In a world wrought by the news and social media vying for attention and young people hitting the streets marching for transparency, the music of Didirri is alarmingly honest and touches on subjects young people making music are often encouraged to avoid. Candid storytelling, themes and questions adorn his music and are matched equally with a magnetic charisma and a quiet confidence and a deep wisdom that stretches well beyond his physical years. He's chasing honesty and is prepared to face the truth, however that appears. His poetic lyricism began as a private conversation, that now brings hope to his listeners.
His debut album - Caught In The Act - is here. It follows an interesting journey to date which includes a debut EP called Measurements that set his career in motion, streaming in access of 30 million and stacking up live opportunities from festival sets at Splendour In The Grass, The Great Escape (UK), Latitude (UK) and Primavera (Barcelona) to opening spots for Vance Joy, Hozier, Tash Sultana, The Temper Trap and more. The album captures the artist on the brink of something big, simultaneously a snapshot of where he is now and where is he going. Quickly.
During the promo week for what is effortlessly his most disarmingly work yet, we had a very quick chat to the man himself about the album, his favourite moments and, of course, vinyl.
Waxx Lyrical : Hi Didi, Congratulations on the release of your debut album, I just finished playing it again for the umpteenth time. I can't quite get my head around how you're so earnest and so organically heartfelt, yet by the time I'm finished on the album, it's somewhat uplifting. Do you think about the feelings of your listeners and what it possibly does for them?
Didirri : Hi Waxx! Thank you for listening to the album. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have an audience in mind when I'm producing work. To me, the process is more about how I feel in the studio and whether the audio speaks to my ears the way it should. I’m really trying hard to make myself feel something and I would guess that that translates to you the audience. I definitely think about the emotional journey of an album though. It’s possibly my favourite part of making any group of songs, the track listing.
WL: Do you have to work on being so open and vulnerable, or is this your natural superpower?
D: It's definitely a strong suit, I think I honestly happen to enjoy honesty. I’m really grateful for the moments in my life when I have shared the truth of my feelings and they have been received so I guess that continually encourages me. It’s rarely the wrong decision to express how you feel. Maybe not if it’s insulting, keep that one to yourself.
WL: For the uninitiated, where does the artist Didirri come from? When did you realise you could sing with that voice or even write songs?
D: I was raised in a religious environment and a musical one at that, I was always encouraged to sing and participate in harmony. I’m no longer formally religious like many these days but I do think it shaped a lot of my views on music, it being communal. I generally write what I see and hear. My own stories and ones I collect along the way both make it into my writing, but I would say (without preachiness) that my songs are often lessons for myself. ‘How to’ and ‘how not to’ fuck up your life. I really first started down an artist path quite early on, I generally wasn’t very good at other occupations and was fired several times when I tried them. I haven’t really looked back. I’ve been through many different iterations of life, from living in sheds and on couches to being able to pay rent in the last six years but I’ve generally been on the “make it work” mindset since leaving home.
WL: What are your top three career highlights to date?
D: I mean, debut album is a big one. I really did pour so much into this record and the musicians on it are very close to my musical heart. But supporting Jordie Lane on a national tour of AUS was a huge moment for me personally, as well as Hozier later on at venues like the Palais.
WL: I really enjoy the title - Caught In The Act - it's a great title, if a little opposite of something for someone I can't imagine doing anything wrong ... what is the deeper meaning there?
D: The album really explores selfhood and what it is to feel like a person. I feel that the more I look at myself the less I understand and the more I want to explore. People are funny creatures; we all appear a little differently depending on who we are with. You speak to your mother differently to a friend and differently again when talking to a stranger. We all put on a little act sometimes and I want to embrace it. There is no ‘true you’. You are just whatever you do next and it's wonderful when you shed something from the past and grow. So many of the songs are exploring my ‘characters’ that I play in my life.
WL: A personal question now - what is your own favourite moment on the record that the average listener is likely to miss?
D: For me there is a line in ‘Often Broken’: “All things die, all things sour”. In the context of a break-up this really hit me when I wrote it. Sometimes lines just come to you out of nowhere and this one did. My favourite moment is when Rob Muinos (my producer) decided to kill the reverb on this one line in the song and it suddenly becomes super real and raw. An incredible choice for a generally pretty minimal style producer.
WL: How important is the vinyl format to you as an artist? As a human being?
D: VINYL! It is my life blood. I’ve been collecting since my late teens. It really has shaped the way I view music. The ritual of the record flip, the tactile look at the art close up, the honour bestowed upon records you choose to display in your collection. I know that that all sounds very over the top, but I really do feel that it is such a wonderful part of our culture. I have probably about 200 records and listen to them daily. I almost use them exclusively, streaming for me is like a taste tester to see if I might buy the album. I love it. So much depth, clarity and realness in putting on a record. It is no coincidence that side B starts with 'Begin Again' on my debut. Move forward, wherever you are now.
DIDIRRI'S DEBUT ALBUM CAUGHT IN THE ACT
OUT NOW VIA LIBERATION RECORDS
Didirri, the Caught In The Act Tour
Thu 5 Oct - Sooki Lounge (Melbourne)
Sat 7 Oct - Sound Doctor (Anglesea)
Thu 12 Oct - Howler (Melbourne)
Fri 13 Oct - Theatre Royal (Castlemaine)
Fri 20 Oct - Lefty's Music Hall (Brisbane)
Sat 21 Oct - Solbar (Sunshine Coast)
Thu 26 Oct - UC Hub (Canberra)
Fri 27 Oct - King St Bandroom (Newcastle)
Sat 28 Oct - Mary's Underground (Sydney)
Sun 29 Oct - La La La's (Wollongong)