Track x Track: Asha Jefferies - 'Ego Ride'

Track x Track: Asha Jefferies - 'Ego Ride'

Meanjin/Brisbane-based singer-songwriter on the rise takes us through her highly anticipated debut album, track by track

Image credit: Cody Wood

After a steady stream of stunning singles released over the last year and a half or so, Asha Jefferies’ eagerly awaited debut album Ego Ride is finally here, but it’s not Asha’s first rodeo. A staple of the Brisbane live scene, Jefferies has shared stages with the likes of Julia Jacklin and Lord Huron and also played a number of big festivals including BIGSOUND and Bluesfest.

Already with two EPs under her belt (that have seen her win a Queensland Music Award and nominations for both Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition and the International Songwriting Competition), Asha has channelled her experiences into the 10 tracks that make up Ego Ride.

An upbeat and emotional album of engrossing indie pop, Asha once again teamed up with long-term collaborator Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music) at Prawn Records in the inner north of Brisbane to bring Ego Ride to life.

The album’s title comes from a place of enviable self-awareness, with Jefferies stating “Looking back, I realised that a lot of the narratives throughout the album are tied to my ego - whether that’s moments where I felt on top of the world or totally crumbled.”

To celebrate the release of Ego Ride, Asha was kind enough to take us through her debut album, track by track:

Stranger

Stranger opens up the album channelling a built up question - how are you to know and share yourself with someone if you’re never being given the space to explore or question it? The song speaks to being lost and trapped inside of a relationship and tackles themes around codependency, identity, voice and desire for freedom.

Keep My Shit Together

This song was written one hot and sweaty day on my piano in December. I was feeling stuck and existential which inspired me to make fun of myself. The goal was to bring lightness to hot and heavy stressful feelings around Christmas time. We recorded this in mid-December 2022, aircon cranking and all in organised matching white tank tops.

Baby Don’t Fight It

Baby Don’t Fight It was the first song we recorded with Sam back in December 2021. I remember pinching myself driving to the studio with Kaleah (drummer), having listened to Ball Park Music since I was a young teen. The day in the studio was so effortless and magical, I think we all knew there’d be more of it to come. This song has a pretty stripped back band arrangement which speaks to the song’s story - it’s about accepting the light and dark parts of a relationship and not fighting any emotion that comes up. I’d like to see it as a really sad birthday card in song format, missing, hating and celebrating someone all at the same time.

Golden Hour

This was the first song I wrote for the album in September 2021! It feels like a lifetime ago, where I was writing just to make sense of heartbreak and life changing so rapidly. I remember showing it to Sam when I came into the studio by myself to talk about making an album. It always felt like a half-written, oddly structured song until the band put new life into it. My favourite section will always be the free, open-falling outro where the song finally gets its relief and closure of having to let go of the past.

Tank Tops

I could write what Tank Tops is about forever. It’s a song that means so many things to me - it’s personal, it’s about my identity and the community around me. It’s a song about entering a new phase in my life and how my queer identity has taught me to love.

Spinning

I’ve never written a song like Spinning before and it is so special to me. It is hopeful and tender and attempts to showcase the gratitude I have for my life, hopefully in a not-too-cheesy kind of way. I remember playing on the piano after a band rehearsal at Prawn Studio by myself one night in May 2022. Alone at the studio where we were making the album, it gave me a moment to reflect on how stoked a younger version of myself would be if they saw me now. Time can feel so slow and stiff and then one day you wake up and you’re living a totally different life where you can feel heartache ending and love beginning.

Brand New Bitch

Brand New Bitch was inspired by Haley Blais’ lyricism in her song ‘Coolest Fucking Bitch In Town’. How tough but melancholic the song is feels almost humorous and I regularly feel the tug to become a better, newer version of myself.

Reply

I wrote this song during a thunderstorm in the shipping container I teach music lessons in. It sounded like a blizzard on the roof and I was reflecting on moments that I responded to too strongly or not strongly enough.

Cruise Control

To be in cruise control, is to ride steady and smoothly through the storms of rough climate, harsh roads, lame parties and undesired romantic gestures. It’s a phrase I have kept close, after a lesson learnt on testing my boundaries and finding the confidence to trust my gut. The body always wins and I’ve learnt to listen. I would rather feel safe within my body than have somebody like me and I would rather be myself than try to utilise a sense of false esteem. It’s a growing up type of anthem, cultivating comfort in my own skin and exercising what feels right and what doesn’t.

Ego Ride

Ego Ride was the last song I wrote for the album in March 2023. I had been saying the album was finished even though it didn’t feel like it. When I wrote it, it felt like the perfect wrap up song, tying all of the stories of the album together without meaning to. It speaks to self-doubt and being able to see when your ego is driving. Each time the song’s dynamics rise, it feels like I’m popping the bubble of a spiral and coming back into myself. Sam and I had so much fun adding a pulse to this song as well as the subtle vocoder, which really makes the song breathe.

          - Asha Jefferies, April 2024

Asha Jefferies' new album Ego Ride is out now via Nettwerk

01 Asha

Follow Asha Jefferies: Instagram / Facebook

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