Splendour Interview: Meg Mac (AUS) on her SITG surprises, Hope and collaborating

Meg Mac drew one of the largest crowds to the G.W. McLennan tent at Splendour In The Grass: Day One (check out our review: HERE) Dressed in all-white with her now iconic wide-brimmed hat, her sun-down performance echoed around the festival as she played her tracks from the early days to now.

We got the chance to chat to her prior to her performance about her latest album Hope, the festival and her work methods.

Meg Mac, how you doing?

Good. How are you?

I’m not too bad. Welcome to Splendour. This is your third Splendour, right?

Mm-hmm.

First evening slot though, right?

I played the same … I think around the same time, last time I played, two years ago.

It’s still a pretty damn good slot to have. It’s moving up there towards headlining. Do you reckon that could happen one day?

Maybe one day. That would be nice.

I hope so.
Huge congrats on your album that came out last month, Hope. How’s the reception been?

It’s been really good. I’ve just finished my Australian tour, and I was playing heaps of the new tracks on that tour. It was good. It’s nice to release music and be playing live at the same time.

Did you notice as the tour went on that audiences became to know the songs more and more, as the time went on?

Yeah. When I first started the tour, the album wasn’t out yet, just a few of the singles, so I was playing songs people hadn’t heard before. By the end of the tour, people had learnt the words.

That’s a nice feeling. It’s kind of cool to see songs take on their own life after release. You know what I mean?

Yeah.

I wanted to ask about the title, Hope, for the album. You’ve got songs on there like “Give Me My Name Back”, and “Something Tells Me”, which are quite empowering songs. Was that something you kind of set out with that album?

I guess I called it Hope after one of the songs on the album, which is called “Hope”. I just thought it was fascinating, this kind of… hope is something that I think everyone knows. Everyone lives in hope in some way. But I also think there’s this kind of dark side to hope, which I was really going into in the song. I think that it’s something everyone can relate to.

I agree, because when people think of hope it’s quite optimistic. But also, it can almost be like a pipe dream, which is always kind of crushing. You know what I mean?

To me hope is that thing that can give you life, but it can also drain you, almost like a curse on your life.

That is dark.

You collaborated with Sarah Aarons on a couple of those tracks. What was that like? Because she’s written for Khalid, Ruel, The Jonas Brothers? There are some big names in there.

It’s cool because I don’t normally co-write. I like to be by myself when I’m writing. So working with Sarah was really cool because she’s really nice.

We did it in Melbourne. We met the same day we wrote “Something Tells Me”. We just kind of sat down at the piano. There was no pressure, there was no one else in the room. It was a really good experience for me, not having co-writing be something that’s normal to me. Sarah made me feel really comfortable.

Why did you decide to try co-writing?

I just… I think it’s important to try it. It definitely… I wouldn’t have written “Something Tells Me” if I didn’t have Sarah. It can kind of push you. To see how she writes songs inspires me. Then I’m like “Okay”. Everyone is so different. When you work with other people, it can teach you.

Yeah, and you can adjust your method and try it out. With meeting her on the same day, is it hard to sort of build that rapport? Because I imagine being in the writing room, you’re spilling your heart, kind of; it’s quite a journalistic experience. What’s it like kind of sharing these intimate moments with someone you’ve just met?

I guess since doing music and releasing music, I’ve just gotten over showing people my music, because everything I write, my lyrics and personal… A lot of the things are really personal to me. But I have to sing them in front of lots of people all the time, so I don’t really think about that anymore.

That’s kind of liberating, I think; just being, “You know what, this is my feelings. Guys, listen to it.”

It’s my job to share my feelings. It’s weird.

Speaking of collaborations, at Falls in 2015/2016, you met Leon Bridges, and that was instrumental in Low Blows, in that album. Is that correct?

Yeah. I made the Low Blows album in Fort Worth, Texas, with Niles City Sound. They had made Leon Bridges album.

That’s amazing. So did you kind of tee that up through Leon, or was that kind of just a happenstance?

I really loved his album, and I was really into that. Then we started getting in touch with him. Then I met him at Falls, and the guy that produced Leon Bridges was in his band. So we got to meet him there.

His work is amazing. Would you ever collaborate with someone like that in the future? Do you do a lot of collaborative tracks? 

I worked with Dan Sultan last year on his… he put out… Yeah, I’ve not really done too much collaboration. Maybe in the future.

Open to it. I like it.

So, have you got anything extra special planned for your set tonight?

I hope it’s special. I do have a surprise. I’m doing something tomorrow that hasn’t been announced; a few surprises for Splendour in the Grass.

Okay. So we can catch you across the festival, not just this one set. Who you most excited to see then, across the festival?

I really want to see Childish Gambino.

Have you ever seen him before?

No, never.

He’s the type of person who everything he touches artistically just turns to gold. It’s amazing, right?

Can’t wait, yeah.

Well, thank you so much for chatting with me, Meg. I can’t wait to catch your set later. Should be good.

Thank you.

Photo by John Goodridge. Full album HERE.

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