Premiere: Meet Perth's c.norris, who teams up with Lo for her debut single, Honey
As the drummer of Perth trio Tether, Caitlin Norris knows her way around striking indie. Now, she's showing that with a solo project.
Perth's Caitlin Norris is someone you might've seen on the live stage before, especially if you're a fan of local indie trio Tether. As Tether's drummer, Caitlin adds her percussive prowess to the group's rich indie-rock sound, which itself has become one of our recent favourites with its hazy and somewhat nostalgic blend of subtle alt-rock and forward-thinking pop. They even played our 8th Birthday party last year, as a testament to how the group have blossomed into one of our favourite emerging acts from the local scene in the last few years.
It makes us incredibly excited to therefor introduce Caitlin's solo project - the apt-titled c.norris - to the world today, with her debut solo single Honey premiering on Pilerats today ahead of its greater release on Wednesday, February 24th. It's an introductory moment to Caitlin as a solo musician and what she hopes c.norris will bring into the world, moving beyond the scope of Tether and exploring a sound that's a little more intimate and subtle, both melodically and in its lyricism.
In itself, that intimateness feels like a perfect introduction to Honey. It's stripped-back and tender, centring itself on this almost-acoustic wash of guitar and vocals that feels reminiscent of acts like Hayley Williams and Daughter; two acts that Caitlin takes a lot of influence from in her work (but we'll let her talk about that herself in a moment). There's a full-circle moment in the song's guest-featuring musician Lo too, who adds a gentle vocal section to the song after having Caitlin play as the drummer in the Lo live show (who, funnily enough, also played the same Pilerats Birthday lineup as Tether).
Back to Honey, it's a song that really features Caitlin in the spotlight, with c.norris giving the creative platform for her to showcase herself and her stories with full freedom - and that's something the c.norris project dives into head-first with its debut single. "Honey is about the end of a significant relationship, one you’ve been out of for a while," she says on the single. "It’s when you realise that things are different, no matter how badly you wish you could still be as close as you were. It’s sort of reckoning with this friendship you have now but being unable to process how you can go from one subtle extreme to another. It’s just longing, whether it’s platonic or not, it always hurts the same."
It's a wonderful, potent song that introduces c.norris as a strong force worth keeping an eye on in the year ahead, and you can see so for yourself as we premiere Honey below.
Tell us about yourself?
Hi. My name is Caitlin Norris but c.norris sounds slightly cooler. I’m a songwriter and producer from Perth and I play drums in a band called Tether. I wrote some songs over the summer and I’m releasing one of them in a few days.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
My music lately is leaning towards a more acoustic/alternative sound. Lots of guitars, keys and vocal production. I really love stripped and highly emotive and vulnerable pieces of music that lyrically hit home for me. I also love a bit of angst, whether that’s in the instrumentation or the lyricism. I am OBVIOUSLY not comparable to Hayley Williams, but her solo work and particularly her Flowers for Vases / Descansos album pretty much sums up the direction I’ve been heading in creatively. Thematically I’m all about the major relationships in my life.
Usually the worst parts of them, but sometimes not! I’m extremely blessed with the people I have in my life, but writing nice songs is harder than focusing on the darker side of things. So far, everything I’ve been writing has been from my perspective and about a specific relationship or two. It’s always about love and fear, and which one is winning.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I tend to start with either a piano chord progression or something on guitar and hop between the instruments until I feel something coming together. I never used to write lyrics on the spot but I’ve found that’s actually working better for me lately. Often I know there’s something going on in my life that I want to write about and I kind of sit with the feeling and play the progression until the melody starts to form. Sometimes words and phrases just pop up out of nowhere and I’ll go back to them to see if they spark anything else or if they’re actually just a bit shit.
With Honey, everything except the chorus was written to what I thought was going to be a different song, and then one evening I realised I was being particularly desperate about the same thing I’d been trying to write about, and then it was finished. Once there’s a structure start to finish we lay down a demo and whip out whatever sounds we think might work and play around. The vocal melody is pretty much always complete by the time I bring it to the vocalist and we work on harmonies and adlibs together.
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Honey?
Honey came together really effortlessly, especially the recording process. I wanted to write about my relationship with a person in my life based on pretty much one feeling I was experiencing. I really tried to pull it apart and think about when I’m in the depths of this, what does it say? The song lyrically feels so needy and a little bit self-pitying but that’s how I felt at the time.
Musically, I was super inspired by Hayley Williams’ releasing her acoustic version of her song Simmer. The rawness and the production of the acoustic guitar made me want to try and do the same thing. I think the nice thing about Honey being so sad and plainspoken is that it becomes applicable for a variety of situations and relationships. But mostly, it’s just me being a needy bitch.
What do you have planned for 2021?
I wrote several songs over the summer and recorded them with Lo, so I want to put those out too when the time feels right. Tether also has some new music coming out this year and some exciting shows to announce.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I think just what I take away from work that I love. Any sort of emotive response is the aim, or just comfort in the form of music. Feeling like you’ve found a song created for you, something that is talking either about you or to you and your current life experiences. I just want people to sink into it and feel everything. Sink into it like honey, perhaps.
Where can we find more of your music?
Well, this is my only solo song out right now, but more songs exist and I’m eager to put them into the world this year. In the meantime, as I mentioned I’m in a band called Tether with Molly Case and Codie Sundstrom (Molly’s vocals are actually featured on Honey) so you should definitely go listen to us if you like broody and dancy alternative rock. Lo has a whole EP out and some singles too, so if you love her vocals then there’s plenty more magic where that came from. I play drums in Tether and co-write our lyrics with Codie, and I play drums for Lo, so there’s plenty of goodness to check out.