• Rubber Monkey

Interview with Artist Freyja

Hi! My name is Freyja. I am from Wellington and I recently put out my first solo single 'Qualified 2 Love'. I also play the drums in Wellington bands Sure Boy and King Fish who are pretty active on the live scene.

What have you been listening to lately?

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Elliott Smith, I think the weather getting a bit colder makes it perfect weather for his music. As well as Jessie Ware’s album “What's your Pleasure?.” Also just lots of Hana Vu, Twice, Okay Kaya, and Wet Leg.


How did you get into music?

I started learning the drums when I was about 9, for no particular reason that I can remember but I’m glad I did. I didn’t get super passionate about music until year 10 of high school. I took a class called musicianship which my high school offered, it was basically a more band-oriented music class. That class meant I formed my first band which was the catalyst for my interest in playing music as more than just a hobby.


What are your fondest musical childhood memories?

When I was younger I went to quite a few gigs with my mum and she would ask if I wanted to wait outside to see if we could see the band/artist that was playing, as it was something she and her friends used to do a lot as teenagers in the UK when they went to gigs. It was pretty exciting and I once got to say hello to Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys.


Tell us about your favourite or most memorable performance, project, song, cover etc that you have done in your career?

In January this year, my band Sure Boy got to open for The Beths at one of their San Fran shows. I’ve loved The Beths for a while and it was so awesome getting the opportunity and also having a good yarn with them. I would say it's been one of the highlights of my music career so far.


Are you collaborating with anyone at the moment? If so, who, and what are you working on?

I worked with Ben Gibbons when working on 'Qualified 2 Love', he’s such a great musician, producer, and all-around nice guy. It made the process so fun and easy. I am working with him again on a new single I am in the process of recording. We have a really good back and forth with ideas and I feel like we make some good stuff together!

Do you see yourself as more of a recording artist or a live artist, and why?

When it comes to my solo project the idea of playing it live is super daunting to me. I am no stranger to gigging as I’m in bands that are active in the live scene, however, I feel a lot more comfortable being behind the drum kit at gigs. It can get a lot scarier when I’m front and centre singing the words I wrote straight to people’s faces. It’s definitely a goal of mine to get a band together and perform live, I think I’ll just have to bite the bullet at some point. However, at this point in time, I exist as a mainly recording artist.


I hear you are primarily a drummer but also write on the guitar and voice? How do you feel that changes/guide your music-making decisions?

It is quite different! Drums, although very important in a song aren’t often the first thing you notice so it's a bit jarring knowing people pay much closer attention to the singing and lyrics. I find when I am writing the drum parts for my songs I want them to be interesting and for them to help further the song’s narrative rather than just being there for a beat.


What is art-pop and why does it appeal to you as an artist?

Art pop is a genre I found myself becoming obsessed with both in what I listen to and in the music I write. It is a subgenre of pop music that is influenced by the integration of high and low art and culture. Pop music can often be written off as mindless and profit-driven but art-pop walks the line of having inspiration from other art forms like cinema, fashion, literature, and fine art whilst still being pop music. I find it super interesting as I often draw inspiration from my favourite films or books I’ve read in my music. Also, a lot of my favourite artists such as Kate Bush, Björk, and Fiona Apple are considered art-pop artists.

What were your inspirations for your upcoming single? And can you tell us a little more about that - when will it be released, what can we expect?

My new single is called Cinder Block and I feel it is a bit darker than Qualified 2 Love. Cinder block is a kind of commentary on the feeling of going through life and not feeling any extreme emotions either positive or negative. Sometimes life is visceral and exciting or painful and intense but also sometimes it's not. Cinder Block is about grappling with the mundane monotony of life. I am hoping to get it out by June if all goes well and I’m excited to show some versatility with my songwriting.


Are there any musicians who inspire you?

I always say that Kate Bush is my number one inspiration. She really is the GOAT. Her contribution to pop music and art-pop in particular just is toooo good. Her songwriting, image, and music I’m just obsessed with.


Who are your musical influences within the NZ music scene?

There is so much amazing music coming out of Aotearoa, the likes of Bic Runga, The Beths, and Ladyhawke being the classics that I feel have influenced me, but even in the Wellington scene specifically, I love Soft Plastics, Recitals, Shannengeorgiapetersen, Sofia Machray, and Mystery Waitress. There are so many great artists active right now it's very inspiring.


What’s next for you? Any new songs, projects etc?

I’m basically just recording my new track, writing heaps, and playing a good amount of gigs now we are in orange light again! I’m just trying to keep busy and creative.

Check out more of Freyja's work here!