Groovin With Amy Shark
Ahead of Groovin The Moo 2023, we had a long overdue catch-up with Amy to chat about how she organises her life, tips for morale & motivation, memories of her first GTM, how she plans her sets and more!
Image credit: Michelle Grace Hunder
Amy Shark seemingly never rests, as a quick news search of her name makes instantly clear. A judge on Australian Idol, looking after her nan, landing Rolling Stone & Marie Claire cover shoots, starring in commercials, getting Russell Crowe on-stage and more - all in the last few months. Oh yeah and she also dropped her latest single Only Wanna Be With You last October, ahead of a new as yet-to-be announced album, as well as teaming up with Sam Fischer for a new duet.
On top of all that, Amy’s on the line-up for Groovin The Moo 2023, alongside a stacked bill of both international and Australian artists (see below for full line-up and all details).
With the festival kicking off today (on the day of publishing), April 21 in Wayville, South Australia, we jumped on the line with Amy the day before!
Hello Amy, how are you going?
I’m good Will, how are you doing?
Yeah doing well, excited to chat with you - are you in Adelaide already?
I’m not, I leave tonight actually.
Classic last minute prep?
I know, I had an event on tonight that I have to play, and then I’m out of there.
You know what’s funny, I was tossing up whether or not to ask this as an opening question but based on what you’ve just said I think I will - how do you plan your life, Amy? And how do you do all the things you do, cos I’m exhausted just reading about it!
Yeah, it’s so easy because someone else does it. *laughs*
Two other people, or sometimes three that organize that, and I just have to make sure that I look okay, and my voice is still there, and I kind of know what I’m doing. But yeah, I ‘ve just got a really good team.
What about in terms of keeping up your morale and motivation and stuff, because as you say you’ve got a good team, but you’ve still gotta actually do all of the things!
I guess I’ve just learned a lot over the last five or six years on how to just keep the energy levels up. When I first started I was drinking a lot and eating shit and just getting used to a different lifestyle, because it’s also exciting not having a routine, you know, I came from a very pedestrian nine-to-five job. So when you don’t have that anymore it’s easy to go off the rails, but I’ve just learned over the last five years how to do it and how to maintain it - I just know what I’m doing now.
Well I did want to go back to a bit of that time where you know, in your own words, maybe you didn’t quite know what you were doing as much, cos I was having a bit of a read and I believe your first Groovin The Moo was back in 2016 - do you have memories of that first one?
Yeah, I was just touring the first EP - I played the whole EP Night Thinker from start to finish, and then I added in maybe Teenage Dirtbag… or maybe it was Superman, I used to do a mash-up of Eminem’s Superman. Might have been that. But yeah, that was early on, and it was such a big festival for me to get because you know, it’s an OG, one of the OG festivals we all aspire to play.
So what’s it been like going back to play, you’ve played a number of times now - I’m guessing each time you play you’re a bit later in the day, a bit of a bigger crowd?
Well, hopefully, but you never know. I think it all just comes down to the music and you’ve just got to make sure you’re putting out good stuff, and stuff that you’re proud and confident with. I really love my show, I love singing my songs - there’s never a song that I’ve released that I’m like “I just don’t want to play that today”, so it makes for a really fun time. Everytime I get to play anywhere regional - I just did a massive regional tour, so I’m pretty well versed in the crowds and I’m just pumped to play a festival in regional parts of Australia.
Which is exactly what you’re about to do! But I’m curious - I want to ask when it comes to kind of like, quality control of your studio recordings. Is that very much a factor of what gets released, like ‘am I going to enjoy playing this live in 10 years’ sort of thing?
Yeah, I’ve never really been one to worry about what it sounds like live, I’m always really just making sure the song is awesome. Only just very recently have I thought “oh, that’d be really cool live. Oh, how will I do that live?”, but I never used to, it was just about making the best song I could possibly make, no matter if it was going to be difficult to play live, or if there was going to be a sing along - I never really thought about that. I’m lucky in the songs I’ve done, without trying to, it feels like there’s some really great live moments in some songs, but it’s not really something that’s at the forefront of my mind wheen I’m in the studio… if that makes sense.
Yeah, absolutely makes sense! So you’ve got a bit more than one EP out these days and I’m just wondering when it comes to festivals, particularly Groovin The Moo, how do you plan your sets?
Well, it’s really fun, actually - we have to schedule it into the calendar, because my manager and I will have about four different arguments, and one of us will storm off, then we’ll come back and we’ll cut another song from the set that’s probably one I wanted, and then I’ll cut one that he wanted *laughs*
So it’s a few rounds of arguments, but we get it narrowed down because 45 minutes goes so quick! I’m used to 90 and like I said, I never write a song that I don’t like playing, so it’s a really, really tough thing to do.
Is there ever a moment of like, spontaneous, going off script with set lists? Like if someone yells something out or there’s ever a vibe that you should play something else?
I’ve never really been that type, even when I played at pubs and people yelled stuff out and I’m like “look, if it’s not in my little book here, you’re not getting it”. I’d like to have something that’s slick. Also, we play to a click so we’re all in time, but if anything goes down, like if shit gets crazy and a track goes down, or keys don’t work, I know that I’ve got my guitars there so I can just play and I’ve had to do that before - just play an old acoustic song. So I guess that’s really good, because I go out there fully confident knowing no matter what I can put on a show. The show will go on, I can pick up an acoustic and make something happen, so I think that’s what’s exciting about shows now - I don’t really get nervous.
That’s awesome. So yeah, GTM kicking off tomorrow in Adelaide - huge, huge line-up for this year’s tour, what are you looking forward to most as a punter, like any acts you want to see or towns you haven’t been to?
Yeah, I think I’ve been to every town before, but I agree with you, it’s an insane lineup. Obviously there’s Denzel. Teenage Joans have been on tour with me, so I’d love to catch-up with those girls. Barkaa a new female rapper that I’ve love to see. Slowly Slowly… like it’s so much. We’ve got the big Fat Boy Slim and stuff, but there’s so many good Australian acts playing this year, and I’m super excited.
Amazing. So I do want to quickly ask about any new music from you - I’m guessing you won’t be able to, but is there anything you can share about any upcoming singles or the album?
Oh absolutely not! *laughs*
But I’m obviously working on things, so it won’t be too much longer - I can’t say much else.
Exactly the answer I was expecting, but you know, don’t ask, don’t get! What about the recent collab with Sam Fischer?
Every now and then I hear a really good song, and he’s such a lovely person and both our teams go along really well. We’ve been looking for a song to do together for a while, and I love the simplicity of that song and I think he’s a just a great writer and a great singer, so I was happy when I he asked me to be on the track. I didn’t really have to do much, the song was written and I sort of could relate to the lyrics so it was a fun little thing to do. I like being random when opportunity comes, sort of like Australian Idol and those sorts of things, like the weird things that come your way and you’ve got to know what opportunities to take.
For sure, and I’m sure fans will be happy to having something new with you on it! Awesome, thanks so much, Amy - was great to chat and I hope GTM is amazing.
GROOVIN THE MOO 2023 LINE UP:
BALL PARK MUSIC
DENZEL CURRY (USA)
ELIZA ROSE (UK)
FATBOY SLIM (UK)
NOTHING BUT THIEVES (UK)
SOPHIE MAY (UK)
TEEN JESUS & THE JEAN TEASERS
Plus triple j Unearthed & Fresh Produce artists
* = Excludes Bunbury
^ = Bunbury Only
GROOVIN THE MOO 2023 TOUR DIARY
Friday 21 April (School Holidays)
Kaurna Country, Wayville, SA
Saturday 22 April
Wonnarua Country, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 23 April
Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC)
Ngambri and Ngunnawal Country, Mitchell, ACT
Saturday 29 April
Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Showgrounds
Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Bendigo, VIC
Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 30 April (Long Weekend)
Kawana Sports Western Precinct
Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Country, Warana, QLD
Saturday 6 May
Wardandi Noongar Country, Bunbury, WA
Head to www.gtm.net.au for all info + tickets