Interview: Angie McMahon on her debut album Salt

Get to know the Aussie singer-songwriter as she releases her debut record.

Angie McMahon is racking up the air miles.

The Melbourne-based musician is in Manchester for the first time. 10,000 miles away from home, she’s here performing at the city’s much loved Night and Day Cafe as part of the Dot to Dot Festival

It’s the third time the Aussie has been in the UK. First coming here in 2018 to support Angus & Julia Stone at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, McMahom followed that trip with a sold-out show at London’s Camden Assembly last September.

This latest stop came at an exciting time for the musician, as she was gearing up for the release of her brilliant debut album Salt, which is out now.

Angie McMahon - Keeping Time (Official Video)

Five years in the making, the debut showcases why so many have become infatuated with her music. It’s filled to the brim with genuine emotion; the authenticity of the record resonating with those who want something real to connect with.

Ahead of her debut Manchester gig, we caught up with Angie, to get to know what makes her tick as an artist, find out what she’s learned from her travels across the globe and what her debut album means to her.

How would you describe the music you make?

I make music that’s kind of rocky, kind of pop and kind of folkly… I think. I don’t really know what the genre is!

What made you want to become a musician?

I really couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to do. I started learning piano and singing in choirs as a kid, and I’ve just followed it through. I looked around at all these singer-songwriters in the world and wanted to be just like them.

Who were your early influences? 

I was mostly influenced by the music that my parents would play in the car. People like Bruce Springsteen, k.d. lang, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell. Then when Adele started putting out albums I became obsessed with those songs. I really love an Australian artist called Missy Higgins; her first record was an overriding influence for me as well.

What do you love most about performing live?

Getting to connect with people and getting to share my lyrics and feelings with them. So much of being a musician is filled with mundane stuff like being in a car, being in a green room, answering emails and so on. Being on stage acts as this huge release. It’s the most creative and interactive thing that I get to do. It’s a major high.

Angie McMahon - 'Slow Mover' live on The Set

What have you learned from your travels?

Touring is an awesome thing, but it is hard, especially on the body. I’ve learnt a lot about self-care and how to put my health first when on the road. I really love seeing new places whilst on tour. We spent a couple of days in Glasgow ahead of my last UK tour and that was the best. I love getting to know a new city. I am, however, really sick of aeroplanes.

You’ve gotten to support some of your idols. Are there any that particularly stand out?

I supported Alanis Morrissette for three shows in Australia. She played a stripped back set and the crowd was so enthusiastic about her songs and hearing them in that way. Songs that have existed for a while now, but still mean so much to people. I feel like she paved a really bold path for female musicians and she’s such a badass. It was so cool to see those songs connect with people years after they’d been released. I found that really inspiring.

I’m really inspired by female singer-songwriters who are really honest in their music, and I think she is the perfect example of that. It was very cool to support her.

What was the inspiration behind your single Pasta?

That song was written when I was really tired. I was working hard to try and write good songs, but I couldn’t get out of my own head. I took myself on a trip out to the countryside to try and write and finish a couple of songs. I made a gluten-free lasagne for the trip and that was the only thing I ate over the two days. I became like, this is really gross hermit version of myself. But getting out of the city made me finish the song. It ended up just being about all the pressure that I was putting myself under to be a success. It’s one of my favourite songs that I’ve written.

Angie McMahon - Pasta (Official Video)

Your debut album Salt is out now. What can you tell us about it?

It’s a mixture of rock songs and intimate sad songs. It’s basically a collection of songs that I’ve been writing since I was 19 and a record of the emotions that I’ve felt over the years. But, mostly it’s a collection of songs I wrote that I thought was good enough to make it onto an album.

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Check out Angie’s new album Salt on Spotify below: