Catalyst had the chance to chat to lead singer Stacey Cicivelli about the latest single, the new EP, Self Talk’s songwriting process, and the western suburbs.
I’d like to start off by getting straight into your latest track, ‘Bedside Dictionary’. What was the inspiration behind it?
Stacey: It’s a reflection on really short relationships that kind of don’t get very far – but they still affect you when they end. Kind of like missing something that you never had. I guess when I started writing it, I never really set out to write about something in particular – but that was what I had in my head.
Is that how your song process works more generally? You don’t really sit down and think ‘I’m going to write about this,’ you kind of judge it based on what you’re thinking about at the time?
Yeah, that’s totally it. I don’t sit down and go ‘ok! I’m gonna write a song about heartbreak!’ or something like that, I guess I just get lyrics in my head and interpret what they are.
I know that you guys are working on a video for it as well. Could you tell us a bit about how that came together? Or how it’s coming together at the moment?
The video is still in the really early stages so I can’t even give you any info about it! We haven’t even filmed it yet so we’re just kinda chatting to the director and getting it all sorted. It’s really early stages, which I guess is surprising since it’s coming out pretty soon. It’ll get done, I promise!
UPDATE 7/8/17 – The video is out now! Check it out below.
Looking forward to it! I wanted to ask, I noticed in your ‘Clean Washing’ video – pretty early on, I saw a snippet of the Moonee Valley Leader – are you guys from the area? Because I live up the road!
Yeah, we’re all from the western suburbs. I grew up in Essendon, so yeah we all live around those kinds of suburbs! (laughs)
You know, it’s funny, when I watch that video I wonder if anyone will notice that we’re using this shitty local paper – so it’s funny that you mention that!
Back to the track itself, ‘Bedside Dictionary’ – it comes off your upcoming EP, Almost Everything. We’ve also heard ‘Old Habits’ which you released back in April. Overall, how do you think the upcoming EP compares to your debut?
I think to us it feels like a bit of a step forward. I don’t think it’s a whole different sound or anything, like it’s a pretty good representation of Self Talk, or what we like to think we sound like. Lots of guitars, guitar layers, synths, lots of harmonies and hopefully lots of hooks. I feel like we conjure up pretty catchy songs so that’s kind of all there. But yeah, I guess we’ve just been doing it a little bit longer together so the whole process is a little bit smoother, and I feel like I’ve progressed as a singer so I can hear a difference in my vocals – I don’t know if other people will notice – but yeah, it’s kind of similar, it’s just the next level up for us.
And there’s a few more subtle songs. Seeing What I Want To See was pretty punchy and in your face, pretty loud most of the time – whereas this one has a couple more quiet moments on it as well.
I read in the press release for ‘Bedside Dictionary’ that Self Talk plays with a ‘90s influenced wistfulness’. I can certainly see that coming through in your sound, so I was wondering if that’s an era that you draw a lot of inspiration from?
Yeah – a lot of people have said that to us! I think that line came from something that someone wrote about us, but it’s not necessarily something that we set out to do. I really love that because I love music from the 90s, and maybe subconsciously there’s a lot of influence coming from there. So yeah, definitely.
I’m loving the cover art for Almost Everything as well, it makes me think of going to carnivals as a kid, primary school fetes and all that kind of stuff. Is that the kind of look that you were going for with the cover?
I just trawled through images online for hours trying to find something, and I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I was kind of waiting for something to jump out at me, and that one really did. I just love that it’s a really old photo, first of all. I think it’s from the 70s or something, and it’s this 1970s mum with this joyous look on her face. How often do you see a mum on a big slide? It’s just perfect. I love that it gives you that vibe. It’s sounding like nothing we do is intentional! (laughs) I just really like the look of that photo. Instantly, I fell in love with it. Had to have it.
With the vibe that comes from the photo, is that the sound that you’re looking to get out of the EP? Does it reflect that at all?
I guess so! I think maybe there’s a little more depth to our lyrics than that, but we do tend to write poppy songs that are hopefully really catchy. I love songs with big hooks in them, and big choruses, so I tend to try and put that into my music as well. So yeah, in that sense we love writing songs that are really fun to play live, and get stuck in people’s heads, and are hopefully really fun to sing along to as well.
That’s all the questions I had, is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I think you’ve covered everything. But we’ve got our tour coming up! We’re doing five shows – Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra. We’ve never played Brisbane before, so that’s exciting. We’re doing it with this band from Brisbane called Brief Habits – they’re really lovely guys, we’ve played with them before, in their previous band. They just put out an album that we really like so we just hit them up to see if they wanted to come on tour with us, and they were really keen! So we’re looking forward to it, it should be fun.
SAT 12 AUG @ THE OLD BAR, MELBOURNE (18+) FRI 18 AUG @ THE PHOENIX, CANBERRA (18+) SAT 19 AUG @ THE RECORD CRATE, SYDNEY (18+) FRI 25 AUG @ CROWN AND ANCHOR, ADELAIDE (18+) SAT 26 AUG @ THE MILK FACTORY, BRISBANE (18+)