Returning with warmth, clarity and power Sarah Blasko’s sixth studio album Depth of Field dropped on February 23, capturing unconventional influences through an interesting songwriting process. Written and recorded during a two-week residency in her former hometown of Campbelltown, it explores emotion with warming power and honest lyrics. From her first album, the now classic The Overture & The Underscore (2004) Blasko has pushed boundaries and defined indie rock exploring styles from synth to orchestration. From her home in Sydney, Sarah Blasko spoke to SARAH DAY about her process in bringing together the new record and how she believes it stacks up next to her impressive body of work.
Depth of field is the first record you’ve recorded entirely from your hometown in Sydney, how did this influence the overall process in comparison to your previous records?
It started out from an artist in residence I did in Campbelltown, which is sort of outer Western Sydney. I wrote it with the same friends of mine that I wrote my last record with. I don’t know, I guess it just makes for a bit of a slower approach, we started out with the artist in residency and then I continued on for six months after that — so yeah it became a record that we wrote out of there. There was probably only one song that I’d written before the artist in residence. I think I’ve usually gone in and recorded and then kind of mixed straight away in a flurry of activity but this one I sort of slowly added bits and pieces. It felt like a good way to approach it I had plenty of time to reflect on things.
Did this approach make your writing more personal?
The subject matter is fairly varied, there are some songs that are pretty personal from my perspective and then there are other songs that are based on other people’s perspectives. I think that with every song when you’re telling a story from another point of view you’re always bringing to it your own perspective and own experiences.
You’ve completed six records now each stemming from different stages in your life; how does it feel looking back on your body of work?
I think there are definitely things that you wish you could change but I think because I’m often looking on to what I want to do next I’m enjoying where I am. I think overall I’m of the belief that things have worked out the way they were meant to, you can’t really change that. I mean there’s nothing that I - oh well actually (laughs) there’s probably a few things that I maybe cringe at but I don’t really listen to my past albums, only when I incorporate something new into a tour set, then I have to kind of go back and listen to it. I think it’s important to reinvent to a degree so in a sense you right the wrong you did in the past, I guess when you play live you have the opportunity to play it in a way that makes sense to you now.
A Shot was the second track to be released off your new album with an amazing music video; how did the idea of shooting the video in a swimming pool come about?
Well Mclean Stephenson, it was all his idea. He’s a really amazing photographer who started these videos and I guess for him (laughs), part of it was an interest in doing something he’s never done before. It was quite a funny night shooting in the water; we were both kind of experimenting with these clips but I guess there’s an element of acceptance and just letting go and then there’s that side of the person that’s in the bathroom scene that’s really angry and messed up. I think that that’s really conveying the feeling of the song. I think that’s what happens when you’ve been really hurt by someone that’s close to you, part of you wants to be bigger than the situation and move forward really confidently, and then this other part just wants to smash things and get angry. Both of those things I think are really valid and important — I mean as long as you don’t smash other peoples things (laughs).
Is there a particular song from the record that you feel really resonates with you at the moment or that you’re particularly keen for people to hear?
There’s a song called Never Let Me Go, it’s going to be the next song that’s going to be like a single – but yeah I think that that’s probably a favourite song on the album. It’s pretty grandiose in nature and I feel like the ultimate for any musician would be to have their song as like the opening on a James Bond film (laughs), that would be my ultimate and it slightly has that feel to it.