Rachel Collis The Remains of the Day Interview

Rachel Collis The Remains of the Day Interview

Rachel Collis The Remains of the Day Interview

It's only been two years since the release of the critically acclaimed Nightlight, and Rachel Collis is gearing up for the release of her third studio album, The Remains of the Day. The Sydney indie-folk-rock songstress burst onto the scene in 2012, compelling audiences with her ethereal and tender live performances. The Remains of the Day is a 10-track record that once again gives an intimate look into Rachel's psyche, offering breathtaking vocals and fragile lyricism.

A classically trained pianist and vocalist, Rachel has a German/Linguistics degree and a Masters of Music in Composition and Music Production from the Australian Institute of Music. She has performed nationally, including several appearances at the acclaimed Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Rachel Collis' third album The Remains of the Day was released independently on Monday 24th October 2016.

For more information, please visit www.rachelcollis.com

Interview with Rachel Collis

Question: How would you describe The Remains of the Day?

Rachel Collis: Sound-wise, it's a blend of folk and rock elements.

Song-wise, the songs are honest and heartfelt, and filled with emotion and story.

Question: What was your main inspiration for The Remains of the Day?

Rachel Collis: Years ago, before I met him, my husband wrote a song called 'The Remains Of The Day". He had just seen the film adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, 'The Remains Of The Day" and was impressed by the brevity and fragility of life that he wrote the song. He used to play it to me when we were dating. Earlier this year I asked him if he could grab his guitar and play the song for me again. I hadn't heard it in years, but of all the songs he wrote in his youth, this one had really stayed with me. After he played it for me again, I asked him if I could record it. He nearly fell off his chair, he was so thrilled!

I made that track the title song of the album because I felt it captured a theme that runs through almost all of my songs – the preciousness of life and of making the most of the time we have.

Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your motivation?

Rachel Collis: I write and co-write. In fact, 5 of the songs on the new album were co-written with one of my closest friends – Peta van Drempt. Peta and I did our Masters in Music together, and share a passion, not only for songwriting in general, but for writing a certain kind of song. I'm a strong believer that 2 heads are better than one. I had co-written with Peta before this project (3 of the songs on my previous album, Nightlight, were written with Peta), but I tended only to go to her as a last resort if I got stuck. This time I wanted to sit down with her right from the start. It's so tempting to try to do everything yourself, but I think it's really only our egos that make us want to persist alone! And ultimately, although I do still sometimes write alone, I think collaborative writing is probably best practice. It certainly increases productivity!

Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?

Rachel Collis: I love female singer/songwriters. I listen to Brooke Fraser, Kate Miller-Heidke and Missy Higgins. I grew up listening to Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos and Amy Grant, and also love the 'great" songwriters from the previous generation – Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Kate Bush. I'm also a big fan of country music and listen to Darius Rucker, Kasey Chambers, Vince Gill, and the Dixie Chicks.

Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?

Rachel Collis: Once the album promo is done, I will be doing some shows early next year, including a show on March 3 Riverside Theatres in Parramatta. I'm not much of a touring artist though. I'm very much more a 'new industry" type where I've built my fan-base through the internet. So currently I have a fan-base that is spread out across the UK, the US and Canada, as well as my local fans. Ultimately, I hope to build large enough fan-bases in particular cities, so that I can do a sell-out world tour! At the moment the fans are very spread out, with many being in regional areas. I'm very excited about promoting the new album in overseas, and also reaching new fans in Europe.

Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?

Rachel Collis: Absolutely! When I first started out down this path, I was very discouraged by how difficult it can be to get traction. So many doors get closed on your face. But that's a career in the arts for you! I'm very philosophical about rejection now. If someone says no to me, I think, it doesn't matter, I'll find another way! Finding creative ways to make my career work without relying on others saying yes to me, has been key to surviving in the industry. And when they do say yes, it's an added bonus!

Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Rachel Collis: I definitely prefer recording. I'm a very introverted person so I find performing very intense and exhausting – although I do enjoy it! But recording is my favourite of the two, by far. I love the idea that I can create something alone, at home and in the studio, and then put it out into the world for someone far away to listen to over and over again. I love the idea of immortalising a song in recorded form. There is a certain magic to that for me.

Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

Rachel Collis: The first pop cassette tape I ever owned was Amy Grant, Heart In Motion. It was a Christmas present in 1991.That was when it all began for me. I had been learning piano since I was five, but it wasn't until I got that cassette that I really fell in love with music. It was the beginning of my relationship with many singer/songwriters, and the time when my passion for songs started to develop.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?

Rachel Collis: I think the biggest hurdle has been getting over my own insecurities. They are the reason I didn't pursue a career in music straight after school. I was consumed with not being good enough. Not a good enough singer. Not a good enough musician. Not an interesting enough writer. It was a number of years before I gained the courage to just put myself and my music out there, and stopped worrying about whether it was any good!

Question: What's a typical day like?

Rachel Collis: There really isn't any such thing! Some days are consumed with performing work – running between shows or rehearsals. Others I spend at home alternating between writing and housework. Others I spend on the marketing aspect of my career. And on some days I juggle all three, working on my laptop between performances, or writing ideas in my journal. But regardless of how busy the 'business" side of things get, I've learned to snatch moments to spend writing, whether it be just half an hour, or while I'm in transit.

Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?

Rachel Collis: There's nothing quite like the satisfaction of finishing a song, or of listening to a final mix of a song after it's been recorded. Being a music artist has its difficulties – creativity is mostly hard work, and only a little bit of inspiration, and managing a music career is full of disappointments and frustrations. But ultimately, it comes back to the joy of creating something new. That's what keeps me coming back for more!

Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Rachel Collis: I think it would have to be Amy Grant. She was the first songwriter I discovered. The one I listened to as a kid. I admire many artists and have a long list I would love to collaborate with, but there's nothing quite like your first love!

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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