By: Shayla Lee
Hailing from a land chocked full of musical talent, Erith is a New Zealand-based musician whose multi-genre influenced music is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stagnant world of pop and electronic music. Although she has been creating and producing electronic music for the past four years, Erith initially began her musical career fronting an alternative rock band from the age of 12 until she was 16 before deciding to venture off as a solo artist.
Following the release of last year’s tracks ‘Weak’ and ‘Talk,’ Erith’s newest single ‘Hopeless Worship’ has a punchier production than her previous tracks which will make you want to hit the replay button over and over. Erith weaves her signature airy vocals with a glittery production which results in a track that is equal parts catchy and beautiful. I was bobbing my head three seconds into the song, it’s just that good.
I had the chance to chat with Erith about ‘Hopeless Worship,’ the challenges she has faced being a female producer, and her cute cat Mabel!
Femme Riot: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
Erith: Well I’m Erith and I’m pretty much a 65-year-old woman in the body of a 22-year-old – music taste included. My father was in loads bands when he was younger and is a wonderful musician so his influence was bound to rub off on me. I grew up listening to his records and found my passion in his passion. He’s mostly into 60, 70s and 80s classics so there was a lot of Dusty Springfield, Linda Ronstadt, The Beach Boys and of course the Beatles.
It’s impossible to put your music in one specific genre which I love! How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Honestly, I’m so shy about the whole musical aspect of my life that the people who know me know what it sounds like but when I mention it to people who don’t I usually say ambient electronic but if I get a confused facial expression I give myself a high-ranking comparison and say “ahhh like Lorde!”
Who are some of your musical influences?
For sure all the music my father listened to and also everything I’ve sort of picked up along the way. Since I was in my early teens I’ve loved Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab for Cutie and Moving Mountains but over the last 5 years or so it’s moved into more female artists like Banks, Lana del Rey, Daughter, Grimes, Chvrches, Lykke Li. I’m a huge Ella Fitzgerald fan too.
Before branching off into your solo career, you fronted an alternative band. What inspired this change and how does being a solo artist differ from being in a band?
Hugely! I haven’t done any live shows as Erith yet (eek!) but first of all I had my 4 good friends with me on stage and it wasn’t just me. I was always writing other genres even back then, but material I wrote alone wasn’t suited to the genre of the band so it just sat there for a few years till I started doing acoustic shows when the band broke up.
Congratulations on the release of your new single ‘Hopeless Worship!’ I’m loving the faster tempo on this one and your voice is beautiful as always. What was the inspiration behind this song?
I had a relationship which just left me thinking on numerous occasions “this isn’t love, it isn’t lust or infatuation it’s just hopeless worship”. I sort of built it around the title I guess!
I also love ‘Talk’ and the lyric “I don’t like myself in this midnight state” really stood out to me because it’s so beautiful. Can you tell us more about this song?
Thank you so much! Staying up really late by myself has never been good for my mental health which is all I did around the time I wrote Talk. I continued to let myself get in that state of anxiety and over analyse what was happening in my relationship. I’m lucky that something like Talk came out of it in the end.
Your songs are intricately designed and have a variety of different sounds – I feel like each time I listen I pick up on something else! When you’re creating a song, how do you know when it’s done?
That’s such a hard one because at the moment it’s trying to get my production skills to meet my writing. I know what I want something to sound like but actually making it happen can be hard. I put in as much as I can to get the sound I’m going for which usually sees it at about 80% done. I’m really lucky and grateful I’ve found producers who continue my thought process and see the vision for the tracks.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing challenges in their own lives?
Absolutely! I started performing with my all male band at 12 years old till I was almost 16 which is already a mega awkward time. The other alternative rock bands we performed with were pretty much all male which left me feeling like a third-wheel most of the time. I’d try to join in with the banter or put in my opinion about a song we were writing and just get totally overruled. As I’ve moved into more electronic based music I’ve found some men are totally surprised I do a lot of it myself. Producing and engineering is such a male dominated industry and it’s so important for women to show their talent and not let that discourage them, and that’s what I tell myself to help overcome it.
Producing and engineering is such a male dominated industry and it’s so important for women to show their talent and not let that discourage them.
The older I get the more I realise how important it is, for me at least, to be outspoken. I’m pretty shy and awkward but there’s a few things I have clear lines about and a lot of them are to do with issues regarding women. I also understand some people aren’t comfortable with doing that and that’s fine too. It’s such a tough one. Sometimes I feel I’m not educated enough to speak on topics like this but then I have to tell myself that my experiences as a woman have educated me plenty. All I can say to anyone who is struggling is stay strong because it’s fucking rough out here for us girls. And you can message me if ya wanna, let’s be friends.
Stay strong because it’s fucking rough out here for us girls.
What can we expect from you this year?
More tracks! An EP! Live performances! I’d love to do all of those things and am planning on it.
What songs are currently listening to?
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Can I add a photo of my kitten Mabel? She’s 6 months and I’d give her my last earl grey tea bag.
I want to thank Erith for sharing her story and her cute cat! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with her musical journey and I cannot wait to hear what else Erith has in store for us! Listen to ‘Hopeless Worship,’ below!
The cover photo was shot by Hamish Woollett.