Liam Linley is no stranger to the live music scene in Australia, playing in numerous bands such as the rocking The Bowers and more folk directed Hoy. But fans of the man have not seen him in a while and we're now treated to what he's been working on. Debut single, Soaking Cherries, is the first taste from this debut solo record.
A mellanchollic story of the realisation of a relationship coming to a end. Its sweet sour lyrics and melodies mirror that of the taste of the cherries mentioned in the song but offer no judgement or opinions. It just is. An observation with no resolution probably makes this ever more powerful. It's beautiful and poignent piece of suburban pop mastery.
We asked Liam to tell us about becoming a solo artist and his new record.
He launches Soaking Cherries at the Old Bar Thursday 3rd of AUgust.
Soaking Cherries is your first solo release, but you’ve been in several bands before from the bowers to Hoy. How is doing a solo thing different from being in bands? Is it freeing to write and record without anyone else’s input?
A lot of self motivation is needed in the solo thing because if I don’t do anything, nothing happens! A band is like being in a gang…you push each other on, everyone (should!) chip in, and you’ve got all your in jokes and favourite places to hang out, and you develop this wonderful shared history through doing a lot of fun and scary stuff together. In going solo, I’ve found the writing really freeing, but I’ve also needed a good bunch of confidantes around to bounce demos and other idea off. Nick Huggins produced the EP (out later this year), and he was great for this. I loved having the freedom to write and follow my own ideas as far as I could take them. I kept the writing process very closed, and demo’d the songs pretty heavily, but when it came to recording I brought in a lot more people to give it some life…get it out of my bedroom, ya know!
You have put together a band for these shows coming up, did you record the new single with the band or do it all yourself? If they didn’t play on the record does that make it difficult to be the boss and tell them how you want it performed?
With performing live, I’m really not fussed about making it sound like the record…in fact I’d prefer that it sounded different. As long as the feel and intent is there, I’m up for letting whoever is playing making it their own. I can be pretty fussy and opinionated with what I’m into, but so far I haven’t had to be bossy (i don’t think!), so i guess that means the band and I have chosen each other well. I recored the single with a band, and the live band has some of the same players, but largely the sound is very different. The record is more chilled and refined, whereas the band is a quite jammy and more rocking.
Why did you decide to do a solo project and not a new band?
I really wanted to start putting my work against my own name. The songs I was writing just felt like different fragments of me, and how I was seeing things at the time, and I saw no need to go under a different name or character. A great thing about being in a band is that you can shed that skin when you no longer feel like it’s something you identify with. With this, I can’t really escape it and I think that will motivate me to keep creating and exploring what I’m about, artistically. It’s also freeing…going under ‘Liam Linley’’ means that I can be the permanent fixture, and can move into whatever musical (or other) project I decide to do next with complete liberty.
Soaking cherries is a heart breaking song about a relationship coming apart. Is it hard to write music about such painful experiences or does it help heal wounds?
The process of songwriting actually has quite a bit in common with the process of navigating through heavy emotions; there are breakthroughs, doubts, and a kind of distillation process where you end up with a refined nugget that is understandable and hopefully digestible. I tend to use songwriting and music to understand the more murky and perhaps bitter flavours of life…the aspects that need a bit of rumination. I’ve never really felt the need to poeticise or put a box around pure happiness and joy, because I don’t think those feelings need much understanding…Just go with it! Most of my songs involve characters, situations or emotions that are composites of many things that I have experienced, so the real meaning is usually cloudy, even if it sounds like a true story. In saying that, it can still be hard to sing about a sad incident, even if it’s one i’ve conjured up rather than actually experienced. There’s also the times where I’ve written a song and it has foretold a future reality…oftentimes the unconscious knows things before it hits the brain.
Who are the bands you’re playing with on Thursday? Why did you choose them to play with you? So we have NEW BAND and CLOSET STRAIGHTS. I love these bands because they are real pro’s when it comes to songwriting and ‘songspersonship’….they write great lyrics and are really tasteful guitar bands. I’m nuts for melody…both in guitar and voice, and both these bands bring that in bucketloads. They are also both very fun bands to watch. They are also my mates, so that is a winning formula.