Track x Track: Georgia Mulligan - Nothing Wrong
Sydney-based indie-folk-rocker talks us through her highly anticipated & extremely impressive debut full-length, track by track
Following on from two well-received EPs, a recent National Live Music Award nomination and several years in the making, Georgia Mulligan’s debut album of entrancing alt-folk and indie-rock sounds, Nothing Wrong, has finally been released to the world.
Across nine tracks, Nothing Wrong showcases Mulligan’s diversity with some big, hands in the air rocking out moments complemented by more mellow, stripped back lo-fi folk numbers, resulting in an album of far ranging sounds with a satisfying sense of progression while still maintaining a cohesive feel.
Working with producer/engineer Blain Cunneen (Julia Jacklin, Beryl, William Crighton), the album features singles Paper, Omissions and Disentegrate.
To celebrate the release of Nothing Wrong, Georgia was kind enough to take us through it track by track - have a listen and get to know!
Most of these songs were written in a time of great upheaval - demoing though the first lockdown as a means to process the end of a relationship, grieving even while falling in love all over again. Perhaps the cycle of Saturn's return - suddenly there was this indescribable feeling of everything, all at once being turned up at full volume - love, joy, fear, self-hatred, self-compassion.
When we finally started work on recording, it was the second half of 2021 and I'd already had an album's worth of songs sitting in my head for over a year. I had been focusing on recovery from a period of pretty hectic mental illness, and coming out the other side I was finding that it had severely affected my physical and mental stamina. It had been an absolute shocker of a time for us all in different ways, and I was lucky enough that the band and Blain were so nurturing, open and willing to make the rock happen on a shoestring budget.
When I first approached Blain to start some recording, Disintegrate was the song we started with. This one is about falling in love and falling apart and resisting all the way. It's funny how a song can arrive and show you how vulnerable you really are, especially when you're trying to cover it up. It started as a 90s-teenage-film-soundtrack-demo and now it's crisp and big and bold and just as teenaged.
Glass starts out as a tender lullaby that reaches a slightly overwhelming crescendo. It was written while processing the crushing hugeness of an infatuation that might be turning into a real love. It’s about resolving to lean in ("hollow out my skin/let your light shine in") whilst keeping both yourself and the other person safe from the perceived danger of this intense feeling ("don’t let me hold you too tightly/or take your spirit lightly"). I think I had a lot of fear of losing myself at this time, so this song is a way of acknowledging the bravery it takes to honour the wisdom (or un-wisdom) of the heart and to allow ourselves to open to something new.
This song arrived all at once one day, as I sat at the end of my new bed, in my new room, in my new sharehouse, at the start of a new year whose birth had been marked by painful change. I had left another life and started again. It is about craving space, craving silence, craving to know what the ‘right thing to do’ is in all the noise of obligation, as life continues to roll on despite our private cataclysms. This song is to be sung in search of oneself. I am still singing it out, still looking and listening for who might show up.
This song is like a conversation between different parts of myself. I found myself becoming obsessed with cycles - human cycles of truth and lies, spirals and repetitions in nature and in our tiny brains and hearts ("All the spirals and repetitions/The little lies in those omissions"). It's a bit of a scrapbook song - a canvas on which you pull out all the different elements of an idea and try to look at them to understand more. I've spent a long time trying to make some parts of myself disappear. Laying them out makes them all equal, all beautiful.
This is like a backwards love song - it’s about a deep knowing that the most loving thing to do for both yourself and the other person was to part ways. It is not in conflict with itself, as many of the other songs in this collection are. It is heavy with hindsight and with love.
Paper is a tight rock song full of big messy feelings. It is about those moments when you realise that you are steering yourself through something that will change you. Paper is a song for my mother. Paper is a song for my mothers. For the people who I have learned from. For aunties, sisters and chosen family. Paper is a song about trying to forgive the people that raised you. It is a promise, or a new oath to take - I forgive what I can, I cherish what I have.
This song is a document of a threshold (you walk me home/but where is home, now?). A moment of unreadiness for the intensity of new desire conflicting with the drive to be seen, to seize life again after a period of feeling disconnected and alone. It is a song for the quiet risk-takers.
It’s a freak-folk freak-out internalised shame anthem. It’s about the horror movie of being taken the wrong way, the beat-down of thoughts that swirl and scream that you’ve done it all wrong, missed the mark, you’ve caused nothing but hurt and deserve no mercy. The layers of double-bass, synths, banjo, percussion and vocals play out the battle between the darkness and the little voice that pipes up in protest ("Although I can tell myself I’ve done nothing wrong"). Working on believing the little voice more often these days.
The oldest song on the album, it almost didn’t make it on but I am so glad it did, it belongs here. It is contentment, home, connection. It is about the ephemerality of these moments of peace between the waves (“Like water on a dry day/our little orbs are bursting on the path/one day will they all evaporate?/and how soon?/ and if I may, can I wait here with you?”).
- Georgia Mulligan, November 2023