Hi! “Tell Me It Ain’t True” delves deeply into themes of denial and heartbreak. Can you share what personal experiences or inspirations led you to write this song?

A: I think that everyone at some point in their lives has gone through some form of trauma, difficulty or heartbreak. I know I’ve certainly experienced a lot of loss; grief and pain in my life so it was just a matter of drilling down into those experiences where I knew those feelings were buried. I wanted to centre the song on that real denial of belief that I have experienced when I’ve had to confront unwanted change and I had no control over it except to go into denial mode.

The narrative of “Tell Me It Ain’t True” is quite powerful and emotional. How did you approach the songwriting process to convey these intense feelings so effectively?

A: For me, when I sat down to write this song, I approached it from the position that emotions hurt and sooner or later we’re all going to feel the sting of heartbreak. With TMIAT it was time for me to be the direct protagonist in order to present my audience with my personal view of loss, grief and denial. To achieve that, I put myself in the position of asking myself how I felt when I lost someone I loved. It was clear to me that denial was the strongest emotion I felt at the time, so I channelled that feeling and crafted my lyrics around those emotions.

The music video for “Tell Me It Ain’t True” is said to be quite captivating. Can you describe the creative vision behind the video and how it complements the song?

A: TMIAT was the first “traditional” music video shoot I decided to make. The previous ones I’d made were all centred on stories being played out by actors that reflected and mimicked the lyrics of those particular songs.

I wanted to film this video in a beautiful empty hall to act as the metaphor for emptiness and lingering memories.

Utilising the black and white theme was also deliberate as visually it acts as a metaphor between light and dark; something I believe we all have within us.

The script was quite simple keeping a similar vein of previous videos, where all the visuals would align to the actual lyrics either in direct context or as a metaphor to enhance the lyrical composition.

You’ve used the same actors in your previous music video for “Flatline D.O.A” and now in “Tell Me It Ain’t True.” What was the reasoning behind this decision, and how does it contribute to the storytelling in your music?

A: Using Bonnie Wheeler was the natural choice as she’s been in multiple videos for other tracks on the album. Bonnie appears in “Shout Down The Silence” and also in “Haunted”. She’s like my partner in this “darkness” journey.

I think the use of the same characters also helps establish the underlining themes (Love, Loss, Denial and Grief) that are present throughout the album.

“Walking With My Darkness” is a concept album so it made sense to replicate those conceptual ideas within the majority of my music videos.

The inclusion of those characters in multiple music videos provide the links to show the evolution of the relationship between two people and how that evolution often brings change and with it a wide range of emotional challenges and discomfort. I believe that character consistency also helps the audience relate to the characters more personally which in turn helps them to really connect with the song in a more powerful way.

“Tell Me It Ain’t True” is a part of your concept album, “Walking With My Darkness.” How does this song fit into the broader narrative of the album?

A: There are 7 stages of grief and “denial” is a big stage within that journey. 1. Shock 2. Pain and Guilt 3. Anger / Bargaining 4. Denial 5.Depression 6. Acceptance & Hope (realisation and reengagement with society) and 7. Reconstruction and working through.

TMIAT sits at the halfway point of the album at Track 6. As the album is a concept album, I was extremely aware of how important the positioning of each track was when finalising the track listing order. TMIAT shows the progression through the journey of grief with the lyrics centred around denial, bargaining and depression. It links perfectly back to Flatline D.O.A (where the insurmountable action of death strips away everything leaving nothing but grief in its place). This forms the foundation of the next steps in the grief cycle. It also ties itself to the following track, No Coming Back which is part of the Acceptance phase.

Your music often explores the complex emotions surrounding relationships and their end. How do you balance making your songs universally relatable while also keeping them deeply personal?

A: I think that I write best when I’m writing from my own personal experiences or when it’s a topic that I am familiar with. The great thing about emotions is that everyone has them and more often than not, a listener has gone through something similar to what I have written in a song. That is how I believe my songs are universally relatable. I’m just writing about everyday things that everyday people (including me) experience and relate to. The only difference is that I express them through the medium of music and rather than repress those emotions, I share them with the world.

The process of creating music can be both rewarding and challenging. What was the most challenging aspect of creating “Tell Me It Ain’t True,” and how did you overcome it?

A: The major challenges during the creation of this song and in fact the whole album were the musical arrangement and unreliable internet connections. Being produced at the peak of the pandemic, most songs were written in isolation, exacerbated by the geographical separation between my cowriter Rey, in Cuba; and myself in Australia. To overcome this, we heavily relied on exchanging tracks over the internet, leading to significant delays due to Cuba’s limited internet access. Rey primarily composed 99% of the album’s music, and the collaborative process involved him sending demos, me modifying and restructuring them, and the constant back-and-forth until a final format was agreed upon. Our unique writing process involved Rey sending demo music, and only after finding a suitable piece would I pen the lyrics, often without a complete melody initially. Patience also became a personal challenge, as I desired both a thorough creative process and a swift completion of the work, highlighting the contradictory nature of my approach.

How do you hope your audience will feel or what do you hope they will take away after listening to “Tell Me It Ain’t True” and watching the music video?

A: I write all my songs with the intent of getting people to connect with the lyrics whilst giving them the space within the song to be able to form their own opinions and emotional responses. I never want to tell someone how they should feel when they listen to my song as it’s an intensely personal experience for every person. My hope is that listeners take away whatever they need to be able to negotiate their feelings and that it strikes a chord with them, encouraging them to address those conjured up emotions.

Finally, with the release of “Tell Me It Ain’t True” through Epictronic via The Orchard Sony, what are your expectations for the song’s impact on your career and your audience?

A: I’ve been extremely humbled by the response to this song. Within the first 3 weeks of its release, it has amassed over 1 million views on my label’s (Epictronic) YouTube channel. This tells me that the song is resonating with people all over the globe. As an artist from Australia, achieving that global reach in a few short weeks is staggering! It’s already led to more downloads of my other songs and increasing interest in the new album “Walking With My Darkness”, which is being released worldwide on Friday 16th Feb 2024.

TMIAT has also created a stepping stone for me to now be in a position where industry professionals are recognising the potential for this song and my career to continue to develop in a strong forward momentum. As such touring opportunities are now being worked on for later this year in addition to the release of more music throughout 2024 and beyond.