When I first met Montaigne it was pouring down rain and we were standing outside Oxford Art Factory before the Dew Process Label Party. She was one of the coolest, carefree, fun and a little geeky people that I had every talked to and she was such an excitable ball of energy. Now a few months later and after performing on her own headliner tour and now gearing up for another (yeah that’s right she’s got two headliners in one year… praise the ground she walks on). Before that however we did a Q&A with her about her new track Clip My Wings and of course Harry Potter.

HEY MONTAIGNE!!!!!! How is your fantastic self today?
Pretty fantastic heh!

You’re music video like legit just came out for Clip My Wings. It’s very Björk esque in it’s feel. Talk me through it, where did the whole idea come from?
I actually thought about the music video for this song a lot. The last video didn’t come from my brain at all, Guy and the team gave me the proposal and I accepted because I liked it, but I wanted to have more input and a bit more control this time, so I thought about it hard.
At first I had an idea I adapted from Woodkid’s video for Run Boy Run, where I would be running continuously down stairs and the scenery around me would morph, much like Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’, but instead of it being a journey through time it would be a journey through the earth’s strata. I think that’s a cool video idea to file away for later but it didn’t quite suit this song. After that, I was thinking about Kingdom Hearts and how I really liked the idea of falling both literally and figuratively, and I like the surreality of this one sequence in the introductory sequence from the first game, which is what I sent to Guy. I referenced a whole bunch of short clips from that game. With that I explained my conception of an action sequence/narrative. Guy & John took that on board, fiddled around with things including the setting, and sent back the outline for the video which is now online! Kingdom Hearts is very important to me.

When you were writing the track what were the vibes you were going through in the progress, it seems quite raw.
Lots of indignation, lots of frustration. I was beating myself up over the fact that I was getting so angry about this thing, usually I’m very calm about most anything and try to conduct myself with graceful equanimity at all times but this particular was ruining that for me, was messing with my perception of myself, was messing with my mental health, with my life, with my relationship at the time, with everything. I was very upset the day I wrote the song. I’d ranted to Tony about it beforehand we got started so he knew where it was coming from as well.

Have you ever thought of doing a mash up of your track and Delta Goodrem’s “Wings”? I think it would totally work.
Haha I don’t think I’d do it myself but if someone wants to make that happen then I totally give my permission! I hadn’t heard that song until you mentioned it now and it’s pretty good!

After “The Life Of Montaigne” Ep and Tour did you want to take a break and have some free time or was it like a runaway train and you just had to keep going?
I always want to keep going. Though, by the end of that tour my voice wasn’t in very good shape due to lack of poor self-maintenance and weather (it was the week of the Sydney Storm, thank god the storm ended the day before shows started). But now I know better how to maintain my voice so I could go for days if someone would give me the chance.

Apart from Clip My Wings do you have any other tracks finished?
None others that are mastered and mixed and fully recorded, but at the moment there are about 10 others that have been pre-produced and exist in produced demo form. I have like, at least 100 other songs that I’ve written but haven’t had that treatment yet.

From all the material that you write how do you decide on what tracks going to be a single?

Whichever one sounds the best I guess! Something with hooks, something that people are going to be catching themselves singing along to.

What’s a track got to have to stand out and demand it’s spotlight for you?
For me? Really powerful vocals, a hugeness created usually by strings or soaring electric guitar sounds or dramatic percussion. A solid beat will always help greatly. I really like arpeggiated riffs, like in Mix Tape by Big Scary, I really like songs with lyrics so forthcoming it’s confronting, like FKA Twigs’ stuff or Marina and the Diamonds. I really like songs which play on post-apocalyptic themes like the Linkin Park record A Thousand Suns, or on political dissent like much of Arcade Fire’s stuff or even Muse. I like things that are very visceral, things that evoke feelings which can only be evoked by music.

You’ll be off on tour again soon, are you super psyched to be back on the road?
The simple answer is yes. Yes, so much.

Is it going to be a full band set up or more intimate performances?
Full band. Almost always full band. It has to be big! Huge! People need to feel the emotions that come with articulated walls of sound! I’m going to beat people’s hearts up with my music, it’ll be amazing.

Do you feel more comfortable performing with a band verses solo?
I feel comfortable doing both, though going solo means I have no choice but to play an instrument and sing at the time so I prefer to play with a band because then I can just sing, or at least sing exclusively more often than playing and singing.

Can I expect any surprises from the tour? Confetti cannons? Giant set of wings perhaps? Some dancing?
Well, I gyrate in an unsexy way. I don’t know how surprising that will be really. Maybe I’ll throw in surprises, we’ll see.

Is it hard to be on the road? I feel like you haven’t really slowed down much this year? Do you get much free time?

Laneway Festival announces it’s lineup soon… might we be seeing you on a festival circuit next year?
Ha, I have no idea. Probably. Maybe? There’s a possibility. I have to wait for a lot of people to approve things and don’t get told until right at the end of the decision most of the time, until I get frustrated and demand to know what’s going on.

What’s the dream venue? Is it a huge stadium or an intimate pub gig??
Why would it be an intimate pub gig?? I could play that whether I were Florence Welch or a Beatles cover band. Your dream venue should be the mark of your greatest aspiration, and my greatest aspiration is to do what I do full time, and for the ears of a lot of people. I saw Coldplay tour in 2012 on their Mylo Xyloto tour and they played what was at the time I think Sydney Football Stadium? It was huge. HUGE. That is the dream.

If you weren’t a musician, what would your dream career be?
Probably being on the film crew for Attenborough docos.

Now… lets have some fun. When I met you at the OAF earlier in the year we talked about Harry Potter so I know you’re a fan. So lets do some Harry Potter related questioning for shits and giggles.
I read all the questions before I started answering them and I was SO ANTICIPATING THIS PART, THANK YOU this makes me so happy.

What house do you think the sorting hat would place you in and why?
WELL IN FACT, Pottermore sorted me first at age 17 into Slytherin, and then at age 18 into Hufflepuff. I think Hufflepuff makes more sense to me. I have courage, and ambition, and intelligence, but not more than I have love and loyalty for people, not more than I am a gentle soul. I have strong empathy centres, I am a caretaker. That being said I am also quite self-centred! I think about myself a lot, as well myself in relation to other people, so I think Slytherpuff kinda makes sense for me.

In the Battle Of Hogwarts where would we find you?
Haha oh man. Probably by the beds of the injured or dead, tending to people. I don’t have the constitution for violence or conflict, and even if it isn’t the most pragmatic thing to prioritise, I always think about duties that have been neglected, like doing dishes that are flooding the kitchen at a cafe.

Which Harry Potter Character do you most identify with?
Harry, if only because of this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 8.45.53 pm

A Death Eater has you cornered, what would you do?

Probably die hahahahahaha.

What form would your patronous take?

Well, I’d like for it to be the Taiwan Blue magpie but one of my friends says it should be a giraffe, because I have a long neck.

If you were Voldemort what would be your Horcruxes and where would you hide them?

Voldemort’s massive flaw was his pride, and so he chose seven prized possessions/objects as his horcruxes, which was flippin’ stupid because then you could work that shit out. I would choose like a hair comb or a pair of underwear that’s stained with period blood or something like that, no one’s gonna touch that shit and I’ll live forever.

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