In her latest songs, it shows more than ever that Katie Stelmanis is both romantic and pragmatic. You can hear it in every track of Olympia, which is as baroque and fantastical as ever in its musical composition, completely unconstrained by genre boundaries – yet disarmingly direct in both its infectious hooks and its lyrics which deal with the minutiae of friendship, love and everyday life with all the seriousness they deserve.
For the first time, Katie collaborated more than ever with fellow members of Austra. “This record,” she says, “has more of Maya and Dorian in it than ever – the process of playing with them, especially with Maya just putting down riffs, has been absolutely vital to it. I’d never let people in before, but this time I was ready… A lot of the lyrics, as well, were written by our backing vocalist Sari [Lightman]. Sari helps me create ideas, add important lines, fill in the blanks – and lyrically this is the strongest thing we’ve ever done!”
Austra is bringing their new material to the Earl on Tuesday, September 17th! We were super stoked to chat with Katie Stelmanis about the new album, the tour and Austra’s live shows! Check out what she had to say!
What was the recording process like for Olympia in comparison to Feel It Break?
Feel it Break was pretty much recording in my bedroom at home, and Olympia was recorded in a studio with the band. Writing music on a computer independently vs working with live instruments in an interactive social sphere is a very different experience, and I think yielded very different results.
Off of Olympia, which song do you enjoy performing live the most?
So far my favorite is Hurt Me Now. It’s got a pretty epic fake ending and then comes back in with a surprise chorus and people go crazy.
What are 3 things that you have to bring with you on the road?
I bring at least 3 pairs of shoes, a mini keyboard to make music in the van, and rosewater to stay fresh and alive.
What is the funniest moment you have had as a band so far?
This may as well be “what is the funniest moment you have had in your life so far” so I will answer it like this: yesterday I tried to put my suitcase into a taxi and it ended up being a city-van filled with construction workers and hydro-electric machines who were all perplexed at my grand entrance.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I eat some rice crackers, make my eyebrows look darker and thicker, and sing along to the support band.
What is the best gig that you have ever played/performed?
All of our gigs are the best gigs I have ever performed one after the next. Sometimes the shows feel terrible but that doesn’t mean someone didn’t think it was wonderful.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Austra, Queen, and then the Magic Flute by Mozart.
Music aside, how do you connect with your crowd at a show?
I move my mouth awkwardly and make abrupt and dramatic sounds with my lips on all the consonants so it appears I am an animal. The audience seems to enjoy this behaviour.
Catch Austra along with Diana at The Earl September 17th! Tickets below!