Q&A: Broken Stone Records Artist – Caitlin Park

Sydney singer-songwriter CAITLIN PARK is making waves in the niche genre known as neo-folk. With recent support slots for Active Child, she’s also part of the Broken Stone Records Showcase which starts touring tomorrow. Cheryl Billman had a chat with Caitlin Park to get the deets on her musical inspiration, live shows and future plans…

PS: In Milk Annual you use a lot of samples, some of which are from old-school films. You used to work in a cult video store, which obviously had something of an impact on your life. What’s one film you think everyone should see?

CP: Fearless Vampire Killers by Roman Polanski – all those vamp fans should see this film before the more recent ones, if not for the beautiful colouring, perhaps for the wicked dialogue.

PS: The use of samples help shape the meaning in your music – how do you choose the samples you’re going to use? 

CP: Sometimes the samples come first, and the song is shaped around the way I interpret them. Other times the song is written and the samples are put in (sometimes in a disjointed fashion) to create more of a visual momentum to the music – there’s nothing better, in my opinion, than listening to music and letting your mind drift.

PS: There seems to be a character and a story behind each and every song on Milk Annual. Can we expect a concept album from Caitlin Park anytime soon? 

CP: Phhewww! Right On! I would love to do a concept album. Perhaps that is the next installment, we’ll see where the samples and sound effects take me.

PS: You also seem to place quite an emphasis on ensuring that your music has a rich visual element. How is this integrated into your live shows? 

CP: The Live show is becoming more and more integrated with these elements – and if I had everyday off work I would make it more so! Live, I have a great band that play sample pads and drum pads and use their mouths to push this beast along.

PS: You spent a lot of time on the road in late 2011 following the release of your album – how do you find that local attitudes affect the atmosphere of your live shows and the audience’s response to your music? 

CP: Most of the time the response to the shows are great, Australia IS a great place to make music after all. Sometimes, people are a bit weirded out or perplexed by the samples, and most of the songs don’t go verse/chorus, but there is something quite exciting about trying your hardest to make people listen and enjoy themselves, it makes you work harder.

PS: Your music toes the line between the old – with the rich folksy sound and samples of classic movies – and the new. Was this intentional or has that happened organically? 

CP: I would say intentional. There is a big part of me that wants to jump straight into the new – you hear and see bands having such a great time, discovering new ways to turn people on, and I indulge. But I can’t tear away from folk music roots, it is an intoxicating way of conveying your ideas and its so beautiful, don’t you think? Also, I think getting an acoustic guitar right is more challenging.

PS: You’re a neo-folk musician; do you feel that there’s a lot of support for that genre in the Australian music industry?  

CP: Its getting bigger and better – but I do think it is pushed into a niche more so than others. And in a way that is a good thing, but it does make it a little more difficult to reach people.

PS: Who (or what) do you feel influences your music most? 

CP: Passionate musicians, people who talk about it and I get goosebumps. Film compositions and cinema music programming. The way people talk and interact and express themselves – the rhythm of words.

To catch CAITLIN PARK live, see HERE for more information.

Words by Cheryl Billman


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