Kiwi songstress Anna Coddington is back for a nationwide tour kicking off right here in the capital. Music editor Kate caught up with her to talk collaborators, new music and the rapidly changing industry.
Kate: You’re touring the country this month with Lips, how did that come about?
Anna: Steph from Lips and I have been friends and collaborators for a really long time. I asked Steph to play keys on some of my new material and she was talking about how they really wanted to tour here. They’ve won the Silver Scroll and Steph’s a Kiwi, but they’ve never toured here. It’s quite hard to organise from overseas so I offered to help. From there it just kind of transpired that secretly I wanted to tour with her and she secretly wanted me to do it with her, but we were both sort of too shy to say anything. When we realised we were like “Let’s do it!”
K: So touring is an enjoyable process for you?
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A: I enjoy the shows, but I don’t really like organising them. It’s a lot of effort and a lot of stress and a lot of detail, but I also happen to be quite good at that side of it which helps! Touring is a funny thing because it’s a really fine balance between doing it too much and not doing it enough. If you go to the same town too many times they’ll get sick of you, but if you don’t go at all, it’s like, two years is a long time between gigs. So I’ve wanted to get back out there for a while.
K: The video for your new song “Slate” is pretty fierce. Where did that song grow from?
A: Oh awesome! I’m glad you thought so. That’s kind of what we were going for, but it’s always hard with performance videos because they rely on exactly that—the performance. For me “Slate” is quite personal and does come from real experiences, but I think the chorus really sums up the intention of that song. It’s about clearing the slate to start again and letting go of things so that you can move forward. I went through some stuff, had a bit of a breakup, just stuff that’s hard for anyone. It’s not a unique emotion. So “Slate” was just me processing that. It’s hard to go through things and then get to that point where you just have to stop letting them affect you in the present because they’re gone. You have to put an end to it so you can move onto bigger and better things. Quite full on I guess!
K: I guess everyone can relate to that, there’s a reason why it’s such a universal theme!
A: Yeah and I hope that’s how it comes across. Like it’s not about me, it’s about you [laughs].
K: When you are coming up with new stuff, do you find the songwriting process laboured at all?
A: I definitely wouldn’t call it laboured because it’s my favourite thing to do. Some of them come easily and others not so much. I’ve got one song from my new album that I just couldn’t quite get to work. I worked on it for about eight months and just kept coming back to it and trying different things, so I guess that was laboured in a way, but I still enjoy the process. You have to be happy with your work otherwise why would you put it out there?
K: So a new album is in the works?
A: Yes! Next year. I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do on it, but there will definitely be another single coming this year.
K: Do you find it difficult getting your music out there when most of our radio stations are so commercially driven?
A: Yeah, definitely. Ever since I started I’ve always been one of those artists that just falls right through the gaps. I’ve been finding quite a lot of support for “Slate” on the bNets which has been great, but even they have formats to work to. For an artist like me, the mainstream music climate is not in my favour at all. Unless you’ve got ravey dance music, it just won’t get played. So I hope people will hear my music and connect with it on their own accord—not because a radio station is telling them to. I think of winning people over one at a time rather than “I’m gonna release a song and win thousands of fans”. Even now compared to what I put out in 2013 the environment’s just changing so quickly that it really is hard to cut through the noise. But having said that, I think when people do hear and connect to it, it means so much more now.
K: Finally, I saw you tweeting about the upcoming Silver Scroll Awards the other day, who’re the Kiwi artists that you’re really digging right now?
A: Ooh, there are loads actually! Everything that Top 20 is exceptional. The new SJD album is brilliant, the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra—these are full albums of just brilliant material. Lips are also incredible and their songwriting is next level. I’m genuinely so happy to be doing this tour with them.
Anna and Lips will be playing at Meow on Thursday 10 September.