What was the first album/song that you distinctly remember enjoying?
Theres quite a few I guess, probably Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge is a big one, that was the first CD I bought with my own pocket money. I brought it home like "Hell yeah," made up dance routines…. I also got into Johnny Cash and Radiohead but its never the first thing you buy and maybe Smash Mouth haven't really stood the test of time, coolness wise, but as an 11 year old, they were the height of cool.
When did you first start singing/ playing guitar together?
When I was about 19 or 20. I did classical singing for a really long time, singing other peoples songs. I didn't really know anyone who played guitar at the time. I changed schools and thats when I met a friend of mine who taught me a few chords.
You grew up in the Blue Mountains, what was it like growing up there, do you think that it influenced your music at all?
No, I get asked that all the time. I think the only way it influenced my music is because I really wanted to leave. Its a beautiful place but as a teenager growing up there was nothing to do, it just seemed very boring. I love it now but at the time I couldn't wait to get out.
According to Wikipedia you credit Bjork and Billy Bragg as two of your biggest influences, is that true? Who else has influenced your music?
Yeah, I think thats right in the way I grew up listening to them, thats what my dad was really into. I'm sure they influenced me in ways I don't understand but it wasn't something that inspired me when I started to play music. That was more Fiona Apple, Father John Misty, Leonard Cohen.
What did you make of Leonard Cohen's last album, the one he released just before his death last year?
I haven't listened to it yet, I'm not ready. I tried listening to it on the plane going somewhere and I have really bad plane anxiety so I was already thinking about my own death, listening to Leonard Cohen's album about his own death, and I was like this is too much. So I haven't been able to go back to it yet, I think this year I will, I haven't been able to listen to Bowie's album yet either.
So do you want to tell us a little bit about the album in terms of songwriting? Were there any major themes?
I think for most folk musicians the first album takes so long to write because its an accumulation of your life up until the point you record. So for me I recorded the album when I was 25 and it was all the best songs I'd written up to that point. So its autobiographical sings about being in my early 20's and all the things that come with that.
How did you choose the album name? obviously you named it after your song, Don't Let The Kids Win, watt made you settle on that particular track?
It was the last song I wrote for the record, the last song I recorded for the record, the last song on the record. I think it encapsulates and sums up that feeling of being scared of the future but also accepting that theres only so much you can do.
What were you doing before you started touring and recording the album?
I was travelling, I went to university for 4 years, worked a lot; for a news paper, a chemist, in a factory, at a mexican restaurant, a cafe… Just the regular stuff you do when you're figuring out your life.
Did you know the whole time that this (the album) was what you wanted to be doing or did it come as more of a surprise?
I always wanted to do it, I never thought it was going to be a thing I actually did. No one that I knew was doing what I'm doing now, so I didn't even know how it worked - how you even did that. I've learned so much in the past year. At the time I definitely knew I wanted to do this but I didn't know how. I knew how to work and earn money and book in studio time, so thats what I did…
So when you were recording the album had you already built up white a following, were you already doing tours?
I'd been playing around Sydney for 5 years so I had "fans" in a way. Sydney is a bad example of a city thats good for young musicians because no one cares. I played gigs and stuff but usually to people who weren't listening, or just to my friends. I released an EP, did a launch and people came to that. I played heaps of shows with folk bands, went to Melbourne and played quite a few gigs and house shows there. Its a different game now.
Your name is popping up on quite a few festival across Europe, did you do many last year or is this year the first tour of the circuit?
Yeah, I did a few last year but this year is a completely different story. I'm playing 25 this year I think. BBC 6, Field day - those are the two in the UK that have been announced.
Is there a point that you want to get to? Was it just the album or have you ever thought "Right, I want to play to this many people…"
No, no. I literally just made the record and I keep my expectations low so I'm constantly surprised and happy. I mean I'd definitely care if no one cared but I think
that what I've got, playing to small rooms of people who are into it and really like the record, thats more than I ever could have hoped for.