Since 2008, Melbourne based disco-pop act Teeth & Tongue have gained a lot of notoriety for their unique live shows and critically acclaimed catalogue of albums including 2016’s Give Up On Your Health. Originally a solo project, Teeth & Tongue has continued to alternate between solo and band formats, fronted by the soulful and enigmatic lead singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Jess Cornelius.
Now having a break from Teeth & Tongue, Cornelius is hitting the studio returning to her work as a solo artist and hitting the road without the backing of other musicians.
“It’s always been a solo project. The first record I did as Teeth & Tounge was solo, but it did become a little bit more collaborative with the last record. I do really love all the guys who I’ve been playing with for so long, so in that sense Teeth & Tongue is something that certainly isn’t over but we are definitely on hiatus,” she says before explaining that new sounds influenced the shift.
“I got given a really beautiful nylon string guitar so I’ve been finger picking a lot of songs in more of a folk style,” Cornelius says, “I wanted to spend a lot of time overseas; I wanted to tour a lot and it just gets financially difficult with five people all touring. I didn’t want to be making music that needed to be played with a band; I just wanted to spend a little while making songs for myself. I guess it was sort of a reaction to using synth and drum machines for so long, I’ve always made heavily produced and programmed music and I just wanted to get it right back to basics and just make it about the song.”
With a collection of songs already written during her time in Iceland, the young artist will be rounding off a few shows in Australia, including headlining the final night of this years Winter Wild Festival before heading off to America to record an EP.
“I wrote more intensely than I ever have because I didn’t have anything else to do so I was making myself write as if it were a job,” she says, “But for me, that’s maybe not the best process; it just makes it a little bit forced. So for me it’s really important to allow time and space to let the songs come out. Iceland was more so an exercise where I made myself write every day, even if I had nothing to write about, it’s a great exercise but doesn’t always produce the best work.”
When & Where: WinterWild Festival, Apollo Bay – July 15 & 16, July 29 & 30, August 12 & 13. Jess will be performing Saturday August 12.
Written by Alex Callan