While she was in the country last week for Splendour in the Grass, I took rising star Bishop Briggs – fresh from celebrating her birthday – around Kings Cross, on a cold Sydney afternoon.
You’re in town for Splendour, and a few sideshows – including one where you’re supporting Catfish and the Bottlemen in Wollongong!
I’m such a big fan of theirs. To be able to open for them, and do just about anything with them, is such a huge honour.
When we last spoke, you were embarking on your first headline tour of America. How did that all go?
It was so incredible. I mean I had been told that a headlining show was different from being the opener – but it isn’t until you’re there, and people are wearing your merch, and singing your lyrics, that you really get to take it in. I was just really appreciative of the whole experience.
So we’re standing right now right near the Coke sign in Kings Cross, which for a long time has been Sydney’s “Red Light District”, but it’s undergone a bit of an upheaval over the last few years due to our lock out laws. Now it’s basically a residential area. Though there’s still a few great bars along the way.
You know I’ve been hearing about this, and as you say that the first thing I have spotted is a juice bar. *laughs*. There’s a sushi bar.
Well when it comes to food, this has always been the entry point of some of the best food you’ll find in Sydney…
…just to your right is Darlinghurst, which leads you to Oxford Street. On that strip you’ll find some amazing restaurants. And when you hit Oxford Street, that’s where a lot of the gay nightclubs are – it’s famous for holding the Mardi Gras Gay & Lesbian parade. And more great venues and great restaurants also you’re playing the Oxford Art Factory there tomorrow night! It’s pretty cool you have a bit of extra time here to check the city out.
It is! And this is the coolest way to be interviewed, I have to say, I’ve never been interviewed like this.
A walking tour!
It keeps you awake too.
Are you dealing with the jetlag okay?
Yeah! And also, this is the dream. I didn’t come this far to complain. So even if I was exhausted I probably wouldn’t be talking about it, you know?
You’ve got a lot of great bands you’ll be playing with at Splendour.
There’s so many, that I think I have to go and see before and after my set no matter what. There are a few like Lil Yachty and Maggie Rogers that I love. I’m really excited for Vance Joy too, and Schoolboy Q! LCD Soundsystem of course! There are so many cool people on this lineup, it’s going to be an amazing experience.
Not long after you head home, you hit to road with Alt-J…
Can we just take a second… how crazy is that?
Have you heard the new record?
Yes!? Of course! I’m obsessed! There’s just so much talent there. Everything that they put out I’ve just been blown away by.
You’ve had such a good run of these support shows over the past year!
I’ve been so lucky. It’s crazy. I don’t think I’m ever going to go off tour.
It seems like that’s been the case as it is! You’ve barely had a week off this year…
Yeah, and even those weeks off I’m in the studio! You force yourself to go in and record, even if there isn’t time. There’s so much to write about. So I’ve been loving it. It’s been busy but good. It’s the dream.
They often say it’s hard to find time be creative and write once you start living a successful touring career!
I have heard people say that but I try to disassociate from everything. Writing always began from such a pure place, where no one heard the music, so I think it’s important that when you go back to write, that’s what you go back to, you remember how that was. I truly tell myself that no one will hear the music I write. It’s not until I get on stage that it hits me that people are actually hearing my diary entries.
Are you still up there having to convince yourself that this is “your new normal”?
I’m still not adjusted to it at all. Even when everyone is wearing our merch, I’m not convinced they’re there to see us. Which could mean that I have to go to therapy.
No, surely that’s healthy!
Really? Well that’s very nice of you to say.
There has to be some level of denial, because you have to keep your feet somewhat on level ground…
It’s too weird and too magical of a world to believe it’s real. Cause there’s so much of it that isn’t, in so many different ways…
Bishop Briggs’ self-titled debut EP is available now. Photos by Larry Heath.