vinyl, while her rich, velvety voice and twinkling melodies feel as familiar as sitting with an old friend.
You’ll uncover all this and more when you dive into her debut EP Talk To Me. Across its five tracks, Lange explores love and loss, belonging and isolation, and all the complexities of being a woman. Whether light-hearted or heavy-hitting, Lange’s wistful storytelling will have you swept away in no time.
While this might be the first time she is showcasing her solo music, Lange is no stranger to Australian stages. As well as fronting garage-pop band pting and performing live alongside Elizabeth, Lange was also part of long-lost punk group LVIV – but on her solo debut, we get to know a whole new, more vulnerable, side of her.
Taking influence from the likes of Nick Cave and Sharon Van Etten, we are thrilled that Lange has now given us more of her solo work with Talk To Me.
In the lead up to the release of her debut record, we sat down with Elsie Lange to chat all things Talk To Me and get to know her better.
The Elsie Lange Story
From the beginning
Elsie Lange – “I started piano lessons when I was six or seven in Alice Springs, with a music teacher called Tashka who had a pet owl called Xing. It was magical. Our family is pretty musical and my mum is an incredible songwriter, so I always looked up to her in that way.
“I picked up the guitar when I was 11 or 12 and it was liberating. I remember wanting to learn every goofy Beatles song at once. I suppose the goal was to be able to be a part of the big family singalongs around the piano on Christmas day – singing ‘Satellite of Love’ or ‘How to Make Gravy’.”
What you’ll hear
Elsie Lange – “I don’t think I have a cohesive ‘sound’ across all my music. But I suppose there’s always a pop or rock or folk element. I think my sound is always pushed forward by the melodies I’m singing, and I’m generally playing guitar. I’m not sure how I came to it, I think I’ve just been moulded by the sounds and songs I’ve always found beautiful.”
Influences & inspirations
Elsie Lange – “I’d say the biggest inspiration in my life, musically, is my mum. But it’s also my brother, my cousins, and the music we grew up with. I love that classic folk, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but then I also love Bjork and Nick Cave and Nina Simone. I love Elizabeth, Sharon van Etten, Total Control, and The Peep Tempel. There’s so many. I also find after I read books I get really inspired to write. The last book I read that did this was Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch. One song on the EP, ‘Vessel’, was inspired in parts by a short story in a Raymond Carver collection.”
Inside the creative process
Elsie Lange – “The creative process for Talk to Me took a while. It was beautiful, though. I wrote the songs over about the course of a year, some were cut that were even older. Over a few months I’d roll up to my producer Calum Newton’s (Candy) house and we’d record the next bit. We’d laugh a lot and I was very lucky to have Dan Oke (Jarrow) lay down the drums. The process was so collaborative. Every idea was like a breakthrough, we’d have fun layering and layering and layering. I went in with pretty low confidence in myself and in my music, but I came out feeling proud of something. That’s wild for me.”
Tell us the story
Elsie Lange – “The record is centred around growth, recognising what’s passed and grappling with those parts of yourself that are hard to look at. It grew from loss, mostly, love lost or naivety lost. Maybe a former sense of self lost. The songs grew from ideas, little insecurities or truths I needed to write out, sometimes just big feelings that don’t have any other place except for inside a song. So I suppose the record grew out of chords and parts that moved me and brought those lyrics out.”
Down memory lane
Elsie Lange – “I remember one day when Cal and I decided to record all the noise for the song ‘Talk To Me’. I said I wanted it angry and big, like the end of that great song ‘You Let My Tyres Down’ by Tropical Fuck Storm. But I wanted to try and channel a bit of Julia Jacklin too. So we found this medium place together and giggled throughout.”
Elsie Lange – “When I was sixteen, I played a gig with my band in the Alice Springs Public Library. Also, supporting Blake Scott for some of his solo shows. That was magic for me.”
Overcoming struggle town
Elsie Lange – “Building up the self-confidence to make this record and to invest the time and love into it that I needed to. After playing in bands for a few years, I found it easier to hide behind being a bit of a ratbag or a silly-billy, so becoming comfortable enough to be vulnerable and get these songs right was hard but important.”
For the love of music
Elsie Lange – “I love that sometimes I hate it but I need it all the same. I love that I’ll read something or see something special and know what I want to do with it later, like a secret for myself. I love playing a surprising chord, or making a mistake, and then enjoying it and working a song around it.”
Say it in a sentence
Elsie Lange – Talk To Me is…”little songs, big feelings.”
Elsie Lange – Talk To Me
“I remember playing this song acoustically to someone, singing the chorus ‘talk to me, talk to me, talk to me’ really loud and feeling good about it. They said ‘sounds pretty desperate haha’”
Elsie Lange – Vertigo
“The opening lines of this song are ‘this is not a breakup song,’ but my friend Ben something along the lines of ‘well, it sounds like one.’”
Elsie Lange – Vessel
“Sometimes I cry when I play this song live because I’m a big sook.”
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