Published on theMusic.com.au, Feb 2017
There’s a freedom to Guy Sebastian’s upcoming LP Conscious that the singer hasn’t explored yet. The Aussie favourite tells Daniel Cribb all about his new perspective on life and music in the lead up to a series of intimate album preview headline dates this March and April.
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your new single, Conscious.
It’s a breaking of some shackles for me. For a while, I think I’ve been bound a little bit to a fear of letting people down, and almost not being myself because I’m trying to uphold this certain thing that was drummed into me for a lot of my life. I think sometimes it causes you to not necessarily be as real as you can be and to almost hide your flaws a little bit, but that’s just not a normal world because we’re all flawed and we all do silly things. Sometimes it’s better when you just let everything out in the open.
I grew up fairly religious and I think that song’s about saying, ‘You know what? If you’ve got an opinion about me, I really don’t care,’ because I know who I am and I know that I don’t need to be weighed down by people’s opinions anymore.
What triggered that change?
I think growing up and having kids of my own and caring a lot less about what people think of me. When you have kids, your whole world changes; you reshuffle your priority list and [your] kids come first. The person who they grow up to know as dad is way more important than someone criticising me for something I might say or do or believe in. As long as they grow up knowing I was always honest with them, and real, and loved them as much as I humanly can, then that’s all that really matters.
What’s the significance of naming the album after the song Conscious?
It’s the one that, on a personal level, stands out the most. It’s probably the most raw as far as what that song means to me. A person might listen to it and it might not resound as deeply as it does with me — to another listener, Conscious could be waking up to their boss and going, ‘You know what? You’re a dick and I’ve been trying to please you for so long and clearly you just can’t be pleased.’ Whereas, for me, that song has a much deeper meaning.
How does the single compare to the rest of the album?
The whole album has a little bit more of an electronic tinge to it. Obviously, there’s a lot of focus on electronic music at the moment and that’s the style of music I’ve been listening to the most; I’ve been discovering new artists and producers on Spotify. It’s an exciting time in music, to have so many people be able to have careers whether it be on SoundCloud or just streaming.
My friend M-Phazes has a track out called Messiah and, you know, you’ve got people like him and Flume — so many producers who are just killing it — and it’s almost like they’ve brought production to the forefront to be acknowledged as much as the artists are and I think that’s really important.
I’ve worked with some incredible producers – I’m going to Sam Sakr’s studio right now, actually. Sam produced Conscious and he produced Home as well. I think anyone who likes electronic music will definitely be pretty inspired by Sam’s drum programming in particular.
What do you and Sam have planned today?
I’ve got a bunch of ideas in my phone that I’m going to go through and probably just take a couple of top lines to Sam and see what sticks. We’re not going to necessarily work on anything existing, I think we’re going to start something totally new. I’ve got an EP that I love [Part 1], but I keep trying to beat it. I’ve written all the tracks for Part 2, but I’m still writing just in case I get something better – I wrote something last week that’s replacing one of the tracks. I guess it’s about constantly trying to pump it out and better what I’ve got.
How will the Part 2 release fit in around Conscious in June?
I’m not really sure when it’s going to be released exactly – I’m shooting for May.
You’ll be giving fans a preview of Conscious in March and April at intimate venues like Corner Hotel and The Triffid – what can we expect from those shows?
It’s definitely different. Just last year I did a tour with a full band – horns, three singers, massive lighting show – and I was playing Rod Laver and entertainment centres around the country and to be in the headspace of being in a much-smaller music venue is exciting.
I wanted to take the vibe I had in the studio to the stage and so basically I’ve just kept it really simple and really stripped back. I think I just wanted to keep that stripped-back production focus with these shows and just give my supporters and fans something as a point of difference. I’ve got a lot of fans that have been to every tour that I’ve ever put on, so it’s really just about bringing something different – something people haven’t seen me do before and making it something a bit more intriguing. Those sort of venues will lend themselves to doing something like that. It’ll just be about lights and delivery in a very stripped-back way.
Can we expect to hear your Like A Version rendition of LDRU’s Keeping Score?
Yeah, I reckon I might [include it] on this tour. I didn’t do that on my last run of shows, so I think I’ll do that.