Electropop artist Annie Bass has dropped her unique EP today that resonates in a personal way with every listener. We chat with Annie about the release and her journey.
Your new EP Control dropped this month. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired this album?
It was a collection of songs I wrote at a period where I was completely lost. And I was kind of failing in every area of my life: relationships weren’t that good, and I just moved to a new city, and I was digesting all these things that happened to me before I made that move. Music for me became the way I kind of processed everything instead of suppressing all this old emotional garbage, and that’s kind of where the songs come from… not very poetic, I know(!) but to echo Erykah Badu here, music became my therapy. And I don’t think I really acknowledged it at the time – it was sort of just a reflex: I was frustrated so I would write music to kind of self-soothe and relax myself. It wasn’t until I looked back at what I’d record that I thought, this is actually what I want to be doing.
Could you give us a summary of your musical journey? When did you realise this talent?
I didn’t come from a naturally musical family but music was always around me. When I was four or five there was this old pianola at my family’s house where I’d sit and play these scrolls of I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus and all those folk songs. And before I knew it I was writing my own music, just as a small kid. I guess my parents saw something in that. I was a pretty fanatic choir girl in school. I’d try every band, choir and instrument, and that led me to musical theatre somehow. I think because I was a dancer as well. It was a good experience and I moved to Melbourne when I was 17 because of it, but I was truly terrible at it! I remember even my vocal teacher said ‘Why are you in musical theatre, you need to go and study music’. So the following year I moved to back to Adelaide and did a degree in musical performance.
With your pure voice, soulful music and poignant lyrics, you create a refuge and become an understanding friend for those who are struggling. I’m sure you get a lot of appreciation because of this. What’s the loveliest comment you’ve received about your EP?
I think it’s a really hard thing because it’s not something I want people to listen to and feel sympathetic or sad for me. It’s just about the recognition that we all have hard, dark moments in our life. And it’s so easy in this day to forget about those, and to just highlight the things that look pretty. We forget that we all go through shit. One of my agents said one of my songs just made her cry. I felt bad at first and was like, ‘sorry’. But she said ‘no, I wasn’t crying for you, I was crying for me.’ And that feeling of someone being able to find something within themselves from something I have written is just a really amazing feeling.
Listening to the songs on Control, I felt how raw and honest the lyrics were. What do you hope to achieve by these direct songs that many can, unfortunately, relate to?
Well, when I wrote these songs my intention was never to release them. They were kind of like diary entries to a melody. It was really introspective and personal. I remember hearing one of my songs for the first time on the radio and I was like ‘Woah, this is literally like someone’s reading out my personal diary!’
So, what made you decide to release the songs then?
I’d say working with management. I was sending little bits and pieces I was working on, and they’d say ‘yeah this is cool – do you have anything else?’ And I didn’t know whether I should send these crappy voice memos. They seemed really silly, and I didn’t feel confident that the songs communicated anything. But I was like, you know what, YOLO I suppose! And they were the songs that connected with them the most. They told me this is what I should be writing as they’re so much more honest than anything else they had heard. I guess after getting a compliment like that about something I kind of reevaulated what these songs meant.
How long did it take your to put the whole EP together? What was the biggest challenge?
A little but over a year. At the time it felt like a million lightyears, but looking back it was a very reasonable amount of time. I think my biggest challenge was confronting myself about what these songs were about and I remember I was with my manager and he asked what the songs are about, and I couldn’t answer him. I couldn’t tell him. And that really put a mirror up to what I was trying to achieve. But then I had that realisation: if I can’t tell him, then how to I expect to be able to communicate this in an honest and genuine way. That unlocked a lot potential in the EP. I wasn’t so private.
What’s the most important song to you on the EP?
That’s a hard one, because they all mean such different things to me. I think Forgive Me is probably the song that I love singing the most, and it’s always kind of been something close to me because it’s kind of become a bit of a mantra to forgive myself and let myself be, and not beat myself down for doing things the right way or wrong way. It’s about telling myself it’s fine, you’re fine, you’re perfect. That song’s very much an intention that I’ve set myself.
My favourite song on the EP is Sweet Nothing: to me, it’s poppy but with sombre undertones – it’s continually building suspense and then satisfying listeners with its entrancing chorus. Can you give us a glimpse into what that songs means for you?
When I moved to Sydney I ended a very long (and at the time, serious) relationship. I kind of realised I still had all the insecurity and baggage I had been carrying around with me from years ago. Even though I had ticked all the boxes I wanted: moved states, got a cool job, going to fun parties, I still felt like the same person dealing with all this shit. But I had an outward facing, got-it-together persona which was such a lie. I started seeing people and dating, and always referring to people’s social media and some sort of social cue. But after a while I realised that they were just doing the same thing I was. Kind of promoting this different version of ourselves. And it’s not cryptic – it’s just people trying to make themselves feel better accepted. So, the song’s kind of an ode to that.
Where do you see your musical passion heading? Any upcoming plans?
Absolutely. One of the biggest things we do as artists these days is to constantly make plans and goals.
Where can fans access your new EP and see you live?
I am on Spotify and all your favourite streaming platforms, and I guess social media is the best way to find all that juicy good stuff! And I have the absolute pleasure of performing with Owl Eyes. I’m joining them at the Abbotsfield Convent in Melbourne next Thursday 16 May.
Thanks for chatting with us, Annie! Anything you’d like to add?
Just that I’m really grateful, even to talk to you now, and talk to anybody about this. I feel lucky that I have a space to share my music.
After getting to know Annie Bass a little bit more, I’ve found her deep perspective on life is found right there in her music. Get your ears onto her new EP and let your heart unwind.
Written by Naseem Radmehr
Photo by Daisy-Clementine