Words by Keane Fletcher

Remember dancing? That thing some people do (not me) when the lights are low and the music is just right? Well even if you don't, Canberra-based singer-songwriter Tarini sure does, and she's here to remind you of its charms with her single 'Do You Wanna Dance', a darkly ethereal gem that will have you yearning for your own stranger to press up against in under 4 and 1/2 minutes.

Introduced to music by her Sri Lankan mother at a 'super young age', 'DYWD' is the first release for Tarini after years of honing her craft, and sees the songstress femme fatale-ing her way into the arms of an unnamed parter, all the while accompanied by Illstrtd's seductively eerie production, a soundscape that's all haunting reverb and teeth-chattering 808 sub bass. It's an auspicious beginning, showcasing not only Tarini's evocative and satin-y voice, but her careful songwriting skills as well; indeed, it's one of the better debuts I've had the pleasure of listening to lately and one that shows fantastic promise in terms of what we can hope to expect from this up-and-coming artist. 

Hear us now Tarini: WE WANT MORE! But in the meantime, turn the lights down, crank the sub-woofers and grind the lockdown away to this immaculate slice of alt-R&B.

We recently sat down with Tarini to talk all things music, inspo, and what being a musical perfectionist means to her. Check it out below!

1- How did you get started in music?

My mum introduced me to music at a super young age. I grew up singing in Sri Lankan shows all around Melbourne and Canberra and later discovered my own passion for songwriting! 

2- How would you describe your sound? Who are your musical influences?

I’d say my music is a mix of lush ethereal sounds with darker trap nuances. I take a lot of inspiration from artists like Jarryd James and Grimes but also find a lot of my ideas incorporate traditional sounds I grew up listening to. 

3- How does the songwriting process usually work for you? Do you have a routine when it comes to writing and recording, or does inspiration usually take you by surprise?

It honestly depends for me! Sometimes I go into it with the intent of writing a song and making a beat that aligns with how I’m feeling in that moment, but it’s so often that I’ll be in the middle of something and think of a melody or line and have to stop everything to voice memo it before I forget.

4- Can you tell us a bit about your latest release ‘Do You Wanna Dance’? How did the idea come about? 

I actually came up with this song while driving. I was really in my head about a situation that had been happening for a long time and I came up with the concept, got really excited about it, pulled over and wrote the song.   

5- The production on this song is fantastic! How did you and producer Illstrtd come together? What was the collaboration process like?

Thank you so much! I literally just reached out to him and sent him a couple of scrappy demos that I had produced and recorded literally on my old broken iPhone, and he somehow managed to look past the terrible quality and understood my sound and vision enough to take me on board! Making the song was so much fun. It was my first time ever working on a song in a studio let alone sharing my music so it was all super new to me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have always been with my music so it definitely took me a little bit to not feel like the most annoying person ever by being so anal and hands on with everything but Stu was the absolute best to work with and so patient and willing to try all my ideas. 

6- How has the ongoing pandemic affected your creativity? Have you enjoyed having more time to write and record, or has it been stifling? How have you been forced to adapt? 

It’s definitely got it’s pros and cons. I love that it’s given me the ability to write and produce whenever I like because I have so much time now but it’s been so so frustrating not being able to finish a lot of the projects I have in the works because everyone I’ve been working with is either in Sydney or Melbourne. Sooo many projects on hold right now.

7- What are you hoping listeners take away from this song? 

Conceptually it’s definitely a metaphor that I think is relatable to so many situations. Essentially the idea was forgetting about all problems, leaving ego at the door and embracing the simple beauty of a connection. Outside of the actual direct meaning though I think I wanted this song to just be felt, if that makes sense? 

8- What's next for you? Where do you hope to see yourself in a year’s time?

I’m so so excited to share everything I’ve been working on hopefully very soon. In a years time I think if the pandemic has settled hopefully, I’ll finally be able to move on to bigger things like touring and festivals and I’ll of course have so much more music out! Everything is so unpredictable but I’m hoping for the best.

Thanks for stopping by Hipland!