Ups and downs: Riding the wave of new album Hertz with Carla Geneve

Following her critically acclaimed debut album Learn to Like It and hot off the release of her single Bills back in August, Albany-born, Perth-based singer-songwriter Carla Geneve will be releasing her highly-anticipated second album Hertz on Friday, October 27. With her new album encompassing sounds of the 1950s, and reflecting on her own journey with bipolar disorder, ETHAN GREGORY caught up with Carla Geneve to find out why it’s a new direction for the seven-time WAM Song of the Year winner. 

Congrats on the release of your new album! What was the first step you remember taking toward creating this record? And what do you remember feeling at the time?

I remember feeling super ready to start writing something new and apply everything I’d learned from making my first album [Learn to Like It] and being like “OK, cool, I know what I’m doing now, and I want to do it again but better.” I think that was my ‘going into it’ thoughts.

Now that the writing and recording is over, do you get a sense of what the album is about? Are there any particular themes or feelings that sum up what it’s about to you?

So, it’s pretty focused album on just a couple of themes really. It’s pretty much just a concept piece about my experience with bipolar disorder and the sort of ups and downs of that and the things I’ve taken away from having that experience in the past like couple of years.

So yeah, the themes would be personal about my own experience but also a bit more universal in terms of telling stories of other people I’ve met with that experience. And I suppose everyone, whether they have something like bipolar or not, has ups and downs in their life and ups and downs in their emotions, so talking about those in a more universal way as well.

What music were you listening to when you were in the process of writing this album? Were there any in particular that shaped its sound and its direction?

I was listening to a lot of Buddy Holly. I got a CD quite a while ago that’s been in my car for like three years (laughs). Listening to him was amazing, and just the way he uses chords in such an intelligent way, that was really inspirational to me and those concise pop songs from the 50s, just the way it’s kind of like “bang, here’s the song.”

It’s clever writing and the words are still just so timeless. A lot of Hank Williams as well, just a lot of older stuff. A lot of the Everly Brothers too, that was pretty great for learning about harmonies and making just amazing chords and amazing writing.

And how does it compare to your first album Learn to Like It? What do you feel is the biggest difference between this album and your last one?

The biggest difference would be that on the first record the music, the writing, and the composition, were very much just a vessel for lyrics. So, I focused way more on lyrics back then, and the lyrics I did write were quite autobiographical I suppose, and quite literal. Whereas over covid I got very nerdy about the composition and the way I use chords in this record, and I think my writing sort of branched out from being so personal. I mean, a lot of the songs are in first person, but I am in reality sort of telling other people’s stories a bit more, which I really enjoyed, and I think that’s something that comes with age really.

How are you going to celebrate the release of this record? Will fans get a chance to catch some of the new songs live?

Yes! We’re going to do a launch at Mojo’s on Friday, November 3.