Q&A Scene: ISLA NOON

Tell us about your new single ‘Talk About Us’…

‘Talk About Us’ is about trying to reach out to someone in your life who has become emotionally unavailable; when the silence between two people is sealing the fate of the relationship. It plays on the vulnerability of not knowing where you stand in that situation, and how easy it is to start fraying at the edges when you feel things slipping away and you can no longer tell what’s going through the other person’s head – maybe you never really knew the whole time you were in it? It’s been in the works for a while now, and I’m so proud to finally have put it out into the world.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
I currently only have two singles out, but it’s kind of like choosing between my two children! The newest is ‘Talk About Us’, and in many ways it holds a special place for me because writing and producing it was full of so much creative joy and experimentation. It deals with some fairly difficult subject matter but with these layers of sparkly infectiousness whilst playing on a lot of unique textures that were so fun to piece together. My first single ‘Summer in August’ is a really personal track and one of my most experimental, so it really sits on its own little pedestal for me.

 

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

Jam-filled donut? Hear me out. Sparkly stuff on the outside. And at the centre is the real juicy stuff. Maybe you heard “indie pop” and thought there wouldn’t be much substance to it, or saw some humble cinnamon around the outside and thought you were in for a pretty average donut experience. But boom! Jam-filled centre hits you like a ton of bricks.

Someone stop me, I could take this to town.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

One of my favourite memories of making ‘Talk About Us’ was the day producer Maude Minnie Morris and I went crazy with sampling pretty much anything in the studio to build the percussion in this track. We raided the studio kitchen and made shakers from sugar, coffee grinds, coffee machine cleaning powder… whatever we could find. We found that her stainless steel water bottle made a pretty good cowbell too. Every time I listen to the song I just remember us awkwardly shaking sugar up and down. So worth it in the end! I feel like it’s a fairly indicative anecdote of what it’s like when Maude and I are producing something – we’re pretty DIY and always doing something kind of silly until it starts to sound cool.

 

What, or who, inspires you?

So many things inspire me. Thinking back to my last few songs, I had a really strong visual in mind when writing them. I’ll often pull from landscapes, lighting, colours and scenes when framing an idea, particularly in lyrics and production soundscapes. Ultimately a lot of my personal experience weaves its way into my songs, but I always like to challenge myself to build layers on to it that provide a fresh way of presenting those ideas.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Right now, it’s ‘Last Man On The Earth’ by Wolf Alice. I think it’s brilliant and striking. It’s such an evocative track, and when the drums really kick in around 2:10 it’s like a whole world opens up in front of you. Another song I remember feeling this way about when it came out was ‘Strangers’ by Sigrid. Mainly because it seemed like it was just MADE to be played live. When it comes down to it though, I’d so much rather enjoy it as an audience member and fan of Sigrid’s – her energy on stage is like nothing else.

What’s next for you?

I’m always working on new music, and will definitely be putting more out before 2021 is over! My band and I are also currently gearing up for live shows (yet to be announced) and are super excited to get out and play this music.

What’s your scene?

My scene is dancing around your room at 11pm on a Friday night to the likes of Robyn or Troye Sivan, going all out in the follow-through and embracing that melodramatic “main character” energy. Letting whatever heartbreak you’re connecting to in the song overtake, and welcoming the emotional and physical release.

New Zealand’s thrilling indie pop darling Isla Noon has today announced her sparkling new single Talk About Us, an infectious, layered track about trying to reach a partner who has closed themselves off, out July 2.  The exciting new artist has also released a visually stunning video to accompany the song, directed by NZ music industry legend Mareea Vegas (bass player for Veruca salt and Tim Finn, behind the lens for Shapeshifter, Julia Deans (Fur Patrol), Anna Coddington). Talk About Us is the second single from Isla Noon, following her breathtaking debut Summer In August, released last year.

Talk About Us has all the makings of an absolutely classic pop smash – killer chorus, standout vocals, crisp, modern production and playful samples, all working together to inject powerful personality and charm into this striking bop.  It’s like a combination of Maggie Rogers and Carly Rae Jepsen, but there is something electric that is unique to Isla Noon percolating within.  Speaking on the inspiration behind the song, Isla Noon reflects, “On the surface, ‘Talk About Us’ is about trying to reach someone in your life who has become closed off.  It’s confronting, almost melodramatic.  The song leans into the self-consciousness of that situation, the bargaining, the unraveling, the white-knuckled holding-on-so-tight that sees the other person slipping through your fingers.  It can be a fuzzy place emotionally, and if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in that place too. I wrote about it as something I and some close friends around me have experienced at different times in life, not only because it’s such a confronting state to be in but also because it’s kind of beautiful in its vulnerability.”

The clip for Talk About Us is chic, honest and brilliantly reflective of who Isla Noon is as an artist.  It plays with light and energy as she sings alone about trying to reach a partner.  Speaking about the creation of the clip, the pop songstress says, “The song has a melodramatic quality with a raw centre underneath, so we kept it intimate with mostly tight framing, and played on these elements with lighting and my two ‘looks’ in the video.  I had a strong vision in terms of styling and was super fortunate to style myself in an absolute piece of art that is the ‘David Bowie Blouse’ by NZ designer Trelise Cooper, as well as a whole lot of gold glitter thanks to makeup artist Shania Hales.”

 

Talk About Us is the result of a wonderfully vast array of influences – Isla Noon credits her Dad’s love of 60s/70s folk songwriters, her Mum’s passion for the pop and disco of the 70s and 80s, as well as modern icons Robyn, Troye Sivan and MUNA for the brilliant cocktail of inspiration sparking the new single.  This is a thrilling follow up single from this newcomer, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, pop enthusiasts around the globe should be keeping a very close eye on Isla Noon.

Talk About Us is out now via Bigpop Records.

About Mary Boukouvalas 1299 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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