Tinpan Orange – Across The Ocean

Tinpan Orange

Tinpan Orange is gearing up for their Love Is A Dog tour that takes them right around the country through April and May. The seasoned ‘folk darlings’ have put the final spit polish on album number five Love Is A Dog with first cut Rich Man serving as the perfect tempter for what is to come. Emily Lubitz from the band runs through a quick Q&A with Across The Ocean to discuss the album and upcoming tour.


Another album down, does it get an easier?

Some bits are easier, some are harder. But mostly easier. We know more what we want these days and how to create it. A clearer vision always makes things easier I think.

Is this the most exciting period for any band when an album is fresh out?

It is definitely a certain kind of excitement. It’s exciting and nerve wracking to see the stuff we have been working on in our lounge rooms and studios become public property. Anyone can hear it, anyone can have an opinion. It’s really exciting to see it change from this personal thing to something that lives in the world. This brings anxiety too.

Is there a sense of relief or pressure once its finally out there?

Yes! It’s a big relief to know that it is finished and if there’s anything I want to change, it’s too late. Now we just gotta set it free.

Does it amaze you with the support of your fans after twelve years or so being in this band?

I would say we have been together more like ten years but yes, that is still a very long time to still be in the game. We are so grateful to our fans who have given us this life. We are not a commercial band so we are reliant on the fan base we have created through festivals and touring. It’s a privilege to still be doing what we do.

How do you maintain the juggle of all the other commitments that the band members have?

It’s a fine balance because Jesse (my brother) and I both have children now. I have two sons and he has a baby boy. Sometimes we take them on the road with us and feed them rider food and let them play the drums at sound check. They are good travellers by now.

Do you find that you manage your time more efficiently now than ever before?

Yes! Having kids does that to you! I can get more done in 20 minutes now than I used to do in a day. I even write songs more efficiently which is a skill I never had. I used to wait for the mysterious muse to descend upon me and then mull over it for a week. Now I bust out some lyrics while my kids a having their afternoon nap. I love it. I’ve realised that songs can come out of nowhere, as long as you’re working.

Is the process of writing and recording still challenging? Is it hard finding the time to write together or does the internet make that a bit easier?

We created a writing retreat for ourselves in Bali before recording the album, where Jesse, Harry (my husband and co-producer of Love is a Dog) and I co-wrote some songs (tax deductable!). We sat around strumming and humming together and wrote a few of the songs that made it onto the album. We had never written like that before. Usually, we write the songs on our own and then take them to the band when they’re pretty much finished.

What inspired the new single Rich Man?

This song is fictitious and based on a bit of Tom Buchanan/Daisy vibe from The Great Gatsby. A lonely and unsatiated woman who is trapped in an empty marriage to a wealthy man.

How do you think the Tinpan Orange sound has evolved over the last couple of albums compared to the beginning?

Well, it’s funny because we started out as a trio, me, Jesse and Alex Burkoy, busking in Darwin, then moved through all sorts of other formations, including drums, bass and keys, but now we are back to the trio. The album still has drums and bass though. I’d like to think we are stronger song writers, that my voice is more adventurous, that our arrangements are more refined and interesting, but I’ll let others be the judge of that.

What would you say were the main influences for this album?

The Great Gatsby, Charles Bukowski, Warren Ellis’ violin sound, Nancy Sinatra.

Did you have a clear direction of where you wanted to take this album when you went in to the studio?

We wanted it to be recorded mostly live, and capture that synergy that happens when people are just playing the song together. We wanted to use the same instruments throughout all the songs to create a world of feelings and a sonic landscape. We wanted it to be honest.

What’s the biggest thing you learnt on this album?

It’s never too late to sing in a different way, don’t let kids stop you from making an album (it might take more than a year and be quite gruelling at times but they will be prouder of you in the end if you do it, and you will too), be organised (thanks to our amazing manager Lior!).

With the digital age do you think the concept of an album is lost?

No! I know a lot of people do but I don’t and I never will! I’m an album girl. I buy and listen to full albums and I think it is an art form in itself to create a collection of songs that is a work, a journey, a world.

Are you looking forward to this tour?

Indeed! We are going all over this fair country, to cities I love, and some of which we haven’t been to in a long time. It’s going to be real!

Do you have a favourite spot to go in every city?

I do in a lot of cities. I have my favourite laksa place (my preferred before gig meal), second hand clothing store, after gig bar (when travelling without kids), park (when travelling with kids), good coffee cafe (next morning), running track (when feeling ambitious).

What are the plans beyond this tour?

We have some exciting plans for a trip to Europe at some point this year but it’s still a bit under wraps… And then we will hitting the festivals next summer of course!

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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