Gordi is Australia’s folktronica genius

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Gordi is Australia’s folktronica genius

Bon Iver labelmate, Sophie Payten, AKA Gordi, the Australian artist whose tunes will hit you right in the feels with her raw voice and powerful lyrics, is taking the Australian music scene by storm with the release of her debut album, Reservoir.

The Sydney-based singer-songwriter’s musical journey began at the ripe old age of four, where she learnt to play piano and was almost singing before she began to talk.

“I learnt to play piano when I was four, picked up the guitar when I was 10, and then played a few other instruments here and there and I just fell in love with performing from a young age,” she explains.

When writing for Reservoir, Payten’s lyrical process was very opportunistic, depending on what she was going through at that point in her life and if a lyric or melody hit her, her iPhone captured every moment.

“I’ll be driving and think of a phrase or melody that gets stuck in my head; my phone is just absolutely choc-a-block with notes and voice memos, and sometimes I’ll go back and be like ‘woah, what was I thinking,’ but sometimes I’ll find little good bits and when I have time and I feel like I’m in the right head space, I splash out those ideas,” she says.

“Writing music is a very therapeutic process for me and it’s usually the kind of thing I’m grappling with and I turn it into a song and it’s like this load that lightens off my shoulder, which I think is a pretty nice way to let it out.”

While the lyrical content from Clever Disguise is similar to Reservoir, the album is less restrained and features more live content than the EP, a characteristic that Gordi holds dear.

“We have all these bits and pieces of which were kind of recorded all over the world and I think the overall effect is that it’s a lot richer, a lot bolder and more epic. It’s more cinematic which is something that I wanted the overall feel to be; richer, in a word, is probably the best way to describe it.”

‘Heaven I Know’ is the first single from the album, a song that will resonate with most, and the raw emotion sets the tone for the rest of the record.

“I wrote about growing apart with someone you’ve known for a long time and not a romantic partner but a really old friendship that you have that becomes family and I guess it’s that kind of classic 20’s period of your life where you’re trying to forge your own way and it’s a fact of life that some people sit with that and some people go another way,” the talented muso says. “I was really struck with how tragic that is and it was a powerful thing for me to write about, it’s like you’re watching this old relationship that has fostered over so many years and it just sort of slowly dissipates and there’s nothing you can really do about it.”

Having been a support on tour for most of her career, the album tour opens up a whole new world of headline shows that Gordi cannot wait for.

“I’m excited because almost all the shows are headline shows and I can kind of gauge where we’re at in the States, we’re playing like 10 shows in 13 days and it’s a different state virtually every day and I think the challenge weirdly excites me, but to also keen to get in front of new audiences and really just get this music out there.”

Release: Reservoir. Out now through Liberation.

When & Where: Howler, Melbourne, – November 25

Written by Molly Slater