After a cancelled tour, folk indie-rock artist Chitra starts working on her debut album

After a cancelled tour, folk indie-rock artist Chitra starts working on her debut album

Photo by Nick McKinlay
Words by Bella de Almeida Reis

Tell me a bit about yourself and what you’re up to at the moment.
My name is Chitra and I am a songwriter based in Naarm/Melbourne and grew up on the Bellarine Peninsula. Pre-COVID the band and I played gigs regularly and were waiting to go on a tour! At the moment I’m trying to write where I can and look forward to when we can record and play again which is being missed so much. The focus for me at the moment is working on my song writing and leaning into the time I have to do so!

How have you been keeping inspired during isolation? Who are you listening to?
I’m not going to lie, writing in isolation is really difficult, at least for me personally. It’s hard to keep inspired when you don’t have the same volume of it that you once had. Most, if not all my songs, are based on social interaction so it’s a bit strange to take that away and use what I can without. But all anyone can do is work with it, so I’m trying my best, and the band and I are trying to record demos from afar.

I’ve been listening to some of my favourites who are Australian – Elsie Lange released a song called ‘Talk to Me’ which I’ve been obsessed with, aa band called Siberian Tiger just released the dreamiest song called ‘Call On Me’ and the incredible Mimi Gilbert has released a song called ‘Society’s a Mansion’. I’ve also been delving into the soundtrack for the show High Fidelity’ (must watch) which has sooo many good songs that you’ve either forgotten about or wished you heard sooner.

What advice would you give to other musicians who are struggling for creativity?
I’ve had a lot of conversations with other artists about struggling creatively in the industry and my advice is to go easy on yourself. I understand some creatives are more disciplined than others and this advice might not appeal to some but we’re all globally going through a pandemic which means emotions are high and it’s kind of hard to think about much else at times. I’m not one to be pushed by negative pressure and don’t see it being helpful. So, write when you feel it and don’t forget to remind yourself why you love doing it.

What’s been the hardest challenge making music in this climate?
One of the hardest things would be not seeing my band. There was one time a few weeks back things were seemingly getting better and we were rehearsing for Delivered Live and the moment we started playing together again, it was so comforting and made me realise what I have to come back to. But other than that, it’s not having shows or upcoming things to look forward to and there was definitely a moment there where I nearly forgot it was an important part of my life and I have to keep some sort of schedule to hold onto it.

You released your first EP earlier this year (congrats!), but are you working on anything new currently?
Thank you! Feels good to have it out! At the moment I’m writing music and putting some older songs together to form some sort of catalogue to hopefully make into an album! Again, something to look forward to!

Find Chitra on Instagram, Facebook and Triple J Unearthed.