Five minutes with Riley Catherall

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Five minutes with Riley Catherall

Hi Riley, thanks for chatting to Forte. First up, can you give a quick intro to our readers about your music?
Thanks for having me! I’m an Americana inspired singer songwriter living in Melbourne. I write self-reflective songs about things I’ve been through, and sometimes about things I make up.
How did you originally get into music?
My mother was a piano teacher and my dad taught himself guitar and would play songs to me when I was a kid. I must’ve shown an interest because they threw me into classical guitar lessons when I was about five. I grew up and discovered a love for the likes of James Taylor, John Mayer and Tim Freedman from The Whitlams. After toying with a bit of Jazz and Blues and teaching guitar throughout college and after school, I eventually discovered a beauty in simplicity and started listening to a lot more folk and country music. The Americana thing is only a recent endeavour.
Hailing from Canberra, you now call Melbourne home. As the home of music, what were the main drivers to make the move to the city?
I think once I started doing a few shows up and down the East Coast and down here in Melbourne I realised that although Canberra was a fantastic city to grow up in, if I were serious about a career in music I needed to head to the big smoke.
How are you finding the music scene in Melbourne? Did you face any challenges in making the move?
Moving to Melbourne was incredibly humbling, there are so many talented artists down here. I didn’t do much for the first 12 months or so except go to shows and then go home and write. I found that really inspiring; seeing people doing exactly what I wanted to do. It also helped that everyone in this town is really lovely and the community of artists are really supportive. Studying music down here allowed me to meet a heap of like-minded people which was also helpful.
You recently launched your single ‘Watered Down Man’, a brutally self-reflective track about wearing a coat made of whiskey whilst shuffling through the streets of Melbourne. What’s the story behind the track?
I came up with the ‘watered down man’ concept after maybe one too many nights out on the town and started to approximate just how much money I’d spent on alcohol and just what drinking your body weight in alcohol actually achieves. I guess it’s an ode to the person I was when I first moved here – drinking too much and losing track of the weeks instead of contributing to society and doing something worthwhile.

Tell us about what you’ve been working on recently?
Trying to get through a Bachelor of Arts. I’ve been working on enhancing my ability to write songs in other genres and just learn the specific techniques used in different styles of music. I think there’s always things that you can take from other genres that translate into what I’m trying to achieve in the Americana stream – things maybe you haven’t thought about before, or a way of approaching writing that’s a little different than anything you’ve tried.
What’s next for Riley Catherall?
I’m organising the second release at the moment, called ‘Robin’, which should be out in about two months with plans to have the whole EP out by the end of the year…. Hopefully. Once I release this new track, I’ll be looking at doing a bit of touring to promote the EP. Then I guess I’ll just write and write, try and do more shows and eventually work on a full-length record.
Release: Watered Down Man is out now.