We are two hours out from Eliza Hull’s first band show in three years. It’s a Friday night in April at much loved Melbourne venue Some Velvet Morning. With drinks in hand, we opt for a seat out the back as the bar starts to fill up.
As she reflects on her upcoming show, today also marks her first release in three years. “The other day, I said to myself, it’s been three years since I last released music. And for one second, I was like, why? And then I looked down at my daughter, and was like oh yeah, because I have a three year old.”
“It’s a scary process releasing songs,” she tells me, before reciting what went through her mind in the lead up, “Does anyone still care? Should I do music? Is this for me?” We talk about the waves of working in music – the success, the failures and managing expectations. “I have come to the decision that’s it not about anything else but releasing music because I absolutely love it, and it brings such joy. It’s a bonus if people connect with it.”
Having received support from Creative Victoria and Australia Council to make a new record, Eliza contemplated the sound and approach. The decision to move away from electronic music seems to have renewed her control, and rekindled the creative spark. “It was growing up a bit, asking myself who actually am I? And what music do I really want to create?” She cites Janis Joplin, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos and Bat For Lashes as influences and the desire to make genuine, and authentic music.
Moving to Castlemaine has influenced her sound, and her songwriting. Eliza tells me ‘Going Soon’ details the impatience of an impending move, and ‘The Bridge’ features the lyrics “city’s not home anymore”. Without wanting to reveal every detail of the forthcoming EP, we talk about the importance of the first single. ‘Hard Way’ closes the chapter to her life in the city. It’s the last song before everything changed, all wrapped up in a catchy pop number.
The artwork also ties into the move from city to country life. The amazing clay creations are by artist Ann Ferguson, and Eliza hints that with each new single the artwork will differ slightly.
When talking about Castlemaine, it’s evident there’s a great sense of community. “I’ve loved living in Castlemaine, it’s kinda like Melbourne northside but slower. There’s no traffic, there’s constantly music playing in the street and in venues. There’s still a buzz, and an energy, but it’s a lot slower in nature.” She goes on to tell me about her favourite local artists (Felicity Cripps, D.D Dumbo) and venues (The Bridge, Theatre Royal, and The Diggers Store).
As the interview draws to a close, I comment on how great it is to reconnect after all these years, and to finally have new music from her. She smiles, remembering something “Someone actually wrote to me today saying I empowered them. And I’m like, that’s enough. That’s what it’s all about.”
An hour or so later, Eliza takes to the stage with her four piece band. The venue is packed full, I struggle to get a glimpse of her. But when I do I see Eliza has a huge smile across her face, she’s in her element and loving every minute of it.
Friday June 22 – Rare Finds at The Penny Black, Melbourne
Saturday June 23 – Rare Finds at OAF Gallery, Sydney
Cover photo by Michelle Grace Hunder.