Since her release of ‘Our Two Skins’ last year, Gordi has been a powerful force in the Australian music scene. Having just finished off her medical degree and coming to terms with her sexual identity, the musical maven has been an innovator and an inspiration within the creative scene. From using her platform to spread information garnered from working at the front lines of the COVID clinics to releasing some of the most innovative multi-media albums to date, we were lucky to have been given the chance to pick her brain about what her tumultuous year has been like.
You’ve just released your remix album for ‘Our Two Skins’. Where there any standout reimagining for the songs that you loved? And who were you the most excited to work with for this project?
“I think Alex Somers, who I’ve worked with before and who is a really close friend of mine, was certainly a standout. I was really excited to hear his take on Extraordinary Life. But then there was Helado Negro who released his album ‘This is How You Smile’ that I listened to it nonstop when it came out, so I was really excited to see what he would do with Free Association. It was a really, really nice mix of people with different tastes and skills; just very cool to hear the same song reimagined by someone else.”
I loved the music video you did with Georgia Maq from Camp Cope. What was it like filming this over the pandemic? Was it strange? Was it different? Or was it just a fun thing to do?
“She did essentially more of a cover rather than a remix of Extraordinary Life. We’re good mates and she’s very funny. We came up with this idea of shooting a basketball game because I became so obsessed with ‘The Last Dance’ over the pandemic on Netflix. I was watching the NBA a lot and basketball was passing the time while we were in lockdown in Melbourne. I actually only got one shot in the entire shoot, so we had to really heavily edit it to make it look more even, like I was better at basketball, because I was actually even more terrible than I had anticipated.”
You did a good job! You looked like you were fine!
“That’s it! That’s the work of editing!”
You recently played at Channel 9’s amazing Sounds Better Together televised festival. Was it strange to play to a large audience again, particularly with the added changes of being recorded? And does the televised atmosphere change your performance dynamic?
“Yeah, I think it’s funny at the moment. We’re coming up to play a Brisbane show on Friday and so a week ago we thought we were going to have to cancel it because half the band were coming from Sydney. So, we’re sort of so ready to press go or stop. That was the thing with Sounds Better Together; getting a show together with 5 band members which was pretty wild. I think everyone relishes the opportunity to perform. All the artists and crew were just so stoked to be there and seeing real faces or 3 or 4 thousand in that crowd was really, really cool. I also got to sing with Missy Higgins! She was a total hero of mine growing which was cool to have that televised! I had to not think about that too much as well because I needed to do my job and not get too nervous and focus on the song I was singing rather than that millions of people who will watch it on the TV.”
I see you also played your new track Dino’s with Alex Lahey. What was the songwriting process like collaborating with someone you are so close to? Do you think that aspect makes the writing process somewhat harder or easier?
“Definitely when you write with someone you’re pretty familiar with there can be some tense moments. Overall, we just had a really nice time! We wrote it in a single day in Nashville because we’d been going to the dive bar everyday called Dino’s and we thought “Let’s write a song about two people walking into the bar and all the weird and wonderful things that are happening around them!”. The song will be dropping in February and we thought the Sounds Better Together show was a good time to try out the acoustic version of it. I’m really excited for the full thing to come out very soon!”
And how does this co-writing experience compare with writing just by yourself?
“I think I’ve learned a lot through collaborating because, like anything in life, you can get pretty stuck in your ways and your routine and the things that you constantly come back to. It’s great to have such an insight into someone else’s process and they make you think about things differently or change a melody or a word in a way that you probably wouldn’t have done if you were just on your own. Also, you’re both trying to just meet a standard and probably impress the other person that you’re in the room with so it kind of raises the bar which is cool.”
I’ve also read articles as well as what I’ve seen your posts about working in the Victorian hospitals over the isolation period. What was this experience like? And what was one of the most important things you learnt from this, particularly in a part of the country where the lockdown restrictions where so harsh and so limited?
“Yeah, it was a pretty gnarly experience. I really started to get work when Melbourne and Victoria were at the peak and hitting the second wave. In hospitals, people are always sick. That’s kind of nothing new but it’s sort of just the weight of all the staff there recognising that as a risk every day of going to work that you can contract this virus and you can take it home with you and be covered in plastic all day. It was a pretty arduous time but, the thing that I learnt and the thing that I was really inspired by is that people just really just rise to the occasion. All of those healthcare workers who were well aware of the risks, they just fronted up to work everyday and I think they took a lot of pride in the fact that they were the front line and that they were protecting the community from this dreaded pandemic. So, yeah, it was a really inspiring thing to witness.”
Wow, amazing! And how do you find balancing doing that and all the incredible musical things like dropping your album at the same time. Do you feel it just comes to you naturally because you’re passionate about both fields you work in?
“There’s definitely several moments where I’ve thought “Oh man, I’ve got to keep bouncing from one thing to the other”. One example is I finished work on Friday for my shift at this hospital then flew to Sydney and had this rehearsal and then start this tour on the next Friday, so I feel like there’s not a lot of moments to catch my breath. But, like you’ve said, they are 2 things that I’m very passionate about and I think when you’re really passionate about something, you kind of just make it work.”
On top of all of these incredible achievements you’ve created over the past year, you also released your incredible Buried City 3D virtual album. How did this incredible collaborative idea come about?
“Yeah, it was cool! I guess in the middle of the year we were sort of staring down the barrel of putting out an album with the pandemic and thinking after the initial months of release you usually go on tour and that’s how you bring the album to people. I think albums should always be experienced in a multitude of ways, not just pressing play from start to finish. But we were were denied that opportunity well, until now, to tour it in front of people and real faces. So, I kind of thought about how we could possibly make that work. Michael Beets had filmed a film clip for us in sort of this virtual reality world a few years ago for a song from my first record called Bitter End,so I just hit him up and said “would you be interested in, I don’t really know what I’m asking you but, if we could come together and just collaborate to bring the album in to the virtual world so people can have a window in to it from their own homes, I think that would be really cool!”. He helped me bring it to life and we filmed it one night in Melbourne. Then he kind of worked away on bringing the rest of the pieces of the world together.”
What was it like filming these performances? A lot of the time you were just in a very, very empty room. What was it like with no crowd to feed off? Was it uncomfortable? Was it cathartic?
“It was a bit weird! We filmed it a few times so I could relax into it and then, once I’ve got the nerves out because I felt like we were gonna broadcast it across the world and you kind of just want to go through the rest of the motions. It did feel a bit lonely, but I felt comforted by the idea that this performance would actually reach people that I’m not gonna reach probably for 24 months, so I feel like it was worth it.”
Do you think the use of 3D film and immersive video will become a larger part of media consumption, particularly in music? And do you think the affects the pandemic may contribute to this in creating immersive experiences such as what you have?
“Yeah, I think so! I think the creative industry, really above any industry, is exactly as suggested- it’s creative, innovative and comes up with new ways to reach people and communicate art. I think we’ve had to be more versatile than ever in finding ways to get into people’s homes because they can’t come and consume art the way they usually do. So, for art exhibitions that have been virtual or online, to plays and theatre and all of these sorts of mediums could really benefit from this sort of virtual reality world. But, it is still pretty new and people don’t know a whole lot about it so I think, like anything, it’ll just take a little bit of time. But I think this is a cool kind of unintended consequence of it, there are people out in the world who can’t actually come to shows for whatever reason so if we go to these lengths to bring art into people’s homes then people like that can really benefit in a way.”
Feeding off of this, are there any people in the scene around you who are doing things like that out of the pandemic that you’ve been particularly inspired by?
“I think, not necessarily the VR world, but the whole movement of ISOLAID has been really cool. You know, people bringing these kinds of festivals through social media and really using social media as a positive tool to connect people when so often we’ve thought of social media as something that can disconnect us from the world. I think it’s connected us more than ever over the past 12 months so ISOLAID is a really good example of when everything really went to shit it was like, what do we have at our disposal that we can use to still bring music to people? And then ISOLAID came up and it was a pretty good forum for that.”
And what can we expect in the new year from you?
“That’s great, I ask myself that everyday! I don’t know just yet. I think I’m kind of just getting past the end of this medical working contract which I did at the end of Jan and then I’ll be touring February. Then I think I’m going to do some more writing because I want to release some more music this year. I don’t know exactly what that will look like and I don’t think I’m emotionally ready for another whole album, but I definitely want to put some songs out in to the world! I have some cool collaborations that I’ve been working on that will hit the airwaves in 2021!”
GORDI – TOUR DATES 2021
Tickets via gordimusic.com
Friday 5 February 2021 | The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 6 February 2021 | Byron Theatre, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 13 February 2021 | Cowra Civic Theatre, Cowra, NSW
Thursday 18 February | The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 19 February | The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 26 – Saturday 27 February | Wonderland Spiegeltent, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 13 March | Altar, Hobart, TAS | RE-SCHEDULED SHOW
‘Our Two Skins’ (Remixed)
EP out now through Liberation Records
Available to buy/stream here
With thanks to Liberation Records + Mushroom