ASTA LA VISTA
Tasmanian singer Asta speaks with Sally Coates about her Shine album and tour that will see her light up Cooly Hotel this weekend
It hasn’t been an easy ride since Asta won Triple J Unearthed High in 2012, with the fabled struggles of new-found fame proving to be very real. But now she’s back and better than ever.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard from you and now you’ve got this whole album ... can you fill us in on lost time?
I was in a headspace during that time of writing the record. I was quite down, feeling a bit lost and not sure of how things were going to work out. So I wanted to write a record that made me feel happy. Music definitely solves problems.
Do you think that had anything to do with being discovered so young? Did it complicate things?
It was an amazing thing to be discovered during high school, but it was also quite a lot to take in. I’ve managed to get a career out of it, which many amazing musicians aren’t lucky enough to have. But in saying that I didn’t know what I wanted to do or put out. I had to figure it out as I went along. I was in and out of song writing sessions, working with a lot of writers and producers in Sydney. It was a really good experience because I got to meet people and feel more in the music scene. But I never felt like anything was really me. It was always like “cool song” then nothing ever happened from it.
What was the turning point?
Basically I went back to a writer I worked with on Dynamite with Allday (2015). One of my girlfriends, Aurelia – I’d just had enough so I called her up and said “Let’s write again”. I got her to come into studio with a producer called Yeo, who I met quite recently, and that was really life-changing. I went down and met him in Melbourne and we wrote over a weekend and that’s how it happened. It was really a magical experience.
So what was the difference between that experience and what you’d been doing in Sydney?
When I heard his music I really liked it. I thought, “This guy’s really cool, I really like what he’s producing”. It felt good that I chose him instead of a record label organising collaborations. There was no pressure and I’m quite lucky to have done that, not to have a label or people tell me what songs to write. It was a really relaxed environment. It was fun and I think that shows.
So now it’s all done and you’re on tour. Has it worked? Are you feeling more yourself?
Writing with Yeo was a really euphoric feeling because everything felt so good, I felt back to myself. I’m glad I waited. I could have put songs out, like 50 songs, but all those songs probably would have died anyway. That’s what I like about this album – we’re not writing to follow a trend. Like with Shine, the single, it’s electronic but also has a lot of minimalist funk elements. I really care about this album and this music. I feel like I can connect to these songs and really have fun performing it every night.
Asta is performing at the Coolangatta Hotel on Sunday.
Tasmanian singer Asta has been rediscovering her music.