Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Australia’s Siobhan Cotchin. Together we discussed Taylor Swift, highways in Australia, their latest song “When The Curtains Close”, and so much more!
1.Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Thanks for having me! I’m doing very well! I’ve been super busy but in the best way.
2. You grew up in a house with music lovers. What kind of music was played throughout the house?
It was an eclectic mix for sure. My dad introduced me to a lot of the old school country legends like Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and Slim Dusty. He also showed me classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. My mum loves all kinds of music, especially RnB. I’m very grateful for the music i grew up listening to because I feel like I have a great appreciation for all kinds of music and I think that’s important as an artist. I’m also super close with my grandma and she introduced me to 50s rock and also the old school musicals like Singin’ in The Rain and all the Marilyn Monroe classics! My music taste is chaotic in the best way thanks to my family.
3. At 9 Years old you discovered Taylor Swift. Can you recall what Swift song caught your attention?
I was pretty much obsessed as soon as I heard Love Story, I remember that was the first song I heard from her Fearless record. I’d never heard anything like it before and her story-telling lyrics really drew me in.
4. Taylor Swift is currently on her Eras tour. Do you have a favorite Taylor Swift era?
I think the ‘Red’ era affected me the most and really inspired me to write. Hearing All Too Well for the first time was magical and just showed me how powerful songwriting can be.
5. When you were 11 years old you performed your first gig at the Civic Hotel doing a rendition of “Our Song.” What made you choose this Taylor Swift song?
I think I was going through a debut Taylor phase at the time. I loved her first album around that time and I think chose that song because it was just a fantastic song and just made me happy.
6. Is there a specific song or album that had a significant impact on you?
There are so many records that have shaped me into the artist I am today. Obviously Taylor’s ‘Fearless’, I think that was the first album I ever properly listened to and was super inspired by. Throughout my teenage years I listened to a bit of everything, but I remember listening to ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley and my brain chemistry being altered. As I got older I fell back in love with country and all the classics, but I also became obsessed with heavy rock and grunge, especially from the 90s. I would say that ‘Live Through This’ by Hole has made a significant impact on me and still influences my music to this day.
7. Who (or what) influences you?
I don’t know if you can tell, but Taylor Swift is kind of a big deal for me….
In terms of songwriting, I’m inspired by all the greats like Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell. I also think that Courtney Love has had an immense impact on me and helped me realise the bad bitch rock chick that has always been inside me! In terms of ‘what’ inspires me, I love to write about my own life experiences, but also the stories of others that have impacted me. I find lots of inspiration from friends, books, TV shows, movies, poetry and even other people’s songs.
8. What is your songwriting process?
Almost always, the lyrics come first. I find that the most important part of the song and for me, it’s what informs the chords and melody. If the lyrics are melancholic, I’ll find chords and a vocal melody that match that.
9. When you’re songwriting do you think about the potential amount of streams? Or does the story come first?
The story always comes first. I don’t think that worrying about streams is helpful to the creative process and it takes away the magic of songwriting. I like to be selfish with my music and write what I want to, rather than what others want to hear. Worrying about what other people think or how the song will be received is not helpful and can be super damaging in regards to mental health. I try to not put too much weight on the expectations of others and do what I want because it makes me feel fulfilled. That being said though, there’s a huge part of me that finds it so rewarding when people tell me how my music has helped them and I think is an important part of what I do. I want people to feel seen and heard when they hear my songs.
10. How has it felt to receive such high praise and recognition from Triple J?
It’s so lovely and is very reassuring for me. Triple J is a huge part of the music scene Australia-wide and to have their support is awesome and helps my music become more known around the different parts of Australia!
11. Humans sometimes reply “Do you know what I mean?” when in a conversation. What is the context of this question within the song? Do humans often know what you mean?
I sure hope so! That song came out of the anxiety I was having at the time and I think I just wanted some reassurance from the people listening to the song and I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling. I hope that in return, people felt less alone when listening to the track.
12. 2022 saw the release of your EP “Highways and Heartbreaks.” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
This EP was super rewarding to put together and so much fun to record. The band and I had a great time at Sundown Studios with legend Elliot Smith, who really helped us find the perfect sound. I think this EP has a clear story that wasn’t apparent until we actually finished it. It’s all about trying to escape the turmoil and the people that hold us back.
13. What are highways like in Australia?
They can get pretty hectic during peak hour, but for the most part, I really enjoy driving in general and driving down highways have given me lots of time to think. I even write songs when I’m stuck in traffic!
14. Mustard wonders what was the inspiration behind your latest single “When The Curtain Closes?”
When The Curtains Close is about realising that a person you love isn’t the person you think they are, and coming to terms with the fact that they shouldn’t be in your life. It’s probably one of my most vulnerable and personal songs and I’m super proud of it.
15. From a narrative standpoint, “When The Curtain Closes” feels like an important chapter within a story. Can readers expect a future EP or album?
There’s an EP being announced very soon which I’m so excited to release. When The Curtains Close will be part of it and is probably the most delicate part of the record and is the softer part of it.
16. What is next for Siobhan Cotchin?
I’ve got some new music coming out very very soon, playing shows and going on tour!
17. Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’m going on a national tour, starting in May! I’m doing a few headline shows and then some of the dates supporting legends Kingswood.
18. Where can readers listen to your music?
Pretty much anywhere you listen to music! My music is available to listen to on all the main streaming services. I’m also on Bandcamp, which helps artists make a little more money than on Spotify!