Music | March 15 2017

Since we last caught up with Lisa Spencer (aka Aeora), the Melbourne musician has been up to quite a bit. She’s toured the east coast of Australia, released a remix for ‘Afloat’, and written a bunch of new music from her dreamy-sounding home studio. All the while juggling a Science degree, from which she will graduate mid-year.

Aeora has developed a stunning talent for transferring her country and pop influences to her own dark electronic pop, most recently demonstrated on her newest single, ‘Boss-y’. The song’s lyrics—sharp, stormy and emotionally on-point—struck a chord with me, and I felt there was timeliness to her writing. There is a sense that her music is not only deeply personal for the artist, it has the potential to resonate with elements within our current culture.

Here, Lisa riffs on writing music from her bedroom, opening up to collaboration, and teaching herself to yodel.

Where did the name Aeora come from, and when did you adopt it?

Well, long story short, I chose the name Aura (because I think my music gives off most of the emotions I feel), but then I decided to change it to Aeora, mostly because I liked the way it looked and how it sounded. Was kind of inspired by the brand ‘Aesop’!

I read that as a teenager you were influenced by country singing techniques and strong female vocalists. I’d love to hear more about that. How did you get into country? Who were your main influences?

I studied a different kind of music in high school, where we had to choose a topic we wanted to focus on and explore throughout the year. At the time I was hugely into Taylor Swift – first her country music and then how she crossed-over into pop music. So, I chose to study Singer/songwriters in country/pop music. Favourites were Dolly Parton (obvious favourite song is Jolene) and probably Shania Twain. During the year I also had to learn some techniques used in the genres, and so I taught myself how to yodel. I still use that technique, so that’s cool. And I also really liked learning about the simplicity of pop music, and how it could be emotional and yet make you sing loud and proud.

I love in your single ‘Boss-y’ how you ask questions of yourself, like And why do I say sorry / When I ask for something… I often ask myself the same question. Do you think it has an answer? Is there a reason behind women’s chronic-apologising?

Yeah definitely. I don’t think it is exclusively a women’s problem, I think it stems from a lot of insecurity – we’re afraid to ask something of someone, or ask for a better life or better job or better pay or better friends or whatever it is, because we feel we’re not good enough for it. At least that’s how I feel. But I think if we’re even able to talk about it, we’re probably realising the changes we need to make in order for us to feel more confident about ourselves.

What is your songwriting process? Do you enjoy working on your own? At what point to collaborators step in?

Up until last week I worked exclusively I had only written by myself, but I’m now opening up to the idea of collaborating with more and more people.

At first it was really scary, but I soon realised it was awesome! Haha. I still think I like writing music by myself – but I think that has something to do with how personal my music is and how insecure I can be about opening up sometimes.

Who are some artists you’d like to collaborate with?

Ayelle, JOY, Ramsey, Mallrat, Peking Duk, Japanese Wallpaper. I could ramble on with this.

I hear you work from a home studio. What’s that like? At what point do you take it out of the bedroom and into a polished form (so to speak)?

It’s good! I love that I have my own space where I just write and play music. I pretty much just work on a song until it sounds like a full song and that’s when I start polishing it up – usually I write a verse or chorus or something on the piano and then start building it on my computer. I usually send my manager and boyfriend like 10 versions of different parts, or updated parts etc. and I get her feedback. I think its important to show songs to people before its finished because it makes you think about all the things you want to change or all the things you love about it.

You’ve started the year boldly with the release of ‘Boss-y’ – what do you see and want for the rest of your year, both music and life-wise? 

I want to release a few more songs – ones that I’ve been working on the past few months and I think is some of my best stuff yet. I want to improve my production skills, so I’ll be learning a lot. I’m off to Canada in April so I really hope the show goes well. And in general life stuff, I’m graduating my science degree in the middle of the year and so I hope to focus more of my time on music. I miss music a lot when I’m busy with Uni, so I really can’t wait to have that time with music again. So it kind of all revolves around music this year.

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