Premiere: Meet Rachel Maria Cox and their open and honest new single, Time
The Newcastle musician, who also founded Sad Grrrls Club, touches on diet culture and mental health in their touching new single.
If you've been reading Pilerats for a while, chances are you might've seen the name Rachel Maria Cox pop up. The Newcastle-based musician helped us tackle Australian music festival diversity last year and in the time since they've become one of our country's most exciting and influential newcomers, whether it's killing BIGSOUND, supporting Camp Cope, Ruby Fields, Alex Lahey and Ali Barter, or heading Sad Grrrls Club - a program which aims to promote gender diversity in the Australian music industry. After sharing their debut album Untidy Lines last year, today sees the return of Rachel Maria Cox with Time - a touching and honest single that as perfectly put by Cox themselves, sounds "as though the music of Courtney Barnett and Carly Rae Jepsen had a baby." Held down by a thick, indie-leaning instrumental rich with guitar melodies and punchy percussion, Time sees Cox's vocal really take a step up as it swerves in and out of the beat, sharing a significant and honest story through its lyrics.
"Time was written about coming back home from Perth last Christmas/New Years’ after coming back from visiting my sister," Cox says on the single, which arrives ahead of shows at Newcastle and Melbourne plus a slot at Mountain Sounds next year. "I was having a really difficult time, trying to find energy and motivation to push myself to keep going with my eating disorder recovery. I felt really isolated and trapped, really wondering if after around 7-ish years of having an ED, if this was going to be my whole life? It was a really tough time, and I had to do a lot of hard work with myself and my psych and had a lot of realisations in that sort of limbo end of year period thinking about realistically what I would have to do to stop this from defining the rest of my life. What I’m hoping people take away from this song is a sense of hope. To me, Time is a song that reminds me that there is both a lot of hope in my life for my recovery and that I have strong support in my family and my psychologist, and I hope that other people can find that reminder of hope and support in the song. I also hope that it inspires at least one other person to stop dieting to try and change their body."
Rachel Maria Cox is truly an artist on the come-up. They're already one of the most celebrated among the particularly budding Newcastle indie/rock scene and with singles like Time under their belt, it wouldn't surprise me to see this only continue and spread nationally. Dive into the song below, and get to know RMC a touch better underneath - it'll definitely get you up to speed if you're yet to acquaint yourself.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Rachel Maria Cox. I am non-binary and I’m from Newy and I sing pop songs about my feelings.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
I call it Emo-Pop. Musically I like to think of it as though the music of Courtney Barnett and Carly Rae Jepsen had a baby.
Can you tell us about your new single, Time?
Oooooh boy can I!
Put simply, Time is a song about mental health recovery. At the end of last year, I went to visit my sister in Perth. At the time I was at a bit of a turning point when it comes to my eating disorder recovery - I was ‘dieting’ and critical of my body and definitely a bit in denial about the necessity of giving that up altogether in order to fully recover. When I went to Perth, I got to see my sister, someone who has the attitude to food that I wish I could have - my sister eats intuitively and that includes eating plant-based because it aligns with her values about animals and the environment. I came back to Newcastle for that limbo period between Christmas and New Years. I was alone in the house and I struggled a lot with my own thoughts. It made me look at my life, and realise that if I wanted to not spend my entire adult life going back and forth between disordered eating patterns, I needed to give it up altogether - I discovered a body positive podcast and hearing people talk about having to accept that dieting is a form of disordered eating, and an unsustainable one at that, it really hit home for me that I needed to just accept my body for what it is.
I’m really excited to put Time out right now because recently it’s taken on a bit of an extra layer of meaning for me. It’s always been a hopeful song - a song about taking back your life from mental illness by escaping the denial of reality that we can all get caught in - and it’s a song that reminds me of the support that I have as well. I’m writing this right now from a psychiatric hospital. I recently had what I guess you’d call a mental breakdown, and I realised that I was in denial of the reality of a relationship ending, and I wasn’t letting myself feel that grief that I needed to feel. I think that Time reinforces to me the absolute necessity of what is called in DBT ‘radical acceptance’ - the idea that you have to take a good hard look at the reality of a situation and accept the way things are right now before you can do anything about changing that. I think all to often we can get caught up in ‘should’ thoughts about our life - “I should be thinner” or “I should be able to just get over being dumped”. Time is about getting rid of those ideas of what should be and accepting what is - it can be really scary to try and accept that maybe you’re just fine the way you are! Maybe it’s fine to weigh what you weigh and to look how you look and to cry all the time when you’re feeling sad!
Time is so important to me, and I am so excited to share it with other people, because I really want more people to accept the possibility that they too can be fine exactly how they are.
You’ve got a bunch of tour dates coming up – what can people expect from your live show if they’re yet to catch it?
Matching outfits, bad white person dancing, and a thorough ranking and analysis of Zac Efron Films from best to worst.
You’re the brain behind the v-great Sad Grrrls Club. Can you tell us what Sad Grrrls Club is, what you do with the project, and what’s to come from the project in the rest of 2018?
Sad Grrrls Club is me trying to push for diversity, safety and inclusivity in the music industry. I put on a thing called Sad Grrrls Fest, and I sometimes put out music as Sad Grrrls Club Records, and I’ve also started curating stages at other events under the name Not Just Grrrls, which is really exciting too! All our events either have a 50% female/non-binary/gender diverse to male ratio of total performers, or every act involved has at least one female, non-binary or gender diverse/transgender performer. We acknowledge that misogyny affects a lot of different people in the music industry in a lot of different ways, and we aim to combat that by putting on sick lineups within safer spaces.
For the rest of 2018 I’m focusing on some Not Just Grrrls events coming up - we have our stage at Not Fest in Melbourne on November 24th, and an event in Sydney in December TBA, as well as our Mountain Sounds Festival Stage in Feb next year, all of which I am super excited for!
In 2019 you can expect some more releases as well as the return of Sad Grrrls Fest so keep an eye out! Like us on Facebook or follow us on instagram (@SadGrrrlsClubAU) to stay in the loop.
What’s the rest of the year have in store for you?
Spending a bit more time looking after my mental health, as well as playing some shows, finishing some new songs and posting powerlifting videos to my Instagram story.
Where can we find more of your music?
Follow Rachel Maria Cox: FACEBOOK