Interview: Looking backwards to move forwards with DJ/producer Tina Says
The WA producer reflects on a important past 12-18 months and her latest single, Real.
WA-based producer/DJ Tina Says has had a busy year - previously dropping singles Sweat and more recently With Me, it's been a period of not only professional growth, but personal. It's culminated in her final track for 2017 - Real feat. ZVNE and Mel Jackson - something bit different than the usual, darker, bassy house/tech stuff we've come to expect. The release is also a super collaborative one, involving not only friends ZVNE and Mel Jackson on the track itself, but designers and photographers to complete the whole package.
We sent her a few questions to find out a little more, and what she's got in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond:
The past year and some has been important for you both personally and professionally, let’s start with the latter – how’s the Tina Says project?
The Tina Says project is going really well - this year there has been a lot of growth behind the scenes! 2016 was full on, it's kind of where everything began to happen as I had my first national tour, eastern states festivals and I started to build my team. At the end of last year I lost a loved one to illness (among so many other chaotic life changing events), and I had to take a step back this year and just let the dust settle and get some normality back into my life.
As a result in 2017 I wanted to work on my mental health and personal life, and not being so hard on myself with my career, and as a result I actually ended up being able to able to focus on my project more clearly. I've really worked hard at my production skills and I have seriously written an excessive amount of tracks, and now I'm at the point where I really want to define my sound in the new year and start getting these gems out there.
How did that loss impact not just you personally, but also perhaps with the Tina Says project and music in general?
Personally - it made me stronger and I realised what my values were. I think when things like this happen at a younger age, it really throws you into the deep end as you're still finding the tools to get through day to day life, but from my support network and own strength it has actually made me a better person. Project wise - I just got more ambitious, because I have this outlet I can sink all my energy into. You get to a point creatively after learning for so long where your work actually becomes an outlet, a kind of comfort zone that you can get lost in. It was good for me to really hone my skills in this way.
You’ve just released a track with ZVNE and Mel Jackson, it’s a little different to your recent output, what were you going for with it?
I think it's so different and I didn't really have an angle with it. To be honest, I wrote this just after the above-mentioned period and I was just experimenting. At the time, ZVNE wanted to work together so I sent him a bunch of tracks and he vibed this one. He also asked what I was feeling at the time, so I was truthful and with everything that was going on said I felt isolated. Within hours he sent back those lyrics and I was blown away, he nailed the exact inner-rage and sadness I was feeling. Mel Jackson is my best friend who was there for me every step of the way and we always wanted to work together and when I showed her this track, she came up with the hook straight away.
This track was easy and came together well. Everyone that worked with me on this track, from the photos, to artwork, to mixing, were all my good friends which made this release even more special!
How important is it for you to be able to lean on not only people like ZVNE and Mel, but maybe other artists and industry people to help grow your career?
Collaboration is important in many ways; other artists can add a flavour you might not be able to get on your own, and it's a chance to grow/learn and have fun creating with other people. Being in Perth makes it super hard as an artist - we are quite isolated here and getting shows over east means bigger fees so you really have to build a strong profile to get to that point. With this release, I really wanted to showcase the talent floating around Perth.
You’ve got a show in Sydney this week, what’s coming up after that/for 2018 and beyond?
Well I'm actually going to Japan in Jan so that'll be my first stop! I've got a pretty tight schedule of releases in the new year, and I have something a bit different launching early next year too which I am so excited about! So keep yours ears and eyes peeled :)
Follow Tina Says: FACEBOOK