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Ayla on creating her new EP 'Let's Talk Monday'

I get blown away every time I see someone singing along to some of the words."

Not many could do as much in as short a timespan as Ayla. The release of her latest single ‘Porcelain Doll’ – a song that the fast-rising singer-songwriter wrote five years ago when she was just 17 – comes fresh from a whirlwind national tour with folk musician Kim Churchill. Her forthcoming EP Let's Talk Monday drops in a mere manner of weeks.

A cavalcade of songs exploring new techniques and directions, Let's Talk Monday saw Ayla team up with Ball Park Music's Sam Cromack as producer. Describing the experience as amazing, Ayla enjoyed the dynamic of collaboration and discovery.

"He's got a little home studio in Brisbane where we recorded," Ayla says. "For one of the songs, I really liked the idea of creating a similar build that was in a song by DMA’s called ‘Delete’. I really liked the stripped back feel in that song and (how) it builds as it goes.

 

“I'd show Sam a couple of reference tracks that I had and if he had an idea, he'd try to find an example for me in a song and play it. It was really cool listening to the stuff that he listens to as well, just to get a bit of an idea of what goes on in his musical mind.”

There'll be no rest for Ayla in January. She'll soon be heading out on another tour, headlining Brisbane's Rare Finds mini-festival as it expands to both Melbourne and Sydney for the first time.

"I get blown away every time I see someone singing along to some of the words," she says. "I think that's incredible. On the home show we did, on the Kim Churchill one, we played at Solbar, and there were quite a few people singing along. That was a really special feeling."

The album’s creation proved to be a natural evolution – picking songs that fit together thematically, but also finding enjoyment in trying to make them fit together via production elements. Experimenting with synth-esque vocal layering and effects reminiscent of projects like Bon Iver, Ayla found fun in crafting a unique essence – like creating her own puzzle.

"Everybody says that it's a great way to express yourself," Ayla says. "To document things that are going on in your life, whether it be actual events or emotions, and get them down. Then you have this thing that can represent that and be apart from you, so you can look at it more objectively and then feel a little bit removed from it. You're able to work on it as a song or thinkpiece and then release that without feeling too exposed. It can be a really great process.

"I do a little bit of singing teaching up on the Sunshine Coast, and I really enjoy getting the students to try and explore that," Ayla continues. "Just write down what they're feeling and what they want to write a song about, and creating something that's a lot of fun.

"I had my first class when I was 15," Ayla remembers. "I met these kids at a wedding, and their mum – they were getting up and singing, because I was singing at the wedding. They were really into it and their mum asked if I could teach them lessons – if I could come up to their local hall and she might be able to get a few of the local kids there. I was like, 'Yeah, that sounds cool.' I went up and there were 13 kids there in this little hall.

"It was lots of fun – it was a bit of a shock that there were so many. I've definitely progressed as a singing teacher from then. We were singing for fun and doing little music exercises. I really enjoy seeing other people sing and how much enjoyment they can get from it, because music is a pretty universally enjoyable thing. It's nice to be able to express yourself through singing."

Ayla will release her new EP Let's Talk Monday on Friday January 12 via Caroline Australia. She’ll launch it at The Penny Black on Friday January 19.