A chat with Taasha Coates - one half of the Audreys - about songwriting, motherhood and good wine.
For Taasha Coates and Tristan Goodall – better known as the triple ARIA award-winning blues/roots band The Audreys – the best music tells a story, evoking real emotions and taking the listener on a journey. After a three-year break from making music, the duo are back with a soulful new album and a national tour lined up this June and July.
We sat down with Taasha to chat about all things music, creativity and living a full and vibrant life...
Your fourth studio album, ‘Til My Tears Roll Away has recently been released. How does it feel?
It’s exciting. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking putting out a new album, but it’s being received really positively and we’re proud of it, and we’re really looking forward to touring with it. It’s been a while since we played with the full band so that will be great. It’s been three and a half years since our last record, because I had a baby so there was a little bit of time there where we weren’t sure if we would keep doing it. But we just felt compelled to go back and write more music. It just sucks you in like that.
What inspires you when you write a song?
I love story and character, as a lyricist I’m really drawn to that. When we write a song we usually think of a character and then talk about them, think about their story and what part of that story we want to tell. Our characters tend to be what we like to call the ‘lovable losers’ – people who have maybe lost their way. In that sense I’m inspired other stories; I’m a big reader and a big movie buff.
How does the collaborative process work for you and Tristan?
We just basically sit down somewhere together with a guitar and pad and paper - it really is that simple. Once we’ve got a melody we like we’ll write nonsense lyrics that fit with the melody, so that we get an idea of the structure. Then we’ll often go down to the pub and have a glass of wine to nut out the story.
Your songs are often quite emotional. Do you find it cathartic to express those feelings through music?
Yes absolutely. It’s also the kind of music I like to listen to. People consume music for different reasons, and I listen to music to feel something, rather than just to want to dance. It’s also partly my instrument – I could write a happy song and it would sound sad. It’s just my voice and I’m sort of stuck with it.
You recently welcomed your first baby into the world. How has having a son changed your life?
In a really nice way. It’s been really grounding, really inspiring, really joyful. Having him is really the best thing I’ve ever done. I used to be just a bit of a rock and roller, living on the road, staying up late, and now my life has a really nice balance. There is something really amazing about being responsible for someone else. It’s really rewarding, and the love you feel for them is absurd. I really reject this silly idea people have about parents being boring, as if once we give birth we’re all suddenly wearing slippers. Every woman who is a mum is different and you’re still the same person after you have a child - you just have this amazing little person in your life.
What do you do to relax and release stress?
I really love films and books, and cooking and drinking wine with friends. Since I’ve had a baby I’ve become a bit more housey. I actually made brownies this morning! I think I used to be afraid of being domestic but it’s really rewarding and enjoyable. All that stuff is really nice if you’re doing it with people you love.
You play a lot of festivals. What is it about that atmosphere that you love?
Part of the reason I love festivals is I love being around other musicians and watching other bands play. One of the problems with being a touring musician is you’re often playing, so you miss going out to gigs, so a festival is a great way to catch up on that.
What are your essentials for healthy, happy and fulfilling life?
Love, wine and music.
The Audreys are touring Australia across June and July 2014. For tickets, tour dates and more information visit theaudreys.com.au