Tell us about your new single ‘Lying Low’?
It was written last year after I jumped the pond from Los Angeles to London.
I was intrepid to say the least and somewhat went into my shell when I was writing the new album. So in many ways I was self isolating way before it was cool. Which probably led this song down a slightly darker path than the rest of the record. And then somehow I worked it into a reality, and the song rang more and more true with every day that passed in 2020.
What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
My first album ‘Cast of Yesterday’. I’d been writing songs for so many years whilst in other bands, and to be able to sit down and go through years of work was one of the most cleansing experiences you could imagine. Paul McKercher and I went through my demos and voice notes and found songs I’d forgotten I’d even written. Then we recorded them and brought them all to life at ‘sing sing’ studios back in 2014. We did it independently and there was no one breathing down our necks or nitpicking songs. Flaws and all, releasing that record gave me a new lease.
How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
Remember ‘Space Food Sticks’?
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
I was recording in Melbourne with a producer from Nashville during the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009. I rang the producer and told him before he left for the studio to give him the heads up that it was going to be 45 degrees in Melbourne today. He walked into the studio visibly uncomfortable in a tracksuit, polar fleece and beanie. He came straight up to me and yelled ‘YOU MEANT FUCKING CELCIUS?!?!’.
What, or who, inspires you?
Everytime I land back home in Melbourne, penniless and often with my tail between my legs. I drive over the Bolte Bridge and see the ‘Melbourne Wheel’ on the horizon. I take a deep breath and think to myself – ‘at least I didn’t build that’.
Which song do you wish you wrote?
Jesus etc – Wilko.
What’s next for you?
Like so many, I’m playing the waiting game. Albeit a little further away from home than most. I really am waiting for my first chance to come home, see my family and hit the road to play some shows.
What’s your scene?
Walking to the ‘G’ with dad.
Alt folk rock troubadour, Tim Wheatley is back with a unique dose of illuminatemelancholy and Australiana, today dropping his deeply personal single, Lying Low. The song is complemented by a fittingly dark and manic video clip that showcases the private suffering and switching of personalities that inspired the song.
Produced and engineered by Michael Badger (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, You Am I, Amyl & The Sniffers) at Jaya Jaya Music in Melbourne, and mixed by ARIA award winning Steven Schram (Paul Kelly, San Cisco), Lying Low tells a tale of darkness with that raw, raspy voice Wheatley is best known for, and his intensely introspective songwriting shines.
“It was the first song I wrote after moving from Los Angeles to London. The adjustment from sunny California to the cobblestone streets of East London was near impossible for me. I wrote this song feeling more isolated than ever, in a new city, away from family and friends, and without the ability to perform live,” explains Wheatley.
“I stopped talking about how hard I was finding it, because I was drowning in other people’s well-intended but cookie cutter advice. I was going stir crazy in my own company all day and night. It was a true test for my mental health, I was suffering and switching up a few different sides of my personality trying to find the one that could best get me through each situation. It was exhausting ‘getting out there’ and making new friends, for some reason during this period I felt I needed to keep to myself to get to the other side.”
Directed and filmed by Ben Cook (Bombay Bicycle Club, Bring Me The Horizon) at the Sony Music Studios in Sydney in the midst of the bushfires raging across the country, the video’s intent was to demonstrate the solitude and strain the move had on Wheatley. “We wanted it to be frantic and dark, but ultimately strong enough to stand on its own,” says Wheatley. “Ben and I deliberately went in to the filming of the video wanting to capture something completely unrehearsed and candid with nothing but a light and his new Super8 camera, and possibly a bottle of scotch.”
Despite not being written during or about the current global isolation situation, Wheatley insights, “In more ‘normal’ release circumstances, this song – that is now a year old – would be a memory, or about a circumstance that has since passed. But this time, ‘Lying Low’ is somehow becoming more relevant by the day. Either that or I’m stuck on a carousel.”
Lying Low is out now through Sony Music Entertainment Australia.