human_katysteeleThe former Little Birdy frontwoman with the inimitable voice has released a towering and intricate debut album, entitled Human. We spoke to Katy Steele about how it came together.

Q1/ There’s a lot of creative percussion on here – I read that you didn’t want to use any pre-packaged beat samples. Is percussion something you’ve always been interested in?

Well, percussion is not something I would have guessed would have featured as heavily as it does, so I can’t take complete credit for that one! I’d say the vocal effects and the overall grandness of the strings and choirs were definitely more of my vision, so the percussion element was a nice, welcome surprise that I have completely learned to love and appreciate. Gio [Matt Gio, Producer] is a multi-instrumentalist, so his abilities were in high demand in the studio. He is one of the most patient, hardworking and persistent people I’ve met, so it really was his attention to detail that gave the album all those final intricacies. I tend to be a lot more loose when I’m recording home demos. But with that looseness sometimes comes gold, so I think you’ve got to have both elements, which is what I think gives this album its strength. Nothing is too perfect or calculated; there is still some roughage around the edges. A lot of the time, mistakes were instrumental in leading us onto something even cooler.

Q2/ It seems it’d be easy to spend a lot of time on something as intricate as those percussion instruments, as well as vocal effects – how do you know when to draw the line?

That’s a great question. It just naturally got to a stage when we knew we were finally done with a track. We really did take our time though, with that process, to make sure everything was exactly where it should be. I think it’s really important to have space when you are in the studio. You’ve got to have time to go away and come back a week later with fresh perspective and vision.

Q3/ You mention Kate Bush as an influence; not her melodic choices, but the production over her voice. What is it you like about how her voice is presented on recordings?

I was just so into the vocal production when we were recording. I had come back from America; I had always been in charge over there, but I needed to find exactly the right vision and know in my gut what I wanted. I got back to Perth and found myself focusing on the voice more than ever before. Something about the power of layering up vocal upon vocal to form a choir inspired me so much. I was attracted to the idea that such strength and power could be conceived from a human and their vocal chords. The effects were just a different way to modernise this concept, and then combined with these really simple songs I was writing, I thought it was a good flavour for 2016.

Q4/ Lonely is a beautiful closer. Where and when did you come up with the piano chord progression?

I actually remember distinctly writing this song. It’s not that often that I remember the moment I wrote a song, so this one is unique for me. I wrote [it] in the family underground studio called The Dungeon. This one was written very, very quickly, and I knew as those chords were being formed that this song would end up on the record. I could feel it. I think generally with this album, I got to a point where I felt like being vulnerable, and showing that to the world, was OK. I felt like telling the world one night how I felt like the loneliest person in the world, and I feel better now that it’s out there.

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi