Aotearoa local Reb Fountain's been making the most of lockdown, but her album release tour has had to be rescheduled to later this year. Nevertheless, she's releasing her new self-titled album this week through Flying Nun, and has a new single out to boot. We catch up with her to find out more.
1. Describe your sound in one sentence.
I've been writing a song a day during lockdown and it's made me realise it's hard to pin down my songwriting to one specific genre. In many ways it's the audience who chooses "who we are" as artists and I think that's why I've been tagged as an indie-folk-noir punk-alt-pop-country artist … I'm sure that's only the beginning ….
2. How does your new album represent a step forward for you?
I woke up one morning and knew I wanted to make a record and for Dave Khan to produce it. Dave and I have played music together for years but collaborating with him as producer was part of a deliberate, considered approach to the record as a whole. Dave is an ideas man, a stalwart musical director and accomplished musician. His production guidance along with the support of NZ's head engineer/producer Simon Gooding meant that my songs had space to flourish within the music. Working in partnership with Dave, Simon, and my whole team has allowed me - a very staunch independent woman - to grow and commit to my music in a whole new way - I am truly grateful for my people.
3. Do you have a favourite track on the album, what is it and why?
I love different songs on different days and for different reasons. Every time I perform I get to inhabit these tunes in a new way and I feel great reverence for them as creatures in their own right. Right now I'd say my favourite song off the record is Lighthouse because it's about connection and remembering to reach out when you need it the most. We've all been struggling to process the enormous changes in our lives and it's vital that we continue to care about our mental health and wellbeing whilst managing the logistics of this pandemic. I hope this song provides some light to folks who need it ... I know I do.
4. Besides, perhaps, other music or musicians, what do you consider a great influence on your songwriting?
The complex nature of the human condition … endless inspiration.
5. What most excites you about music at the moment?
Music is so accessible - you can find songs released today through to recordings over 100 years old, styles from across the globe in all languages, anything from Bob Dylan to Kid Cudi to Marina Satti. We are so privileged to be surrounded by such a plethora of sound ... all good reasons to expand our horizons.
6. What one change would you like to see in the music industry?
A national strategy for funding music venues. Artists needs places to perform and develop their artistry and audiences need spaces to congregate and be entertained – venues are vital to the health of our music industry. It's time we took responsibility for maintaining the health and wellbeing of our entertainment industry by supporting these community spaces so we can all have access to our favourite artists and support them to grow and succeed.
7. It's scheduled to be an election year in the US and NZ. What are your hopes for both countries?
I'm more into action than hope right now … it seems the best way to get where we want to go is to set a course and head in that direction rather than waiting around for a ride. As a US citizen I'll be voting for Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee with the aim of removing a despot from the White House. Here in New Zealand I'll be voting for Jacinda.
8. You can only listen to one album for the rest of your life. What is it?
Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
9. If you could choose any artist to record an album of Reb Fountain covers, who would it be?
10. You're curating your dream music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead.
Sharon Van Etten
Marlon Williams and The Yarra Benders
Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass
Lhasa de sal
• Reb Fountain's self-titled album is out now, including new single Don't You Know Who I Am. The album will be available on vinyl and CD from June 26.
Reb Fountain's rescheduled album release tour dates:
Raglan - Yot Club - Fri Oct 23
Tauranga - Jam Factory - Sat Oct 24
Gisborne - The Dome - Sun Oct 25
Hastings - Hawke's Bay Opera House - Fri Oct 30
Wellington - Meow - Sat Oct 31
Wairarapa - Cannon Heath - Sun Nov 1
Christchurch - Cassels Blue Smoke - Fri Nov 6
Dunedin - Port Chalmers Town Hall - Sat Nov 7
Queenstown - Sherwood - Sun Nov 8
Auckland - Wine Cellar - Fri Nov 13
Auckland - Wine Cellar - Sat Nov 14
Leigh - Leigh Sawmill - Sat Nov 21