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In a spare moment on her new album tour, Estère took a moment to talk psychology and inspiration with What's Hot New Zealand.
Your new album Archetypes is influenced by Jungian theory – how did that come to be? I was interested in making a concept album and around that time I had been introduced to the idea of archetypes through talking with my grandmother. She used to read Jung, and introduced me to his philosophies and his ideas. I search for meaning most profoundly when I am writing music; Archetypes is about looking for universal ideas regarding human nature, and how we have shared patterns in our lives. I related it to myself and used my own experience to express those more universal ideas.
What have you learned through the experience of writing and recording this album? I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my own subconscious through writing the album. I did a lot of dream journaling and augury – tarot, I Ching, astrology – to get ideas. Recording this album also taught me a lot about composition and collaboration.
How has the sound evolved from your previous releases? There is a lot more live instrumentation on Archetypes that cross-pollinates with digital. I also put a different kind of focus into the songwriting than I previously have. For me, music is a vessel through which I learn more about myself and the world around me. My projects have to evolve alongside me or else I feel stuck.
Tell us about your first ever public performance. My first public performance as ‘Estère’ was at City Gallery Wellington with my MPC Lola. There was a crowd of about 20 sitting in front of me and I was so nervous I was shaking. But I started playing ‘Reptilian Journey' and people started popping their heads almost automatically and a huge wave of relief and adrenaline rushed through my body.
Do you have any rituals before a gig? It’s really important for me to dress up for a show. The simple act of putting on an outfit and doing my makeup transforms my mental state into being ready to perform for an audience.
One day I’ll… Make a concept album that is full of found-sound samples of different countries I travel to.
Your 2021 tour has been postponed due to February’s Covid restrictions – what did you do with the extra time? Hung out with my friends and ate tacos.
Who’s someone you’d love to collab with? Two of my dream collaborations would be with Sampa The Great and Rosalía.
What tunes have you got on high rotation at the moment? Listening to SiR ‘D’Evils’ on repeat as well as the whole new Fleet Foxes album Shore. And my friend Zoe Moon’s new single 'Bubbles'.
Who’s a Kiwi musician we should be keeping an eye on? PollyHill.
What do you love or loathe about being on the road? I love travelling and seeing new scenery. It’s so exciting. Not a huge fan of hotel beds.
Fave spot around Aotearoa? Punakaiki and the Fox River area. I love the West Coast.
What are you looking forward to this autumn? Seeing what happens! I’m waiting with bated breath to see how the year unfolds.
What’s on the cards for the rest of the year? I’ve got some production work coming up which I’m excited about. I’ll probably continue to work on songs and projects and hopefully be able to tour Archetypes at some festivals.
Nationwide, Sun 21 Mar – Sun 9 May