Interview: Priscilla is reaching new heights with ‘Feeling Higher’
Taking lessons learnt from their previous singles and EP’s, ‘shiny pop’ group Priscilla continue their work to produce electro pop bangers that hark to personal experiences in their single ‘Feeling Higher,’ taking time to reflect on Perth, the gig-life and the local circulation of talent and their place amongst the chaos
IN: The last time I saw you guys was for a little bit at WAMfest and before at Badlands in September, I remember being blown away by the sheer magnitude of volume and depth of your sound and your awesome take on ‘Sorry Not Sorry.’ When playing your jams live, do you focus on making your live sound different to your recorded tracks?
Priscilla: Definitely (and thank you for your kind words, little chuffed to be honest)! Even though we always try to replicate the production of our recorded work live, a reality we try to embrace is that the two are completely different parts of PRISCILLA. [On a live show] we have the opportunity to talk/have bants on stage (to varying degrees of success). That part is a lot of fun, and our friends give us a lot of shit that they’ve not come to see us play, but rather come to see our duo “stand-up” show. Because of the nature of our budget, our live set sounds a lot more acoustic, particularly with drums (we don’t have the budget just yet to invest in kit triggers ha ha), but it’s really fun to create something on stage that is slightly different to what’s out on the internet. Really fun to see people grooving along too!
You guys left quite the impression on me after the Badlands gig, I think this was due to the fresh and unique genre change that was in that nights line up (Demon Days, Butter, Grievous Bodily Calm). While most acts are embracing the wonderful melting pot of jazzy neo-soul funk fusion, do you feel, as a group, that you fit in with this trend?
Hey, thanks! We wouldn’t so much think we fit into the neo-soul genre. Maybe a bit funk with our earlier tracks but our newer ones are definitely moving more in that shiny pop direction. We love what all those dudes are doing though, we saw Butter again the other night and they rock, and are also just lovely humans. We will always jump at the change to groove on down to some neo-soul.
Who are your main influences?
We listen to a lot of different stuff, but for this release though, we were definitely vibing a lot of SIA and Troye Sivan. Basically our aim at the moment is to make really good pop music, so we are listening to artists that we think capture that the most. We’ve recently been loving people like Kira Puru and Julia Michaels who are killing the pop game.
Do you find yourself drawing influences and ideas from local Perth acts too?
Honestly, we feel like as far as the pop scene goes in Perth, there’s not a lot of bands that we feel are super alike to us, which is kinda cool, but also kinda isolating. We recently discovered Francis Foxx, which is James Knox’s new pop project and we bloody frothed it. He only had one song out at the time, but we asked him to play our launch party because we were so excited to find new pop act friends in Perth.
That being said, the local scene has influenced us in SO many other ways. Perth artists are so embracing and supportive - everyone really encourages each other to continue releasing music and fighting the good fight.
When we head out to gigs, we get inspiration from so many different facets of live set ups. When we see Grievous Bodily Calm play live, we get inspired by Alex Reid on the kit, when we see Axe Girl play we froth the new ‘pop-ier’ direction they’ve been dishing out these days, and when we see Gazey, it gives us such joy whenever Josiah sings his little heart out.
There’s so much awesome stuff out there to inspire us to keep making music, cause the Perth scene is so much more than just music releases.
What is your favourite Perth venue to perform in (and why?)
Literally any venue that has enough DI’s for us. We’ve been burned before. Nah, but seriously any time we get to play at The Bird (especially if Chris Wright is on sound) is a blessing- we love that venue. Jack Rabbit Slims is also bloody lovely too, the sound is always AWESOME (Mark Owen), and the staff there are bloody lovely; not to forget Bec who works there (JRS), who is always taking care of the bands and is one of the best humans we’ve ever met.
Who is your favourite Perth artist/musician right now?
We’ve always loved Gazey and what they’re doing, when we first saw them play live we immediately were like ‘THEY ARE OUR SOUL BAND.’ Super cool to see they've been getting some recent success too, and playing at In The Pines!!! So flippin’ cool.
With your single release of ‘Feeling Higher’ what steps have you taken in your song writing to evolve your sound?
We’ve definitely tightened things up a bit. Every time we record we learn something new about production, vocal tracking, and the process as a whole. We wrote things a little differently, focussing on the melodic hooks first and then the wider song; then lyrics last. Which kinda worked because we usually get a bit bogged down with the creative process when writing lyrics, so it was kinda cool to switch things up a bit. We decided to get hooks we loved and then listen to the song and let it tell us what to write about.
While ‘Don’t You Realise’ carried a powerful message of sexuality and living as your true self in the face of persecution and judgement, does ‘Feeling Higher’ follow on from these themes of sexuality.
Yes and no. Everything we release is an authentic representation of who we are as artists. So, because of the nature of Priscilla as our front person being queer, our songs are always going to be a representation of that. Ultimately, Priscilla sings the lyrics, so whilst they are written by both of us, they’re always going to be truthful to Priscilla’s experience living in today’s world as a queer person. Sometimes that will be relevant to songs (‘Don’t You Realise’ was written about a specific event), and sometimes it will just be about not letting the world get you down (Feeling Higher). The latter is more ambiguous, and is going to mean something different to Luke than it does to Priscilla, because of the nature of our differing experiences and lives. However, the overall message is united because hilariously Luke and Priscilla are very much the same person. That’s why our friendship (and music project) will last forever. Everything comes from who we are as people and that feeds into our music.
What’s next for you guys?
Got more tunes to be released this year along with some collabs, we’ve got a few super cool gigs coming too and just keeping the hustle going. You can find us trying to put as much positivity and good vibes out into the world, hopefully we get a good ROI!