Hi Ziggy! Thanks so much for doing this interview with us! You’ve recently released the single heartbeat; what was the inspiration behind writing this song?
heartbeat is a song about how love brings us together no matter how far we are apart. It started off as a breakup song - hence the chorus - but turned into a story of hope and trust on a summer tour, discovering new parts of who I was along the way. The chorus and verses play off each-other, talking about the past and present, finding resolution in the common thread of all good things - love. I think the pursuit and embodiment of love is so important.
The song sounds so positive and the lyrics of this song contain so many happy memories; it isn’t until the first chorus that we learn the song is actually about heartbreak and missing someone as opposed to a current relationship. Was the plan always to create a song showing the positivity in heartbreak or was this something that happened naturally?
It was something that happened naturally - in fact it wasn't something I'd considered until you've raised it now (haha). Though I'm stoked if this is something that people take away from the song! I love how people can create their own meaning in songs that the artist hadn't even considered.
How important do you think it is that we try and focus on the good in what can feel like entirely negative situations, as you have done in heartbeat?
Lately, I've been discussing with my partner and friends about perspective; it is incredible how many painful experiences turned out to be such a gift in my journey. I don't think we need to try and necessarily turn a negative into a positive, but rather, step back and ask ourselves how we will view the same situation months or years later. Often when I do that, I've found my take on the same situation is much more accurate.
Together – another single from the album – has the feel of a protest anthem. The song touches on so many important issues and contrasts the negativity of naming some of the major problems in the world with the message that we should unite and work together to make real change. What was it at the time that inspired you to write this song?
This was the first song I wrote for searching for freedom, before the album was really even a concept. I wrote the first verse for this song years ago, perhaps as far back as 2015, and I couldn't find the rest of the song until the last days of December in 2019 - I wrote it in the hotel room where I was staying while playing a festival in New Zealand. It was during the massive summer fires in Australia, and I just felt this deep need to express the power of unity and the power of people when we stand together against any kind of disaster. And what has been overwhelmingly obvious was when my country was on fire, people used their differences to help each other. And we as the people of the world need to understand and continue to grow a sense of unity in a time when we are encouraged now more than ever to be fearful of these differences. Deep down, many of our underlying fundamental values are all the same - and these are the ones we are coming together to protect for our next generations.
Having released it in January of 2020 – before COVID -19 became such a global issue – do you feel the song has taken on even more meaning after its release as the year has progressed?
Absolutely. It could not be more relevant.
heartbeat and together are from your upcoming album searching for freedom – what do you hope people get from the album when they listen to it?
I hope people listen to it and are inspired to heal. I hope it can be a part of other people’s healing journey and opening their heart to continue their search for freedom in these challenging times. To break free from fear. When we all break free from fear, I believe the world is better off and we are kinder to each other as a result.
Can you tell us a bit more about the new album? What does the project mean to you and what kind of themes can we look forward to hearing on there?
This album means so much to me and I can't wait for it to be out in the world with the people because making music for the people is one of my biggest motivations. As for themes, I don't want to give too much away - but I'll say that I think the pursuit of love and freedom connects everyone on the planet, and it has never been more important than now.
These projects can obviously take a long time – what was the process of putting this album together like and how are you feeling in anticipation of releasing it?
These songs were written over the last 5 years, and the recording process was really unique. I usually smash out my studio time with long hours over just a couple weeks - but with all my touring cancelled - I was in the studio a couple days a week for 3 seasons. It gave me time to write songs and develop a sonic theme for the album that otherwise just wouldn't have had the time to mature.
The new album searching for freedom comes in an exciting time for yourself in which you have received praise from critics and seen your profile grow – how much does it mean to you to see more and more people enjoying what you do and what do you hope for in the next few years?
I hope that my fans are healthy and happy, that my loved ones are healthy and happy, and that I am healthy and happy. I hope everybody can return to being with their loved ones. That would be everything I could possibly ask for.
Finally, one thing we ask all of our interviewees is to name their top three songs that relate to mental health. What would be your top three?
1. Keep Your Head Up - Ben Howard
2. Only Love - Ben Howard
3. Love Is All I Got - Crystal Fighters