Canowindra singer-songwriter Sophie Payten will celebrate the release of her debut album ‘Reservoir’ this Friday, following eight months of record production up to February this year.
The 11 track album is written entirely by Sophie, who records and performs as Gordi, and features two tracks she produced on her own – Heaven I Know and I’m Done (feat. S Carey).
The album release comes at a busy time for the 24-year-old, who is preparing for her final university exams this September, and follows a demanding two week tour of Canada and the US earlier this month.
Speaking to Sophie on Tuesday afternoon, she explained how she’s become accustomed to a busy schedule, having traveled between her studies at university in Sydney, and recording her debut album in Los Angeles (LA) for the most part of last year.
‘Reservoir’ came together after having its work finished at the beginning of 2017.
“I’d do 12 weeks university and one week off. In that one week off I’d be in LA recording and then back here to university for 12 weeks. It was a pretty exhausting year,” Sophie explained.
“Towards the end of the year I felt like there were bits and pieces of the record all over the world.
“For five or six weeks at the start of this year I was in Iceland, Wisconsin and LA and finished it. I recorded the songs that needed to be recorded. By the end of February it was all there.”
Gordi indicated she’s already thought about a second project, as she continues to write music during a busy schedule, but her focus is on knocking over September’s exams.
She described the feeling she gets while writing music, while in the studio and when performing, though, as “natural” and one that makes her happiest.
“I’ve done day dreaming about a time when I can just concentrate on my music,” she said.
“There is down times like waiting at airports and carting luggage up stairs and you do have dud shows and think ‘why am I doing this’.
“But it’s pretty cool. I looked around at a Barcelona show and thought ‘what, why, who? Wait someone pinch me’. It feels like a dream sometimes.
“It feels natural and there’s nothing else that gives me that satisfaction.”
Canowindra’s played a hugely influential part in Sophie’s young music career, she said, and it remains an important place, not only for her personally, but as a place to come to for inspiration, motivation and ideas.
“There is space you lose in the city. You can sit alone in your room but you still feel like there is so much happening, it’s hectic,” she said about city life.
“If I’m in a dry spell of writing I’ll go home to reignite the spark.
“I sit on mum’s piano in the lounge room and I never don’t write a song. The space and atmosphere is motivating.”
Sophie is looking forward to returning to song writing, getting the ball rolling towards a second album and teeing-up some collaborations with fellow artists she’s met during the past few years.
“My short term goal is getting back in touch with that [song writing] and flesh out some songs and look at recording a new album,” she said.
And as for the name Gordi?
“Joe [Sophie’s brother] randomly called me Gordon as a child, it came from nowhere. It’s a man’s name. I was super embarrassed by it. It got shortened to Gordi but no one knew about it,” she explained.
“Through a series of events I ended up telling my friends I have a family name I’ll be singing under. They we were like ‘we didn’t know you had a family nickname’.
“When I said it my friends pissed themselves laughing for about 20 minutes. I said ‘I’m going to do it’,” Sophie laughed.
On Friday, Gordi said she’ll “crack some champagne” with breakfast to mark the milestone of the release of her debut album ‘Reservoir’ before performing at a record store in Sydney.
She begins a four show tour of Australia’s east coast next week, with two shows in Brisbane on Thursday, August 31 and Friday, September 1 and shows at Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Wednesday, September 6 and Sydney on Friday, September 8.
She has tour dates booked in Europe for November.
- Long Way
- All The Light We Cannot See
- On My Side
- Bitter End
- Heaven I Know
- I’m Done (feat. S Carey)
- Can We Work It Out
- Better Than Then, Closer to Now
- Something Like This
- Reservoir was written by Sophie Payten and co-produced alongside Tim Anderson, Ali Chant (Perfume Genius/PJ Harvey) and Alex Somers (Sigur Ros). It was recorded across studios in Reykjavik, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, as well as Bon Iver’s April Base in Wisconsin.
- “The name Reservoir, it's that thing that you can't describe, that space that anxious people would probably live their life in. In order to be able to write a song I need to go to that place, but I couldn't live a functional life if I spent all my time in there,” Sophie explained.