Sunny Reyne x Lewis Moody

Sunny Reyne x Lewis Moody

Check out a super fun, in depth chat between Melbourne-based neo-soul vocalist Sunny and expat producer and keys player Lewis that shines a light on the twists and turns of creating an EP out of crafting a full album

We’ve been big fans of Sunny Reyne’s this year at Pilerats, with her singles Carefully and Insanity both impressing with their authentic feeling approach to modern soul and jazzy sounds. With her new EP Right Now out, well, right now, produced by now London-based Aussie expat Lewis Moody, we took the opportunity to get the two on the line to have a chat about this distinctive, engaging new collection of songs. 

The pair went on to have a free-flowing, vibe-filled conversation about the origins of the project, recording a full album before deciding to craft an EP, shouting out Allysha Joy, the beauty of imperfection as well as getting in depth with each track on the release - have a listen and read below!

Sunny’s responses are in italics 

Lewis’ responses are in bold

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So where do we want to start ? Like how we actually got into it originally

Yeah, the beginning maybe? 

The beginning, that was some time…

I contacted you!

Yeah, you contacted me and…?

I heard Used To This ages ago, maybe when you first put it out, and clocked it, it was cool. Then like, just before the pandemic, I was living in a warehouse in Dalston and I was thinking about music that I was interested in making and I was like “I remember Ollie’s girlfriend Sunny put out something that was pretty fresh”, and I looked it up and had a listen and I was like “yo, this is dank!”. Like how have I not been paying attention to this? Then I went looking for what else you’d been doing, and you hadn’t put anything else out since so I just cold dropped you a line, like completely out of nowhere. I was just like “hey, I don’t think we’ve met, but I like this. What are you working on, like, we should work on something together?”.

Then you responded positively and then from there I think I tried to big up myself as well, like sent you a bunch of records that I’d been working on *laughs* Then from there we tried to do something - I was meant to fly back in March 2020 but it all got pushed, obviously. So we were going to just do some writing sessions and then that didn't happen, so I said to you, like, just write ideas, for as long as you can, as many ideas as you can get. Then when I eventually did get back to Australia, still in the middle of the pandemic, then we got into the studio. But by that point, you decided you wanted to make like a whole body of work. So we went deep.

Yeah, I mean I guess it was that thing about, you’re coming from so far away for not a really long amount of time, so we may as well do like a whole album's worth of stuff. And it was gonna be like a bunch of different people, and then that lineup actually changed quite a bit as well.

Yeah, initially the idea was to do it with a bunch of the 30/70 collective crew, I think, originally, but then people weren’t in town or whatever. Do you want to talk about the fact that we made an album first?

Yeah, I was about to say, I think I’ve talked about that and other stuff before so yeah, what we ended up making wasn’t even what we’re putting out now. So we have that whole other album on the side, it’s like 9 tunes. So we did that, and then we kind of decided that we wanted to do something smaller to start with, which I think I’m actually really glad that was the choice in the end, because at the time it was kind of like “ah, now we’re gonna write more songs”. I think always, from my perspective, writing stuff doesn’t always come super quickly. I mean, I enjoy it a lot, but I think I have to actually dedicate time to writing something to make it work. 

Yeah, it’s like birthing a child, it’s impossible.

There are people who are just like, “yeah I’ll write a song, I’ll write like ten in one sitting”.

Is there?! Do those people exist?

*laughs* Well they tell me that happens, maybe that’s not what they really do. Yeah, maybe not, it takes time. So we did that and then I was like “okay, we’ve got to write more songs”. But it’s good, it was good having you on the other end because you’re like of like “gotta get it done”. Yeah, I love that, love that kinda push from someone else which is good because that’s why from the start I feel like we had that good, working kind of vibe, because I think I need that kind of person to push something along, and you were much into that.

Yeah that’s always been my kind of main producer strength, above all, like, I’ll just kind of make sure it actually gets done to a timeline. I’m not interested in sitting on a record for 18 months, it’s just like, you know, chipping away at something for 18 months drive me nuts. 

Yeah, and I think by that stage you start to hate it a little bit as well, and I guess that was my other thing - I was worried that I’d get sick of the album, putting out something small first, I think now I’ve just gotten to the point where I won’t really listen to those songs at the moment so that when we do go back to them, I’m ready.

It’s funny, I went back and listened to the record the other day, the full length, and was really stoked that it's like, really strong, like, still really stands up and it's really - it's very different. It's very different to the EP that just came out like, I don't know, in some ways, it's more kind of developed or something like, you know, it's almost like the record that's coming out now is almost a bit like “beat tapey”. It's like us in a room, it's really just made like with us three, there's not a lot of outside influence. You know, like the odd bit of bass tracking from Angus, but like, mainly, it's just like us toiling away in a bedroom, basically. Whereas the full length is a bit more like a full pre-production and a day in the studio and all that stuff.

Yeah, exactly. So they are actually super different. And we're not using live drums or much live instrumentation really at all. So we decided that we'd do the four songs, write those and kind of smashed them out. And then so most of it's done on Zoom, essentially, right? Like we didn't really do any of it together.

It was about a day per track, right, in Melbourne. And then out without any face to face - Insanity was done just from London. You sent me the sketch and then I wrote the beat and finished it by correspondence, right?

But we did like only little bits of each of them - nothing was fully formed, really, I don’t think? Especially To Blame, the last one, I think there was not a lot going on with that and we kind of fleshed it out a lot. 

Like, it’s a funny process writing your debut after your debut *laughs*. Like after you’ve written your debut so I felt we went into those sessions - like we had way more flow, it just kind of wrote itself because we'd already done nine tracks, we'd already done pre-production and tracking with a band and post production, vocal tracking - we’d mixed the whole record, it was all mixed, before we started the EP, so like, we just had like a working report. So when we actually went into work with Ollie for the record, who's playing keys on a bunch of stuff, and co-wrote some stuf with you, it was just like, really effortless actually. Because we'd already kind of worked through all the hurdles of like, understanding what each other likes and especially me as a producer, like knowing what you are into and reading whether you’re into something, like subjects and you say “yeah, that’s cool”, whether that’s actually cool *laughs*. You kno w, all that stuff.

Yeah, I think for sure, and because I think we did the album so quickly too, like we smashed that so fast, we figured that out very quickly to see like you said, when we did this, it was easy to do. And I think if we had done this EP first, to on Sep first, and had to do most of zoom, that would have been a lot harder

Oh, yeah, I'd say like it would not have got done in the same way at all, like, it would probably still be going, we'd probably still be working on it. You know, like, yeah, the fact that we had a little bit of face to FaceTime, I don't know, for me, like this whole process of working with you over the full length and the EP has really been trying to tap into a bit of an old school mindset of record making where like, you know, back in the day, they would make an album in a set period of time because everybody only had a certain gap in their diary to make an album, like, you know, whatever, Quincy Jones or Jam & Lewis, they can only afford to have a week in the studio with so and so artists. So it's like “cool, the record’s gonna be done in a week”. Like, there's none of this thing where we can come back six weeks later, and pick up where we left off. They used to do a little bit of that, but for the most part, the way records were made was like, everybody goes together, record a bunch of music, post produce it, mix it, send it off to mastering and that was it, and it's a quick process. I feel like I definitely came up in Melbourne making music that we made in bedrooms, so you could just keep chipping away at it. For months, you know, some of the first projects I produced took, like, two years from start to finish. And like, that's fine, it's really good to have that attention to detail and like, really a luxury, an absolute luxury.

But also, like, I think that what I've learned after doing that a bunch is that it really fucks you up in terms of the creative process, because like you say, by the time you get into the mixing it you're like, “I'm so sick of these songs, I want to throw them in the bin”, you know, and give up music altogether. So I kind of had that in mind, actually, when we started working together, like, I don't think I've voiced that to you, maybe, but I definitely had that in the back of my mind. Like, I want to do this in - I don't want to rush it, but I also want to do it without getting in our own way and like, make decisions and stick to them. Then sure three months later if we really hate those decisions - like a couple of tracks on the album, we've completely reworked, right, it's like we made decisions and then I literally deleted all the tracking and rebuilt the beat up to your vocal or whatever, you know, like, that's fine, it's good.

It's all part of the process, we're always open to that. But I definitely went in with the mindset of like, “cool, we want to make this happen in an organic, timely way, that's not going to get stale”. And I think the EP very much was that process as well. It's like, “cool, we only have three days face to face, we got to try and get three or four tracks out”, you know, three or four tracks done in that time, which we can pick up in London, and then finish off over the next couple of weeks. And then because you already had a timeline in mind that you wanted, you know, because you had a whole album of music that's like, “okay, when are we going to put this out? We want to put this out but we want to put an EP out first, so we need the EP so we’ve gotta fuckin hurry up and make the EP”.

Yeah. I think because, again, when I’m writing I get really stuck in my head about ideas and stuff. So having that time as well forced me to just be like, “Fuck it, we'll just go with this”, even though it would have been something that I liked, but I'm like, “but it could be better. It could be better”. And I'm often in that mindset for everything that I do, especially in music, because it's so subjective, I guess. And when it's your own thing as well, it's so easy to just be like, as self critical as you can get about it, which is normal for everyone. So having a bit of a deadline or whatever there forced that to kind of like…

But also, all the stuff we've worked on, at various points, some of the stuff comes in like half not fully formed and like, that's a really important in the process. I feel like not overthinking stuff too much, not solidifying anything too much - because often when you bring it to me, I'll I'll go like “Yeah, that's cool, but let’s flip the script on this and blah blah blah” you know, I’m pretty brutal like that.

Which I think is really good.

Yeah, it’s kind of nice when you haven't been able to solidify something to the nth degree then like, you don't feel so attached. I think that's a good thing. So I was really noticing like, especially working on the EP, you are just completely not really precious about ideas. It's like, it's all up for grabs. Anything's available. We can mix anything up, we can delete anything, we can replace anything you want. We can turn anything into a chorus or verse or whatever. Like, we could totally turn things up on their head. And you're not stressed about that at all, which is like, you know, it's pretty rare. It's a pretty rare experience.

That's why I think it worked well, as well, because it was very much a collaborative thing. It wasn't just like me sending you a fully formed idea and you’re just making the sound kind of nice. It was very much like we’d totally flesh it out together. And yeah, exactly. Like, you'd have ideas. And I'm like, “yeah, that works really well”. I think that's what I would want from someone who I'm working with on music, it's not about me just having my own opinion.

You’ve got a lot of trust though, especially for someone so - I know you’ve been in the music industry for plenty of time now, but like, seemingly fairly new to the industry. You have a lot of trust, you definitely have a lot of trust in me, I was like “okay, she’s not afraid to let me run with this, this is cool”.

And I guess that's a good thing for your perspective as well. But I know what I like and I want to hear as well. I feel like a lot of the time, just everytime you had an idea I was like “yeah, that sounds great, let’s do that!”, but yeah, I think it also is just we both knew kind of what we wanted.

I picked up pretty quickly that you had that kind of trust in me. So I was very - actually not that I'm not careful with other projects, but I particularly had a lot of care in what we were doing to keep a really single minded vision, like a focused vision, or in an overarching sense for your music. In that, all the production and all the music making had to serve the purpose of showcasing your voice and the way you deliver a melody and your songwriting. And because that mindset was emboldened by the fact that you were so relaxed about me having such input, you know, and maybe that's like chicken and the egg, because I was pretty aware that you didn't really feel the need to to keep me in line or whatever. But I was definitely going in with a very careful focus of like, I really want to make sure this is not about the production really, but the production is just there.

Like, it’s great, but it could be produced in any which way. The main idea I had from the beginning particularly, working on your stuff was like, really get the fuck out of the way of Sunny and let you just, like, be the focal point the whole time. You know, any production choice that gets in your way, I was like, “hmmm na, take it easy”, you know? And then it was like a battle of like, “okay, but how do we make this risky? Because we don't want to make it too safe”. So I wanted to find a way to make it risky, but also very sympathetic to the fact that it's like vocal lead melody, lead, you know, lyric lead music. It's not too heavy. It's not too technical production, you know?

Yeah, not too complex. Yeah. I actually think a lot of the really cool feedback, or what people have been liking about us, is that kind of the songs that we put out so far, is that it's kind of minimal in its approach. Like there's not necessarily heaps going on, but that kind of works really well together. Because I think that could also be that simple is good, for sure. But we're not doing a folk album, where that's what people do, right? Where simple is really effective, like guitar and voice and that kind of thing. Like we're doing something in this neo-soul world where things can get complex and people like that as well. I think in a way is keeping it fairly minimal, not putting too much focus on I mean, not like heaps of focus on production and instrumentation and stuff, but that working really well.

And I remember we talked quite a lot about that while we were working in post production, like stripping things out and simplifying things and getting rid of things that aren't necessary. And like we'd have conversations about, like, “oh, maybe we should do this, maybe we should throw like a piano piano shred in there” and it’s like naaa, naaa, stay out of the way. Keep it simple.

And me being like “do you want more synths?” and you’d be like “naaa”...

*laughter* Actually, I’m gonna shout out Allysha Joy here, cos when I told her I was working on this, for the record for Pilerats, she’s a really good friend of ours, and when I told her I was working with you, she was aware of the music you’re making and she was like “Oh, that’s great… Lewis, just… just don’t turn her into a synth album, alright? Just take it easy” *laughter* And like, I'd already been thinking about that, you know, because that's my bread and butter is like electronic music. I just love that she was like, “just don't fucking cover it in synthesizers” and I was like, “yes, Allysha, I’m not going to do that, I’m gonna be very tasteful”. 

So she had a creative input into this album.

Yeah, yeah, we have her to thank. 

When I spoke to her as well, I think she was also surprised that we were working on something as well because I think she knew of Used To This as well, which is probably the most stripped back I’ll ever get, just cos that was recorded in a bedroom, just me and Ollie on piano, like super stripped back. She was like “ah, okay, okay”, kind of interested in the collaboration. It worked, though!

Yeah, well, that's what I found funny was like, then we're in the process and you're like, “yeah, maybe we could, we could throw a few more synthesizers on this”. And I just had Allysha in the back of my mind like “don’t fucking cover it in synths, Lewis”.

And then it was me who wanted it in the end. 

Well, you know, healthy balance, healthy blend.

Healthy balance, yeah. So we were in the studio for what?

We did three sessions over Christmas.

We did three, that’s right, it was like the day after I came out of COVID. So I was like, “great I could not even sing that well”, which was fine because we ended up redoing my vocals because you were set against not using my shitty mic…

Your $200 microphone, yeah *laughs*

It has character! It’s actually just died.

Ah, what a shame, RIP… 

You cursed it! So yeah, I did all the vocals at another friend's studio. We did a day tracking those vocals and I remember listening back to them being like, “that's not it, that is not it”. 

Really?! I don’t think you told me that?  

Maybe I didn't. Yeah, I wonder if I sent them to you. I'm not sure. And then I resent them to you. Because I was like, “I didn't like that”.

Yeah, I have a vague memory of getting some stems, I think, but maybe before I’d even had a chance to them, you’d sent revised stems.  

Yeah, and then we just spent the last couple of weeks via zoom, but a lot of it was even done over email, right? 

That’s the benefit of having all that working flow together after doing a whole album that is yet to see the light of day, which I'm very excited about for the record. But that's the benefit, like we've already worked together so much that I was like, “Yeah, I’ll know what Sunny will dig on this, so I'll just work on it”. And then sure enough, I'd send something and you’re like “Yeah. Sick.” *Laughs*

Sounds great! 

Which is pretty rare! I was pretty blessed to be like, yeah, just sending stuff through, you know.

Well, same, in that it was so easy to kind of get it done as well. And that we also both respond to email, I guess relatively fast, so also props to that because that doesn’t always happen in this day and age. 

What would you say your favourite/best song to work on off this EP?

It’s definitely between Carefully and Insanity.  

Yeah. Agreed.

I can’t decide which. I think Insanity. I like the quirkiness of the lyrics on the topline and like, the message and, you know,  it's like very you, very dry *laughs* Very dry sense of humour, I suppose you could say - it’s not really a funny song or anything, but it’s very you, like, inherently your kind of dry wit.

I love that.

From a production standpoint I was responding to it more from a melodic point of view, actually. And lyrically, sometimes I approach things and respond to the lyrics really like, “okay, like onomatopoeic, like what are you saying? And how can I represent that musically? Like, are we talking about something lush, bright, happy, sad, sexy, whatever. Like, how can we make that come across musically, but with that tune? I actually remember just responding melodically like, what I was hearing and letting the melody lead. And I was really channeling Massive Attack, actually, when I was working on that, when I wrote the beat. 

Really?

Yeah, when I wrote the beat.

Massive Attack?

Yeah cos you worked on it with Ollie and the two of you wrote some drums together to it. And I deliberately switched them off before I heard more than like two beats, because I didn't want to - not that it was a diss on anybody else's drums, I just really wanted to come at it with really fresh ears. And so that'd be influenced by sound. And then I heard the melody and the melody was really giving me Massive Attack vibes. So I was just trying to chase that like noughties/nineries British kind of Bristol thing on it, the way they like, approach texture. And like, it's a little bit electronic, but it's quite gritty and real, you know. But it has a deep, lush texture to it.

I do remember you saying this actually, and I was like “Massive Attack? Alright!” cos it’s always funny when someone who’s an influence of yours is not something you listen to, and I always quite like that, how you join up those dots, which is cool. I like the direction it went in, and I’ve said this before but those drums are like my favourite part of it, for sure. 

I don’t think in the end they’re actually particularly Massive Attack, but it’s that classic thing when you’re like channeling something, and then it ends up being like, not at all like what you were channeling, but it’s a new thing. I’m gonna give a shout out to my dad here, who used to be an advertiser back in the day. When I was really young, he was like “now Lewis” - we were talking about creativity or plagiarism, plagiarism in art, I think we were actually talking about when I was a teenager, and he was like, “you know, back in my Ad days, we used to have this expression ‘there’s no such thing as new ideas, only old ideas rearranged”, and I think about that all the time with music, there is only old ideas rearranged, it’s how well they’re rearranged and, you know, organically reinterpreted. So I was really channeling Massive Attack energy on that. And then Insanity’s got the vocal breakdown, that we were chasing that Ngaiire kind of, really lush vocal stack, kind of soulful, gospel vertical stack that Ngaiire does so well. 

Yeah we were just all focused on that vocal stack and nothing else, really kind of deliberately made it a big focus as well, which I think is cool. I liked how the first time through we kept it really minimal, just keys come back in halfway through or something. 

Particularly with this one, I wanted to try and actually across a lot of this record, but particularly this track - I’d just been listening to a bunch of stuff, like some new British soul stuff and maybe that Tkay Maidza record where they just regularly leave drums out for whole sections. I just don’t do that enough in my productions. 

I think it’s rare?

It is rare, right? But it’s also that thing where you just get into this habit of like, “Oh, I'm writing a beat, it's got drums” - you forget that, like a whole lot of music was made without drums *laughs*. And it's very powerful to have whole sections of music without drums in it. So I think I was definitely really embracing that like when we first did the listen through, when you sent me the stems and we were on Zoom. I think we had this section and we were talking about it and you said “yeah, we could flesh this out” and I was like “nah - it just should be vocals and that’s it or maybe vocals and some piano.” 

Yeah, and I think that’s so effective as well cos it’s unexpected too - you don’t really expect those drums to just disappear, which is why I like the second time it comes in the song because then the drums do reappear in a different spot which again, I thought was really effective. Personally, I felt  we smashed that. 

*laughs* Yeah well that’s good.  

I reckon my favourite is still Carefully, I reckon. I think because it started out, again, as super simple and it’s not like the finished version is anything, like we were talking about before, too complex either. But things like that synth line you brought in over the top of that chorus, I thought was so effective, stuff like that. Just the drum fill the whole way through as well - it doesn’t really change at any point, but it’s so effective. 

I think this one for me is one of the poppiest things you've written actually. The chorus bangs, in your way, you know *laughs*. That hit me straight away when we started working on it. Because, I mean, again, it's this thing where like, our process is really fluid now. So like, it really formed like very organically, the way that the tune formed, cos I always get you to play it at the piano for me, just super stripped back so it’s like “how does the melody hit me? What do I hear in my head?” the second you hit that chorus groove, I was like “oh, that’s the money”, it’s like funk, really. 

And funk enough for Jamie Cullum to be into it as well. 

*Laughs*

Which is what we always want from a song, right? 

Of course. 

Funk enough, but jazz enough.  

Yeah, definitely. I think this was a real mishmash of influences for me like, there’s the obvious Lianne La Havas influence, like I’ve been rinsing that record over winter in London, her last record, and the guitar playing on that - then it just so happened that Ollie had a left handed vintage guitar, like some thing his dad got from a mail order magazine, and I’m a left handed guitarist but there’s never a left handed guitar floating around so I never get to play guitar. I’m not really a guitarist, I’m a keyboard player, but I was like “fuck it, there’s a left handed guitar here, I might as well have a fool around” and we ended up doing all that guitar track which is the first guitar I’ve ever put on a record, but what we wanted was that bit of rawness, we don’t want it sounding too clean so my shitty guitar playing kind of made it *laughs*

It just elevated it to another level, it was so good and it had that big Lianne La Havas sound, which I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it’s got that raw thing I think as well.

It was definitely intentional for me, like, I was hearing that reference. But then also wanting to make sure we didn’t get too close so it’s like a little head nod to her, but also for me the bassline is straight up like Simon Mavis, Paul Bender, Hiatus [Kaiyote] influence. We’re both Melbournites, you can’t escape that shit, you know? It’s in the drinking water. Even now, I’m working on records over here right now, I was in the studio the other day and asked the guitarist to play something in a particular way or whatever and then the artist came back in the room and she was like “ah yeah, that’s sick - it’s kind of giving me like, Hiatus vibes” and I was like yep, can’t escape it. 

The Melbourne scene didn’t start until Hiatus.

*Laughs* Mate, I’m old enough to remember the pre-Hiatus Melbourne scene, alright? 

*Laughs* Nah, doesn’t exist. But no, they’re huge influences, and their style is so great that we’re just gonna bring it out at some point. 

So yeah, I think that synth bass in the choruses, I was really channelling a bit of Mavin energy on that. And then the rest of it kind of just came together pretty organically. I think it was like I tried to like, pay respect to some influences when I'm working on your stuff, but I also don't want to get - that's also actually the name of the game, something I think about a lot with you is like, “oh, cool. It sounds like it's leaning in this direction. Cool. Let's take a left turn. Let's move it away from there.” You know, because it goes without saying it's really easy to fall into the trap of getting too deep into something like the artists you love, you know?

Yeah, I think it's good to know the influences or what you like, which is what we knew. I think we're also referencing a lot of that Rosie Lowe album, mixtape thing that she had because I think a lot of the time we were going back and going “oh, yeah, we really like what she’s doing here” and again, it’s super simple. She does call it a mixtape right, because all the songs are like a minute long, yeah, so nothing too hectic going on at any one point, but it flows so nicely. I think then leaning into another song on the EP, Closer, I feel like a lot of those influences come in there a bit more. So using stuff like there's that little tiny pitched up, like a little run or something that I did, that just comes in at two random spots, but I think stuff like that is super simple but really boosts it up. 

I think that, for me, like working on that one, if we're going to get into talking about Closer, like, that was the first one we hit. That was the first one we started with this record. That was the first session we did. And I remember thinking like, “okay, cool. We don't have a big studio for this one, we're just working with what we have”. I was basically working in the box, you have a couple of keyboards at your house with Ollie. And we had the piano and like some terrible microphones, you know, cheap microphones. *Laughs* Sorry. And so I was like, “Okay, limitation. Limitation breeds creativity, right?” So I was like, let's really lean into that. And there's a bunch of stuff on Closer that that is an example of that, like the way we -  a bunch of recording techniques that we did, I was getting Ollie to improvise on the piano and then you know, flipping it reversing and throwing it to weird spaces and stuff to create a bunch of atmospheric stuff. 

And then like, I remember one point, we hit a chorus part. I mean, this is getting technical, but like, we hit some chorus part with a piano, but we only had one microphone. Normally you record a piano in stereo, right? That’s really important, so you get the spatial sound of sitting in front of a piano in basic terms, but we only had one mic, so I only got to double track the piano, like you would a guitar or whatever but you just never do that with piano, or I never do anyway, that’s totally bizarre, I’ve never done that since and I probably won’t ever do it again. But I remember thinking, let’s really lean into the limitation we have over this week of like we're only in one room, it’s fucking hot, I can't be bothered moving too much. Like let's try and make something interesting with what we have, you know, single microphone, a few instruments. Just some samples in the box. No real drummer, you know? Yeah. And Closer for me is a really good example of that, like it's really stripped back and kind of trying to make the most with very little.

Yeah, I like that a lot. Actually, what you said before of limitation breeds creativity, that's great as well because I think that's like, the essence of this thing is yeah, we had one mic and like you said it was a it was like a fucking awful way for everything. And you hear that and we will get to that in a sec, the last song on the EP, you can hear the click through the headphones into the mic, while Ollie’s playing.

Can you? Shit, whoops *laughs*

No you knew that know, you were like, it works - I think you knew that.

Yeah cool, cool.

I really liked that part and I like hearing that in lots of stuff, like, I don’t know, sometimes you hear a squeak of a chair. I mean, it depends, you don’t want to hear that on everything. 

I was deliberately doing that a lot actually, on those couple of tracks particularly Close and To Blame, like both are quite atmospheric or kind of vibey, creating mood, moody for lack of a better word. I remember deliberately leaving the mic on, like tracking a bit of room noise and shit, you know letting takes run out when you thought they were done and then having that - there’s like a massive creak, I’m pretty sure it’s in Closer, before the chorus you hear it and it just sounds like percussion on the record, but actually, it’s the piano stool being dragged across the floor closer to the piano. I actually isolated it in the mix and turned it way down so you can’t really hear it because it’s blended, but it sounds like part of the music. 

I didn’t know that! Yeah, stuff like that. It just makes it very human as well, and I think in a world where there’s music that’s heavily produced and whatnot, and it’s all about making it perfect and structurally really tight and fine tuned. Whereas I kind of like the - sloppiness isn’t the right word, because that sounds kind of messy, just the raw elements.

I think there's lots of facets of that. Like, first of all, that's really deliberate to juxtapose against your voice, which is quiet, pure, and, like, you know, incredible, like the tone of your voice. And the way you deliver a melody is really like second to none. So like the rawness and the production is meant to juxtapose that for me, like that's really deliberate. And then also, that’s somewhat of a Melbourne sound that rawness like that. Bedroom production. Everybody makes music at home. Like that's the sound. That's where we come from. Right. And my ethos has always been to lean into that, but also to make sure it's equally balanced with really high fidelity elements. It's really important to me, which is why I forced you to re track the vocals in a bougie studio, because you want to juxtapose this rawness with some really high fidelity elements, and then it contextualises everything.

Yeah, totally. It just kind of slotted in together nicely. No, I do definitely appreciate that. I think I was like, “oh but this mic has, like, you really hear the kind of breathiness of it” 

*Laughs*

No, it’s just the sign of a shit mic. We don’t need that. I guess my voice has got a lot of breathiness anyway, that’s fine. We don’t need that. *Laughs* So then we’ve got the last one, To Blame, which I feel is - what do you reckon’s more poppy, this or Carefully? Maybe it’s just that drum kind of drop chorus where it just gets fat for a second. We did a bit of this live in the studio, yeah?

This was day two of those sessions.

I remember I originally had just written kind of nonsensical words, just to get some ideas down, something super stream of consciousness, like, just so that we had something to go off. And it just started with that kind of - Ollie had that specific piano riff or something that he was playing in it. That was all like really high up end kind of sounds, and that’s kind of all we had for this. I think I wanted this one to be super minimal, especially at the beginning.

This one is one of those ones, like I was saying before, it’s quite onomatopoeic, like the lyric content, “keep on running”, I wanted the music to feel like that, I wanted it to feel like it’s really rolling and has a lot of momentum. It’s slow, like a lot of the music it’s downtempo which is kind of your hallmark, but still, I wanted it to feel like it has movement to it. Like you’ve got somewhere to be, you’re moving away from something, quite heavy subject matter from memory. 

Yeah, I think I even went more into like a political kind of vibe with this song, it’s all about the world kind of crumbling, falling apart, but everyone’s trying to just run away from that kind of thing. So I guess it was kind of heavy, like no one’s really doing anything about it. Yeah.  

I think we talking about that, actually, this was one of the ones I was a bit more conscious of the subject matter, and like so harmonically, it ties into that heaviness, it’s quite a heavy harmony, it evokes like a certain seriousness, like you’re moving away from something quite serious. And looming. Then the beat is meant to give that feeling of like, Run Lola Run’s what I think about, that 90s film, I remember being quite clear about that. I also wanted it to really be quite heavy in the low end, again to create that feeling of seriousness and daunting intensity. 

Yeah, totally, I think which linked together kind of pushed it in a different direction than I’d naturally gravitate towards, a lot more dark I guess, sonically as well, so I think that was cool. When I was re-tracking those vocals for the last chorus, all those vocal takes were meant to be separate things and I would choose which one I liked the most, and then when we put them together I actually like how they all sounded on top of each other so it turned into like three or four parts.  

Totally, that ties into that feeling of wanting to create a sense of uneasiness, like what you’re talking about is escaping whatever it may be, whether it’s a political situation, personal situation, it’s trying to create that feeling that’s intangible, like, when you hear it you don’t necessarily know what it’s about, but you can feel it, and hopefully we achieved that. We’ll see.

Sunny Reyne’s new EP Right Now is out now

 

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