Q&A Scene: SAGE

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

Tethered is an EP of cello-fuelled, ethereal folk-pop music. It’s out now, so you can listen for yourself and verify that! I wrote these five songs about events and personality traits that were holding me back in life, in the hopes that I’d get some clarity and closure so I could move forward. From Dust is the first single off of the EP and has a gorgeous music video to accompany it, shot on 8mm film by Hugo Rose. Making the video was probably one of the best parts about this whole process! 

I’ve got a show coming up on March 28th at Commonfolk in my hometown, Mornington. It’s going to be really special because it’s the first time I’ll have played Tethered in full. Plus, there are new songs on the set, I’m playing with an awesome band, and have the amazing Sam O’Connell supporting me on the night. This is the show to get to! 

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

Chocolate. It’s smooth and rich because of all that cello and drama. Sometimes it’s light and bubbly in line with those ethereal vocals and production. Other times it’s full of crunchy harmonies. Whatever the taste, it tastes good! 

Which of your songs resonate most strongly and why?

Wanderlust. I wrote this song when I was 16 years old after a trip to Europe. It’s about getting out of my comfort zone and seeking adventure. I guess it’s eye opening how easily I forget this life lesson because I definitely slipped back into old habits in the last 10 years and hid away from a lot of opportunities to grow. This song is the last on the album; the triumph song. It’s a good reminder for me to keep putting myself in uncomfortable yet amazing situations. It symbolises the kind of daily life I’d like to live, turning daydreams into reality with someone special on my team. 

Tell us a quick, on the road, anecdote.

Okay, so this is when I was playing cello in the band for a Woodes show last year. I was pretty psyched about the whole event, and Woodes always dresses to the nines, so I went out and bought myself a new outfit which included this long-sleeved mesh top with velvet spots all over it. Very chic. It got to like 45 minutes before our set and I figured I should get dressed. I soon realised I had left the undershirt at home and it was looking like I was going to walk on stage with a completely see-through top on! Just a tad embarrassing for a conservative girl like me. There was a mad dash through Brunswick and thankfully I managed to find a black Bonds sports bra at Woolworths before racing back to the venue. That, plus the fact that I play an instrument basically as big as me that covers everything, meant crisis averted and lesson learnt!   

Where do you draw inspiration from?

There are three places it usually comes from; my own life, putting myself in the shoes of someone else’s, or hearing a cool phrase in conversation. Tethered was definitely more of the first, and intentionally so. Writing about yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do though. Sometimes I just don’t know how I feel, like alone how to sing about it. 

Recently I was in Canada at a songwriting residency and everything I wrote there was based on my surroundings. It was really interesting to see how the music changed when I was put in such a different environment. There’s something about snow falling silently outside your window that sets a songwriting vibe I just don’t get on the Mornington Peninsula. Personal hut in the woods and grand piano? Yes, thank you!   

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Wow, there are so many! Summer Girl from the by Fleurie is the first that comes to mind. Basically her whole Fear & Fable EP! There’s such a beautiful ease to this song. I totally adore all of the inflection in her voice, and the way she delivers her lyrics. The line “I feel pretty when you stare across the room at me” is such a tender, vivid image. The production is so simple and understated. I love singing this song, it’s so powerful in its vulnerability. She’s such a huge inspiration for me! Gushing over everything she does. 

What’s next for you?

I don’t know, and I love that! There’s been so much planning over the last while that I’m keen for some downtime. That’s not to say that I don’t have things working away on the sidelines though. I hope to get more music out towards the end of the year, and tour the EP. You’ll be sure to see my name pop up again soon!

What’s your scene?

Pretty cliche, but walking on the beach with my thoughts or a hand in mine. I love living on the Mornington Peninsula because every day off feels like a mini holiday. You could also find me on the hunt for the best hot chocolate in Melbourne.   

Ethereal cellist and singer-songwriter Sage has released her debut single From Dust, a gorgeous, introspective meander made especially for soulmates.  Accompanying this stunning track is a beautiful, nostalgic video, shot in collaboration with director Hugo Rose (Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird).  From Dust is the first taste of Sage’s upcoming EP Tethered, a collection of gentle yet striking songs for cleansing the soul, was released on February 27.

For fans of Laura Marling and classic folk auteur Joni Mitchell, From Dust is a soft bed to fall into after a long hard day.  Enchanting and delicate, this song allows space for Sage’s elegant vocal to feature front and centre, while her adroit cello playing provides a warm glow that eminates throughout.  Speaking on the inspiration behind From Dust, Sage says, “This song is about soulmates, innocence, memories, and endless love.  It’s one of those miracle songs that was written in no time at all by myself in my run-down apartment.  When I sing this song, I think about the movie Stardust.  At the end of the film the two star-crossed lovers, having lived a full and beautiful life together, pass away and become stars in the sky, their love living on forever and shining over everyone.  There’s longing involved, but also hope.”  The film clip for From Dust is a perfect visual representation of the track – pretty, graceful, and sentimental, with a ‘70s film-camera flair. 

Tethered is an exquisite collection of songs from this inimitable artist.  Like a nostalgic fairytale, these songs unfurl themselves flawlessly; from the pizzicato of All My Lost Loves, to the sweet, strings-infused pop of The Loveliest Thing, Tethered is a glorious, sun-soaked triumph of arresting folk-pop.  Reflecting on the concept behind the songs on Tethered, Sage explains, “This EP was a cleansing process of feelings I wanted to get out of my system through music.  The concept behind Tethered was to write a collection of songs about things that can hold us back and keep us tethered to our place in life, in the hopes of understanding these experiences and learning to let go.  Feeling stuck is a terrible thing so I always try to change and improve.”  Fellow cellist Richard Vaudrey (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sammy J, Anna Cordell) was the producer and audio and mix engineer throughout the recording process, and was a gem in the studio, as Sage notes, “I knew I had to work with Richard because he embodies so many things I wanted to do as an independent artist.  Having an engineer who is also a singer-songwriter-cellist like myself was so useful in the studio and nothing ever got lost in translation between us.

From Dust is out now!

Tethered is out NOW!







About Mary Boukouvalas 1534 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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