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Sophie Mashlan Shares Debut Album 'Perfect Disaster' + Interview

Sophie Mashlan Shares Debut Album 'Perfect Disaster' + Interview

Interview by Annabel Kean / Tuesday 23rd April, 2019 10:26AM

Rising Auckland songwriter Sophie Mashlan has put her best foot forward with her keenly anticipated debut album Perfect Disaster, and is celebrating in style with a wide-ranging national tour kicking off tonight at Anthology Lounge. At nineteen years old the youthful artist has already attracted considerable acclaim from Aotearoa's folk music community, leading to support slots with such notables as California surfer / songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter on his 2018 New Zealand tour and Australia's Vance Joy. Mashlan's new album was recorded by Lyttelton legend Ben Edwards, who’s worked with local heroes Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding and Nadia Reid. The ten track collection is a lushly recorded showcase for Mashlan's emotive vocals and carefully crafted lyricism, with oft-delicate instrumentation walking a fine line between folk / country reverence and contemporary indie-pop. Annabel Kean caught up with the songwriter for a short email interview about the genesis of her debut long-player – scope out the tour details here, stream Perfect Disaster and read Mashlan's commentary below...

Sophie Mashlan

Tuesday 23rd April - Anthology Lounge, Auckland*
Thursday 2nd May - Nivara Lounge, Hamilton*
Wednesday 8th May - The Incubator, Tauranga*
Thursday 9th May - Paisley Stage, Napier (opening for Julia Deans)
Saturday 11th May - Secret Spot, Nelson*
Thursday 16th May - Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru*
Friday 17th May - Sherwood, Queenstown*
Saturday 18th May - Lyttelton Records, Christchurch*
Sunday 19th May - Dog With Two Tails, Dunedin

Tickets available HERE via UTR*

What is it about the folk / country genre that draws you to it? Will that always be your genre?

I think I like how it never sounds like it's trying too hard. It's beautiful because the instrumentation is natural and pure, and not too heavily produced. I'm not sure what the future holds, but I am really attracted to organic instruments. I'd be interested in experimenting a bit though, and seeing if I can create something more hybridised between many styles yet distinctively 'Sophie Mashlan'.

You’ve toured with some pretty big names - Donavon Frankenreiter, Vance Joy, Boyce Avenue. What have you learnt from working with them?

I've learned that it's really hard work and that it takes a lot to do this. Back to back dates of touring, late nights, all that, it's draining and you have to be healthy and resilient. People always think musicians must go around drinking and partying every night after their shows, but so far nobody that I have played with has done that, because it's just not sustainable.

How did you get connected with Ben Edwards? Had you been wanting to work with him?

A good friend of mine knew him and sent me his details. I had heard of lots of artists he has worked with over the years and loved their sounds so I was really excited to get his details. I sent him some demos and he liked them and the rest is history.

You talked to NZ Herald recently and said “I am reluctant to let other people into my art”. Why’s that?

I feel like it won't become mine if other people put their hands into it. There's not much that actually makes me happy, so writing songs and performing them is one of the biggest joys I get in life. So if I was singing a song I was only vaguely involved in creating, I think that it would take that joy away. I never sing covers for that exact reason, I just don't get any happiness from it. I want people to be involved in my art in other ways though - I'm an incredibly open book so I want to let them in in that respect. I want everyone to feel it, and create their own ideas about what it's about. People can understand me through my music, and get to know my truth. That's why I want it to always be my truth, and not the truth of a room full of executives telling me I need a song about taking drugs... because I don't do that and that would be inauthentic to me.

Your album Perfect Disaster will feature songs you’ve written over several years, the earliest from when you were 15. Do you still connect with songs you wrote then?

Absolutely 100%. Sure, the lyrics and writing might be a little more juvenile, but who really cares. I was young but I was still very in tune with what I felt, and sometimes I get surprised at how much I can still relate what's happening to me now to something written four years ago. Sometimes when things happen to me, I listen to those songs and realise that they could just as perfectly mean what I'm going through currently as much as they meant what they did in 2015.


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Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Tue 23rd Apr 8:00pm
Anthology Lounge, Auckland
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Thu 2nd May 8:00pm
Nivara Lounge, Hamilton
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Wed 8th May 7:00pm
The Incubator, Tauranga
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Sat 11th May 8:00pm
Secret Spot, Nelson
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Thu 16th May 8:00pm
Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Fri 17th May 8:00pm
Sherwood, Queenstown
Sophie Mashlan Perfect Disaster Album Tour 2019
Sat 18th May 8:00pm
Lyttelton Records, Christchurch