I recently had the opportunity to interview Abbe May. Though her upcoming album is not due for release til April 2013, her first single ‘Karmageddon’ has been gathering a lot of interest. In ‘Kiss My Apocalypse’ Abbe, originally from Western Australia, has deviated from the guitar heavy tunes she is known for in a big way. While the titles of both her album and single give off a doom and gloom type feel, Abbe divulges that the apparent end-of-the-world theme of the whole album is actually a euphemism for the end of love. Maybe she’s just a girl after all :p
1. Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. Why do you think there is such a strong music culture there? And how do you think it distinguishes itself from the rest of Australia?
It is probably the result of Perth being such a small community… bullshit rarely gets a chance to sneak past the front door here.. Everybody knows each other here….not everyone likes each other, necessarily, but mostly it is a very supportive environment if you aren’t taking the piss – SO I would say that the small size of our community is a big part of why we have such a strong music culture.
2. Any recommendations of up-and-comers for the west?
I like Dianas, Flower Drums, These Shipwrecks, Polly Medlen, The Silents, Loose Lips, Rabbit Island, Kevin Smith, Todd Pickett, C/H/I/N/K/S/L/I/P/P/E/R/S..and Blackmilk… I have a feeling that James Gates of Wolves at The Door might blind us with something beautiful soon…Davey Craddock is brilliant.. oh woman! There’s heaps! Too many to list without forgetting something incredible.
3. We really like your videos! Do you have much artistic input into the direction of them?
I usually give a little idea of where I want the director to start.. But I make sure I choose a really talented director so that I can just allow them to work their magic from there… I make sure I have creative chemistry with my director, much the same as I do with my musicians and producer….it’s born out of respect and curiosity. Creative chemistry usually makes for an interesting collaboration. You can feel that as a viewer because when I interact with the camera it is so closely tied to how I interact with the director and the directions I am receiving. If it didn’t have any kind of “ZING” to it, then it would be boring. I also need to trust the director and crew. I am not a particularly good actor. In fact, I am fucking terrible at acting…. so I have to play myself.. and this is only possible for me if I am comfortable with the people behind the camera.
4. You’re not coming to Brisbane this tour Any plans to? When was the last time you were here and did you enjoy it?
I like Brisbane a lot. How could one not? I will likely be touring there at some point next year, I promise!… the last time I played in QLD was for the Big Day Out tour in Jan 2012.
5. Your new album due out in April ‘Kiss My Apocalypse’ is apparently pretty end-of-the-world themed. Why the obsession with Armageddon?
I’m not obsessed with the end of the world. The concept of Apocalypse is simply applied to my writing to amplify the works greater meaning – it is an album about the end of love..I am comparing it, in admittedly a rather dramatic fashion, to the end of the world…. Hey, as we speak, that shit movie “2012” just came on the TV. Maybe we ARE all going to die…of boredom.. I don’t really mind if we do all slip off this mortal coil… I’d miss the epic beauty of it all, but, I’m not afraid of death… it’s just the dying part that bothers me.
6. You’ve cited a lot of electronic, hip-hop and even pop influences (Massive Attack, Portishead, Prince, Kanye West) for your new album. Is it a far departure from the guitar heavy sound you’re known for?
The new album is a very distinctly different beast to Design Desire.. but I have listened to most of those artists for many years now…Their influence is just bubbling up to the surface now and you can hear that in Kiss My Apocalypse.
7. You’re known for having a pretty epic live set. Do you see yourself as a performer or musician in a live setting?
Well, both really… I’m here to entertain you because I know that you won’t listen unless I am entertaining… so the performance part is a pretty essential way to get the music into your head and heart.
8. We hear you’re an avid reader. What are you reading at the moment?
Currently I am reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This is the 4th time I have read it since 2010. It’s such a wicked little trip into an alternate reality that isn’t perhaps so difficult to imagine as a possible future. I like to read because it keeps my mind fit and keeps me focused on language as a tool to convey imagery and meaning. I love the way books feel in my hands… I have hundreds of books. They spill out of my shelves and onto the floor.. Now I have started several piles of books on the floors in each room. I think Brave New World is probably my third favourite book behind “Grimus” by Salman Rushdie and “Song Of Solomon” by Toni Morrison