Local singer-songwriter Tanaya Harper is set to launch her new EP Montreal at Lyric’s Underground this Saturday, October 2. Montreal is a fitting follow-up to last year’s Slow Motion Breakup, again brimming with Harper’s hazy pop melodies and intimate lyricism, detailing themes of recklessness, recovery, exhaustion and elation that come with the territory of living with bipolar disorder. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Tanaya Harper to find out why she’s looking forward to bringing the new material to the stage this weekend.

Congrats on the release of your new EP! How does this feel different from when you released Slow Motion Breakup last year?

Thank you! Well, from a logistical point of view it feels a lot smoother! Slow Motion Breakup came out during the week of Perth’s first ever COVID-19 lock down, so that was just super bizarre. After all the work and marketing and stressing over the release it then just came out without a launch. This release feels very different for many reasons, and it’s taken quite some time for it to be out so I’m just really relieved and proud of the final product.

Did you try anything different musically on this record from what you had done before?

They’re considered ‘sister’ EP’s purely because they sound so similar and tie each other off nicely with Slow Motion Breakup opening the first EP, then Slow Motion Breakup 2.0 closing this new EP, Montreal. Musically there aren’t many differences, however the title track Montreal definitely starts to head in a direction I’m very interested in. I don’t know what to call it but it’s kind of in this ballad direction that feels full, dark and intense. I plan to work with piano, brass and strings in the future. Maybe synth too.

It does feel like the songs on this release share some of the same themes as your previous releases. Are there certain feelings or ideas you naturally find yourself expressing through songwriting?

Looking back, I now see that I’m innately drawn to writing about people, their minds and how they interact with one another. What happens psychologically when two different inner-worlds, personalities and experiences come together. It’s just so interesting to me and it’s so gratifying when I work really hard to figure out how to articulate myself and then I can look back at a song I’ve finished and see that I understood what was happening, whether I doubted myself or not.

And is there anything in particular you are looking forward to on the launch night? And with new music out now, will there be some new additions to the live set?

The night will be Rockstars and Popstars dress-up themed because it’s my 30th Birthday! I’m going as the 90s Gwen Stefani, so that’s very exciting. I actually have started writing an album so I will be playing four new songs that haven’t been heard by many people yet, and a brand spanking new band song no one has heard yet. Julia Wallace and Grace Sanders are both playing, so I’m going to make sure no-one talks to me while they’re playing because they’re incredible and I love them.

And what music are you enjoying right now that might shape the sound of Tanaya Harper songs in the future?

I am currently in love with Blue Weekend by Wolf Alice. Then there’s a bit of Beach House, a bit of Arcade Fire, a bit of Sharon Van Etten. Who knows where I’m headed? I have also listened to both Spotlight by Jessie Ware, and I Am Not A Woman I’m A God by Halsey, produced by Trent Reznor, a hundred times each. The production on those songs is insane.

And what have you got lined up for the rest of the year and into 2022? Any other live shows to look forward to? Either as Tanaya Harper or in any other musical projects you are part of?

For the rest of the year I have some lovely support slots lined up. I don’t think I can list all of them just yet though! Stay tuned. I’m also the bass player in Ghost Care and we have our EP Launch coming up very soon! Pre-sale your tickets and get down to Mojo’s on October 29 for the launch of I’m So Sick Of Being So Happy.

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