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Ayla Offers Stunning New Single From Recently Announced Debut Album

Ayla press photo by Michelle Pitiris
Photo by Michelle Pitiris (I: @sheisaphrodite)

Sunny Coast native and indie pop stalwart, Ayla, has released a new single and officially announced her debut album. This is seriously big news for those who watch Australian indie music with a keen eye. Already with an enviable cannon of career highs and experiences, Ayla is the singer's singer and one of the country's most understated writers, unlike "the other kids", and in possession of some of the sharpest existential indie pop mini-masterpieces around. Even a quick glance at her back catalogue reveals songwriting sophistication beyond her years. That's what makes her latest offering 'I Liked You Better When You Were On My Side' so exciting -- it's one of her absolute finest. No mean feat to create given the years of delivering a consistently high calibre of music. Co-written and produced by Ed Quinn of Telenova and formerly of the criminally-underrated Slum Sociable, the song is the perfect reflective 3am narrative. The party is over, a wave of nostalgia sweeps in and solitude settles around a killer groove to end them all. The song is so good that it begs the question, “can these two start a project together?”

We'll chat to Ayla more in the coming months, but right now on the back of the single's release and the announcement of her debut album, DOPAMINE, we had a quick chat to her as she was jumping on a plane to Europe for her next adventure.


Waxx Lyrical : Hey Ayla, huge congrats on your single release. IT IS INCREDIBLE!!! It's actually one of my favourites of yours. How does it feel to have it out in the world and, also, the announcement of your debut album?! HUGE NEWS!

Ayla : Thank you so much! I’m really loving having this one out there - it’s just a really fun song that I think is super groovy with the production by Ed Quinn. I also really enjoyed making the visualiser with my friend Jayke, which is basically me covered in neon paint dancing under a black light!

WL: I heard you were inspired by Massive Attack's 'Teardrop', an enduring classic! You're a very evocative storyteller, even if you tend to remain a little mysterious - can you tell us a little about how this one festered inside you.

A: This one started as a production track that I was sent through, and I wrote lyrics and melody over that. Writing this way, as opposed to starting with nothing on just guitar or singing, is really fun because it gives a starting point. The track usually makes me think of/feel something and unfolds almost like a music video in my head, and I just write about what it makes me see. With this track, I was imagining the end of the night at a party, when everyone’s gone home and there’s just one solitary body left swaying to the music, and I went from there.

WL: Ed Quinn is quite the legend on the rise - what did he bring to the song's production and final result?

Ed was amazing to work with. I think he brings an effortless ‘coolness’ to his production, and really brought this track a long way from where it started. It has playful elements, but really keeps moving along and drawing you in. It was a lot of fun to get in the studio with him in Melbourne and analyse the song. We ended up totally changing the structure - removing the original chorus completely - and I’m really happy with where it landed. It makes so much more sense as a whole now.

WL: What do you personally love about the song? Is there something in there you can hear that we can't that makes you silently cheer?

A: I like some of the imagery in the lyrics, like “I wanna crack your lies into their syllables, so damn beautiful in this light” and I like the lyric “Is it false if I had set you right” because it could also be heard as “Is it falsified; set you right” and I like when lyrics can be heard in different ways like that - just a little thing, but it makes me happy <laughs>

WL: I've known you for a long time now, but I have to say that this is one of my favourites of yours. What are your top three Ayla jams?

A: Hmm, I really like ‘Go Slow’ because it was a lot of fun making that one with Reuben Styles from Peking Duk - and his production on that track is just incredible.

I also like ‘Like The Other Kids’ because it became kind of an anthem for people who ‘don’t fit in’ in the generalised sense. It was played at the Paralympics, and I’ve had people come up to me at shows and say it means a lot to them because it’s a song for people who are ‘not like the other kids’.

I would have to say ‘Wish I Was’ as the third. This was my debut single at 18, and it really changed my life from there and gave me a chance to be part of the Australian music scene - and I’ll always be grateful for that.

WL: The announcement of your debut album is very very exciting - what can longtime listeners expect from your first long piece?

A: Thank you! I’m VERY excited to have this out in the world! There are a lot of co-writes/collaborations on this album - which originally started as a ‘collaboration collection’ concept, and then morphed into an album. It was incredible to work with people like Danny Harley (The Kite String Tangle), Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music), Reuben Styles (Peking Duk) and more to create this work. It'll include some of my favourite singles, which have already been released, as well as some brand new and un-heard tunes.

WL: We'll keep this short and sweet for now, we want to talk to you again at album time! Big love to you and good luck!



Watch : the time Ayla took on a Hunters & Collectors classic for triple j Like A Version with an all-star band including Montainge and Joji Malani formerly of Gang Of Youths.


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