2020 is shaping up to be the year we get to hear new music from Ruby Gill, who is laying down her first full-length album before the year is through. The South African singer-songwriter will bunker down with producer Tim Harvey (Emma Louise, Real Feelings) at Soundpark recording studios in Northcote and lay down the material that has been swimming around in her head for the last three years.
“We’re recording before Christmas so hopefully I will have something out in the first half of next year,” Gill says. “I didn’t know what to do after my first single – it was just a demo and I put it on the internet because I thought it was funny and it turns out it did okay.
“It’s taken me a long time to work up the courage to put something else out, but I’ve got three years worth of music and some stories to tell.
“We’ll be recording at a few places but a major part of it will be at Soundpark in Northcote, it’s a big beautiful warehouse – everything’s wooden, it’s got cool broken gear everywhere and it’s very rustic and random. Tim is a lovely man, he is gentle, kind and clever. It will be great working with him.”
Gill expects to come out the other side of recording with up to 12 new tracks to sit alongside her 2018 single ‘Your Mum’. It will likely be 11 though, she confesses, because she likes odd numbers.
The advanced folk artist likes to have a big say in the production stages of her music.
“I’m a pretty good micromanager,” she said with a laugh. “I spend a lot of time stripping these songs down to begin with, so when I feel like they’re almost ready that’s when I go into someone like Tim who is really good at making those final tweaks and pointing out the small things to make everything work better.
“It’s important to have someone else there otherwise you get lost in the rabbit hole of your own brain.”
It will mark a high finish to the year for Gill, who was just announced the Port Fairy Folk Festival emerging artist of the year.
“Port Fairy Folk Festival is half the reason I’m doing music, so it’s really very special to be recognised by them in particular,” she said on the nomination. “My first year in Australia was weird, because immigration is weird, and I didn’t know what to do with myself and I actually stopped playing music.
“A friend of mine who used to live down that way put me in a car and took me to the festival for the first time and I think I spent three days crying. I thought how on earth is it possible that this beautiful community exists, I just sat down and listened to some of the best songwriting I’ve ever heard.
“I’ve been every year since then and haven’t stopped playing music, it was a huge pivotal point and now I get to go full circle to play it. The guy who took me down to the festival is now my guitarist and bass player, so basically Port Fairy changed my life.”
Gill’s live performances are poetic and captivating. She intersperses her gusto-filled, sometimes dark repertoire with gentle stories and imagery that move audiences with their simplistic power.
One would not be surprised to learn that her life beyond music is full of words.
“I studied linguistics and literature at uni and I work as a copywriter where I spend all day using words,” she said. “English and language, in general, has always been my first passion, I’ve been writing long before I was singing.
“Words as the basis of any music that I do, and music is the conduit for the story.”
When & Where: Port Fairy Music Festival, Port Fairy – March 6-9. Tickets via www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/
Written by Kyra Gillespie