Kate Miller-Heidke performs at the Astor Theatre on Friday, August 1. This is part two of KRISSI WEISS’ interview with the singer/songwriter.
Kate Miller-Heidke’s new album, O Vertigo!, marks the first time, in a long time, that she didn’t collaborate with her partner-in-crime-and-life, Keir Nuttall.
The break in songwriting wasn’t just for the sake of the songs, but also for the sake of each other.
“I needed it,” Miller-Heidke says. “Keir and I had basically been in the same room for eight years and it had become a really unhealthy relationship, because we’re also married, and we were sending each other insane. It’s not easy; you mention coming home well we don’t have an office so there’s no coming home, we’re always home.
“At the moment, he’s developed this comedy act so he’s out on tour opening for The Beards and that’s a massive two-month tour. I’m hoping he doesn’t get alcohol poisoning, they seem to be having a good time! I think for both of us it’s been a great time of artistic growth and we definitely needed it for the music and for our relationship.”
While Nuttall is out on the road with The Beards, Miller-Heidke has been in promo mode, not only for press and radio interviews, but for morning television. Sunrise, in particular, being a stand-out.
Many fans of Miller-Heidke from the early Woodford and even earlier Elsewhere days (a Brisbane she played in which broke up in 2003) would’ve been shocked to see her in that format but then it’s also easy to forget how much faux moralistic bullshit musicians like to wear as part of their costume.
“The world of breakfast television is extremely strange, for anyone, to play a song to no one at 7.30 am. Well no one slash a million people. But I remember reading once that television is like crack for your career and it’s true,” she says.
“I still get people at gigs that say, ‘I first saw you on Sunrise’. Sunrise now is still pretty much one of the only places you can get onto Australian television and play music, so good on them for hanging in there. You know ‘ultra-indie’ is such a crock of shit. You know, no one is that unless they have no ambition. Even the people who seem to be that, they’re not, that’s their own marketing strategy, and good on them, but I do not subscribe to that theory at all.”
Because the notion that you’re just playing in your lounge room not giving a damn until one day you get discovered is utter rubbish?
“Everybody who’s got the fire, who’s got the hunger, they want to get on television, they want to get their music heard and sometimes it serves their purposes better to come across as super indie which is a strange conundrum.
“Maybe I should’ve pretended to be more indie back then? I probably didn’t pretend enough, I do regret that but oh well,” she says with more humour in her breath than the words convey. So Kate Miller-Heidke wishes she lied more? She begins laughing at the absurdity of it all. “It’s true. Everything’s a fucking lie in music, I think.”
So does she feel that there is a plastic wall of insincerity she needs to break through in her world?
“Well there’s not too much bullshit for me though,” she says. “What I want to do is continue to have this amazing luxury of having this opportunity to write songs for a living and perform songs for a living and play to audiences. That’s all I want… I just think the whole, well, if ever a band says, say, they would never go on Sunrise, that’s a cynical marketing decision of their own. They are not taking a moral stand at all.”
Pic: Joe Duck