Words by Keane Fletcher
Music has the power to do a lot of things. It can make you dance, it can make you feel good, it can help shine a light on difficult subjects and help you to understand a part of yourself that you didn't before. But this would have to be the first time in my career that I've heard of a song predicting a breakup, which is exactly what Perth-based hyper-pop goddess Grace Sanders has done with her latest release 'Scrolling', an ode to relationship woes in the 21st century.
'Scrolling' initially came from a songwriting exercise I gave myself...I wrote the draft this way, and when my long term relationship ended a few months later I finished the last verse that day and understood perhaps where that idea was coming from. I have a strange habit of telling myself things through lyrics before they’ve happened...
Full of meticulously layered beats and woozy electronic soundscapes, 'Scrolling' is the perfect showcase for Sanders' genre-defying brand of synth-pop, bolstered by an immaculate production by longtime collaborator Ezekiel Padmanabham. Coming not long after the release of her hit EP 'GUMS', we can only hope it's the first taster to a newer, longer release from Sanders who, at only 21, is firmly staking her claim to the indie-queen throne. But hey, if that doesn't work out, she could always go for a job running a psychic hotline.
To celebrate the release of 'Scrolling' we sat down with Sanders to talk all thing music, inspo and what being a modern day prophetess means to her. Check it out below!
How does it feel to be releasing new music after your last EP ‘GUMS’ was so well received?
I would say nerve-racking, because you hope people will like it as much as the last project but honestly my only goal creatively is to push myself and make music I’m proud of. This next set of releases I feel is my best songwriting to date so I’m just excited for people to hear it.
Talk to us about your new single ‘Scrolling’. What was the genesis of the song? Was it inspired by a specific incident in your own life?
Interestingly, 'Scrolling' initially came from a songwriting exercise I gave myself to imagine being in a scenario where you couldn’t speak to the person you most wanted to, and so you’re stuck scrolling their Instagram page trying to piece their life together. I wrote the draft this way, and when my long term relationship ended a few months later I finished the last verse that day and understood perhaps where that idea was coming from. I have a strange habit of telling myself things through lyrics before they’ve happened, I think I was prepping myself for that heartbreak subconsciously.
More than once I’ve seen you described as ‘genre-mixing’. What does genre mean — if anything — to you? How would you describe your sound and where it comes from in your brain?
I think genre is useful as a classifying system and I think of genre mixing like just throwing different sonic palettes that might not traditionally go together to experiment with telling stories in new ways. It isn’t something Zeke and I discuss or do actively, but our collective influences are broad enough that organically we end up trying sounds that I think are maybe less common to hear side by side. I definitely take it as a compliment.
Are you a stickler for a routine when it comes to writing and recording, or does inspiration usually take you by surprise? How long does it usually take for a song to come together just the way you like it?
I like to give myself exercises to practise different techniques, just for the sake of writing. However I find inspiration tends to strike organically, and it tends to come in waves. The timing all depends on the song, although it’s usually my preference to try and finish the main concept of a song on the day I come up with it, and then I usually tinker with the melody and sections for a couple weeks or months after. I like workshopping things once I’ve had a big creative burst, and the way Zeke and I work allows a lot of time for experimentation and contemplation before we feel ready to release or play a song live.
Obviously love in the modern age is rife with errors, from cat fishing to unsolicited pics, to the pressures of maintaining an online persona. But forget the doom and gloom: in what ways do you think the internet has actually been beneficial to the dating world?
Umm can I say solicited pics are a perk? Hahah seriously I just think memes though. I’ve had free reign on the internet since I was 10 and it’s a whacky and wild place and I feel very fortunate to get to be a part of this age in humour. I’ve found swapping content to be a great way to gauge people’s interest and establish a dialogue before you even meet which is a useful filtering process for sure.
It's hard to talk about the music industry at the moment without acknowledging the terrible effects of the pandemic. How has the pandemic affected you and your creativity? Have you had more time to create, or are you dying to get back on the road?
I’m kind of a home body to be honest, in general I like my bed and my gym and my routines and these tend to be the best setting for me creatively. That being said, I haven’t been overseas since 2018 and I’m starting to feel the itch badly for some newness and some different experiences. Zeke and I have had more time to finish our next record without touring etc however it has severely impacted our ability to grow our audience which has added a lot of extra anxiety and pressure and feelings of hopelessness. At this stage I’ve been grateful for the time to create and just be home, but now we are really dying to get on the road as making music simply isn’t financially viable without touring unfortunately.
And finally, what’s next? Can we expect a new EP or even an album sometime soon?
We have another EP almost finished and ready to goooo! We will be drip feeding some singles and cool content to keep an eye out for, but mostly trying to wait till it’s safe to tour so we can play over east! I’m really proud of what we’ve made though, we’ve pushed ourselves to make something different and expand on our sound so hopefully people are excited for that.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!