Interview: Sarah McLeod

Sarah McLeod is a singer/songwriter and frontwoman known across the globe; she was in Adelaide earlier this year when Superjesus was inducted into the SA Music Hall of Fame. The band played a show on the steps of the State Library to celebrate.

In August she released her first solo album in over a decade and we found out a little about it.

Hi Sarah, welcome to Beauty and Lace and thanks for talking to us.
Your career has been long and prosperous, how did you get your start in the industry?

Long and arduous you mean? My start in the music industry was funny actually. I was a late bloomer, I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 16. I had never really played for anyone except the friends who would come over to my place for parties on the weekends when my mum was out of town. At 17 I went on a holiday with 3 of my girlfriends to Bali. It was one of those hideous 18 to 35 Contiki tours.

There was an open call for guests to be involved in the events each night at the hotel bar and one night they were having a fashion parade. I was trying to spur the girls into going in the fashion parade because I thought it would be funny, I never had any intention of going in the fashion parade myself though. They told me they would do it, if I got up and sang with the band. Obviously having never performed in public I said no way and thought that was the end of it. The next thing I know the Balinese band are introducing me over the mic as a special guest performer for the night. I nearly died.


The girls were all laughing hard and screaming ‘Go on, go and do it… you’re on!”. I sheepishly made my way up to the stage and went up to the lead singer and asked if I could please use his guitar, which of course now rendered him out of the band (I think he assumed I was only singing). He graciously handed it over and walked off. I was super nervous until I saw that they had a music stand with a book in it with every song they knew and all the chords. So we just chose one and went for it. The entire band were Balinese, except for me obviously. After one song the crowd went nuts which in turn sent me nuts. So I played another, and then another and then you just couldn’t get me off the stage, and no wonder because everyone was smiling and cheering me on and buying me beers. I ended up playing with them every night during my stay, in all these different venues around Bali… and then the girls all strutted their stuff in the fashion parade. Except none of them came home and quit uni and became models, but I came home, quit uni and became a professional muso. Best holiday EVA!

Throughout your career you have worked on different projects, can you describe your sound and style? Or is that something that changes with the project?

I approach each project differently. The Superjesus has a particular sound and style that works, so I like to remain within those parameters when writing for the band. When I’m solo the window is much wider, but I base most of my chord structures and techniques on 50’s music. I can produce it in whatever style I wish but the fundamental structures are the same.

Recently you released a new solo album, more than a decade in the making, how would you describe your sound on this album?

It’s kinda like dirty motown!

Can you tell us a little about Rocky’s Diner?

I really love this album. I am really happy that I took the time with the lyrics and didn’t settle for the Slurry of average ideas that come before the good ones. I held out for a hero even though it was often excruciating. I love every song and connect with every word. I’ve never been prouder of a record I’ve released.

What can you tell us about your songwriting inspiration and process?

When I write I like to do it in one intensive burst. I get an idea and I sit there and work on it until it’s finished. This can take time but even the crappiest idea will become something great if you sit there long enough. With Rocky I wrote it in 3 months. I went to New York and wrote it in one intense whirlwind. Most songs took about a week to write and demo up (I record very elaborate demos) I work around 16 hours a day and become so focused that I cannot communicate with anyone. I can’t talk, can’t take calls, I can barely eat, I live for the song until it’s done.

Was the writing for Rocky’s Diner a little different to how you would normally approach songwriting?

Yes, normally I would write a song here and there when inspiration strikes and then collect the best ones to release when the time is right. With Rocky, I did it all at once from scratch.

The new single is Wild Hearts, can you tell us about the track?

Yeah, this song is about accepting the beauty in simplicity and minimalism. Tapping into the power we all have within and finding joy and peace inside ourselves rather than from stereotypical ideals of how we should live our lives.

There is a gorgeous video for Wild Hearts also, can you tell us about it? Where did the concept come from?

A dog sees life in the most beautiful simple way. There is no greater representation of joy in the simplicity of life than with a dog. I wanted to show people in every day situations finding joy in their day to day routine that to most would seem mundane or ‘unsuccessful’. Having my dog Chachi with me was to depict the freedom and beauty of internal comfort.

 

November sees you kick off a pretty extensive Australian tour, what can audiences expect from a live show?

The show is a two piece. Mick Skelton from the Baby Animals is on drums and I play bass and guitar at the same time through a bespoke setup that I made with Matt from Saltmine guitars. We have rearranged all the songs so the live versions are different from the album. It’s a super fun show to play.

Chachi comes with us everywhere too, she wears little headphones! I love being on tour, I really can’t wait to get out there again. We get better every night and I learn something new every day!

I hear there is also new Superjesus material coming, can you tell us a little about it and when to expect it?

Not really, this info is shrouded in mystery at this stage! But yes…. things are happening!

Good luck with the tour and thanks for your time.

My pleasure, thanks for the interview. Tell all your friends! ❤️

SARAH MCLEOD ROCKY’S DINER TOUR

Thursday 5 October
SOL BAR, SUNSHINE COAST, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 6 October
SPOTTED COW, TOOWOOMBA, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 7 October
MIAMI SHARK BAR, GOLD COAST, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Sunday 8 October
BYRON BAY BREWERY, BYRON BAY, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Thursday 12 October
48 WATT, NEWCASTLE, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 13 October
THE BAROQUE ROOM, KATOOMBA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Sunday 15 October
MIRANDA HOTEL, MIRANDA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Wednesday 25 October
PELLY BAR, FRANKSTON, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Thursday 26 October
SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 27 October
KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 3 November
WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART, TAS | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 4 November
CLUB 54, LAUNCESTON, TAS | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Sunday 5 November
JIVE, ADELAIDE, SA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Wednesday 29 November
THE CURTIN, MELBOURNE, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Thursday 30 November
THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA, ACT | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 2 December
THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Thursday 7 December
THE HEN HOUSE, BADLANDS BAR, PERTH, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 8 December
THE ODD FELLOW, FREMANTLE, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 9 December
PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY, WA | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Friday 15 December
HERITAGE HOTEL, BULLI, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

Saturday 16 December
THE LANSDOWNE, SYDNEY | 18+
Tickets available from http://sarahmcleod.oztix.com.au/
Ph: 1300 762 545
All Oztix Outlets

You can follow Sarah on: Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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