Interview: Bertie Blackman
Bertie Blackman’s latest single, Run For Your Life lifted off of her forthcoming fifth album, The Dash is truly three and half minutes of pop bliss, or as the artist herself describes it, “it’s music to have a good time to…music to feel your heartbeat to.”
With The Dash due for release this spring, Makers thought that now would be the perfect opportunity to arrange an interview and photo shoot with the inspiring performer.
Blackman’s soon to be released album has been written and recorded in small studios in Melbourne, as well as Sydney and Central NSW. Bertie tells Makers that the time spent working in different locations around Australia helped to keep the sound of her new material “really fresh, open and exciting. ”
We meet Bertie Blackman on a crisp Tuesday afternoon at the Happy Palace restaurant on Bourke Street, the retro interiors the perfect backdrop for the clean lines of local fashion label, Kloke, Bertie’s designers of choice for the shoot.
With hair and makeup underway in the far corner of the open plan restaurant, a divine assortment of clothing and footwear set up neatly, and the excitable murmur of kitchen staff preparing for night service, the first floor restaurant is a hive of activity. The energy is upbeat, echoing the feelings that inspired the new album with its strong pop-inspired vibe.
Bertie: “I think that the veil between pop and lots of different types of music is becoming less and less defined as modern culture closes in the gaps. Everything is attainable and that’s exiting for music.”
Run For Your Life opens with a strong ‘80s inspired synth, bringing to mind a feeling of freedom and, as the tempo grows, the liberation of feet pounding on pavement. It’s the first hint that The Dash will be quite the departure from Blackman’s last album, the more introspective 2012 release Pope Innocent X.
Bertie: “I’m always darting from one world to another. And wanting to nod at one of my favourite eras in music meant that I had to open out the production sound into big hooks and big vocals.”
It’s time for a quick costume change, and it’s evident that Bertie is loving Kloke’s stylings: the brand already has strong ties to the local music industry, dressing Chet Faker and contributing to the recent Architecture in Helsinki pop up store in Melbourne Central. We ask the singer if that musical connection inspired her decision to want to work with the label.
Bertie: “It wasn’t actually, I’ve always just dug their clothing. I love their mix of clean crisp lines and big loud patterns. I’m personally into classic cut clothing. These guys do this so well, classic cuts with a twist… super cool.”
It’s a well-chosen comment, and one that could also be used to describe the singer herself – classic with a twist and super cool. We think that about sums her up nicely.