Howlite - Piano

Howlite – Canary - Piano

Howlite – Canary – Piano

ARTIST NAME: Howlite

 

SONG TITLE: Canary – Piano

 

RELEASE DATE: Thursday 15 July 2020

 

GENRE: Electro-Pop/Chill/Trip Hop

 

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Electro trip-pop trio Howlite have been garnering attention locally and internationally with their recently released EP ‘Not Here’. Filled with pillowy-pop, indie brilliance, Rolling Stone described their sound as “brooding, borderline folk, but inches-from-pop” with KALTBLUT Magazine claiming “Howlite are a much-welcomed escape from reality at this moment in time.”
Their latest EP ‘(Still) Not Here’ is a raw and honest re-imagining of that moment in time, and sees the band strip backtracks, to explore a more distilled electronic path – swapping their trip-hop samples and loops for subdued instrumentation and vocal textures. 
Lead single ‘Canary – Piano’ opens with the ethereal vocals of frontwoman Alison Thom and builds with subtle and elegant indie foundations. Thom remains the driving force behind the track though, her lyrics delivering an emotive punch, captivating in the same vein as BANKS or London Grammar’s Hannah Reid. Canary – Piano is set for release on Thursday 15 July and will be accompanied by a music video.

 

Lyrics:
Verse
Curse me in your mother tongue
Do you kiss her with that mouth
Why not me?
Talk to me as best you can
With someone who is not there entirely
(Why not me)

 

Standing at the exit, trying to exist
It’s not as easy as it looks
When I am an escapist with no accomplice
I look across the room and see 

 

Chorus
Nobody I know
It’s nobody I know

 

Verse
The canary in the room
He is gasping for a breath set him free
There’s no air inside this tomb
I have poisoned everything around me

 

Standing at the exit, trying to exist
It’s not as easy as it looks
When I am an escapist with no accomplice
I look into the mirror, it’s 

 

Chorus
Nobody I know
It’s nobody I know
It’s nobody I know
It’s nobody I know

 

Bridge
God, why me?
God, why me?
God, why not me

 

Chorus
It’s nobody I know
It’s nobody I know
It’s nobody I know
Nobody I know

 

 

Tell us how you develop your sound and style to make it different from other musicians.
I do exactly the opposite! I spend a lot of time copying other musicians. I love to learn how they approach their songs, the choices they make musically, and the kinds of things that they sing about. If something resonates with me, I’ll use it to guide what I want to sound and look like. My whole life is basically a museum of other people’s cool things that I’ve stolen. But I think that by the very nature of creating, there is an element of yourself that is present in your work, which makes it unique. Or at least that’s what I will be telling the copyright lawyers.  

 

Tell us your opinion on the way new artists are coming up and the frequent release of songs.
I find it complex to think about since I’m an artist but also a consumer. I love Spotify, I love paying $10 a month to have a world of music at my fingertips and the idea of dropping $25 on a CD is now ridiculous to me. The Internet is the kind of fantastical library that I dreamed about when I was growing up and downloading rips off LimeWire only to discover that the file was that goddamn John F Kennedy audio. I think music itself is also much easier to make now – you can buy a studio and set it up at home, it removes a lot of barriers for a lot of people. And I guess the flow on from that is, it changes as a product and becomes a low value and abundant. So I get why we have to release constantly, have new artists constantly. It’s the market. It’s gross to think of it like that, but occasionally an amazing artist will filter through and we get to experience someone’s talent that we may never have found through the old school model, and I know for artists like me it’s empowering to not have to wait to be discovered in order to find an audience. 

 

Tell us your experience as a musician/artist.
I think most musicians would agree that it’s simultaneously the greatest and worst experience. At its worst, it’s a very good way to spend all of your money, destroy your mental health and turn you into a jealous, cynical asshole. At its best, it allows you to connect with people, spend your time doing the thing that makes your soul feel a strange kind of peace that you can’t attain through any other means, and get free drinks. I’ve been immensely privileged to have the opportunity to pursue music and to invest in it as a career, and everything I’ve experienced has made me better, either as a musician or as a human being. 

 

Tell us your goals and plans.
World domination. I also want to learn how to make furniture.  

 

Tell us your best song up to date and share the link.
Like all good artists, my best song is the one I haven’t written yet…

 

Tell us what has changed in the music industry.
There is definitely a shift in the power dynamic, I think. Where previously there were labels and artists desperately pitching, sending demo tapes, auditions…it feels like there’s not really anyone at the helm of the ship anymore? There are still a few big names still out there, and obviously streaming platforms, but it definitely feels a bit like the Wild West. It’s a bit of a free for all. A viral dance on TikTok can get a 40-year-old song back in the charts. I could start my own online distribution label tomorrow. 12-year-olds are releasing mixtapes. No one is making any money except for Billie Eilish. I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on or where we’re going right now. 

 

Tell us your opinion on television/radio stations playing the same songs from established artists and giving little chances to independent artists.
Commercial stations exist to make money. The music is just filler in-between ad space, and there is a depressing world of network or label influence, marketing teams, and ratings that go into playlist selection that has no correlation to talent, artistry, or even liking the song. From that angle, it makes no sense for them to champion independent artists; it’s not their business model and it’s not their audience demographic. For independent Australian artists, I think we should throw our focus behind getting support and funding for independent or community radio and TV and create our own viable alternative avenue for the national opportunity. 

 

Tell us the challenges independent artists are facing and how to tackle them.
There are so many challenges that different artists will face depending on their own personal circumstances, location and identity. I think ultimately, having a grounded support network of friends, family or advisors is invaluable because it’s not a lifestyle you can sustain alone. Prioritizing your health and mental wellbeing, learning to budget, and being realistic in your expectations are also beneficial. It’s a career you are driving yourself, so you do have to keep checking in and making sure you’re still going in the direction you want to. 

 

Tell us your opinion on using social media to promote music online.
I resent social media in the way that one resents anything they are addicted to. “Each day I am exposed to more information than my ancestors accessed in their entire lifetime, and none of it improves me”. I think that was a Tweet I read somewhere. (Is that ironic?) Anyway, social media is gross but until we think of a better way to tell someone we exist, it is a necessary evil. We try not to be too annoying about it. 

 

Tell us about your music career.
I hesitate to call it a “career”, as that would suggest some kind of formal plan or strategy that I have been navigating or consented to. Much like the rest of my life to date, I just call it “some stuff that has happened”. But some of the stuff has been absolutely awesome, and well beyond what I thought I would achieve. 

 

Tell us what still motivates you to go on with your music career.
This feels like a depressing question ha-ha. The answer is very cheesy and completely useless from a viable business standpoint. I go on with my music career because I want to. It makes me happy. I like writing, I like recording music with people and I like playing my songs. I like the people I get to work with, I like meeting the other bands we play with, I like creating new things for the pure joy of why the fuck not? What else would I be doing? It’s an industry that attracts a lot of people seeking a very specific kind of external validation. If you’re looking for that, you will disintegrate. You have to love it and let that be enough because by and large, nobody else is going to give a shit about what you do. 

 

Elaborate on the story behind the song.
‘Canary’ was written a few years ago back at uni. I had a huge mid-20s life crisis, drowning in low self-esteem. I clung to people, expecting them to leave me or at least leave me out. I was anxious, overwhelmed. I would get halfway to an event, turn around, drive home, then watch the night unfold on social media and feel a burning sense of loss and jealousy. It’s taken years of therapy to emerge from that cocoon of terror and inferiority, so the song is about being that vulnerable person in the room; the last one to be chosen, the person on the periphery. And about losing your sense of self in the process – you forget who you are when you’re not anxious. It becomes an identity. 

 

Tell us the process involved in making this song.
The song itself was written quite quickly. It then took a very convoluted path. 

 

State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
I perform with my band as Howlite. It’s the name of a stone that is supposed to promote healing and calm. I chose it at random from a list I had been curating for a few months. At the time I chose it because I thought it was an easy word to spell and tell people; this has not been the case. I should never be put in charge of naming things. 

 

State the title of the song and the meaning.
The song is called “Canary”, a not-subtle reference to the bird that goes first down the mineshaft to check if the air is clean. I guess the idea was this little fall guy – the disposable one who is part of the team but not really – as a person in a friendship group. The sensation of a false pretense, that you’re only being invited to serve a specific purpose.  

 

State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
The EP is a mini-selection of some acoustic tracks from Not Here, which we released in 2020. This collection is called Still Not Here, an objectively hilarious ply.

 

 


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