Interview: Private Life Are Back With Their Latest Single ‘Dragon’

After a 2 year hiatus, Melbourne duo Private Life have debuted their latest single ‘Dragon‘. Originally meeting through mutual friends, Renee Anderson and Jamie Barlow first released their self-titled debut EP as Private Life back in 2013. After spending time trying to produce their own music, things didn’t quite turn out the way they planned, “Well we spent a lot of time naively trying, I think we could one day though, but it’s just another skill set that takes many years to hone.”

The duos are currently putting some finishing touches on their upcoming single, which Renee admits to being her favourite song she’s ever written. We were fortunate enough to chat with Private Life about ‘Dragon’, goals for 2016 and upcoming releases.

Read our full interview below:


Outlet: For those just discovering your music, can you tell us about forming the band and how you guys started making music together?

Jamie: We met a long way back through mutual friends. Just by chance Renee reached out to me as a band I was in was dis-banding (pardon the pun), she was looking for a new direction, as was I. It was meant to be and our first jam was effortless, we both had strong formed ideas and a sound we wanted to project.

Outlet: You have a very distinctive electro-pop vibe. Are there artists that have helped influenced the way you sound today?

Jamie: Yes of course. There are obvious modern influences, such as Chairlift, Little Dragon, Arcade Fire etc, and retro gods like Blondie, Devo, Prince, Kate Bush, Icehouse. Plus a lot that’s not obvious that influences us or just gets the creative blood boiling.

O: It’s been 2 years since the release of your self-titled debut EP. Why the long wait to release new material? Was it a developing period of trying to figure out the direction you wanted to take the band in?

Jamie: Yeh we tried to produce it ourselves. Ha! Well we spent a lot of time naively trying, I think we could one day though, but its just another skill set that takes many years to hone. The sounds and concepts are in our heads we just could not figure out how to reproduce it very well. So we installed out trust in our very talented guitarist Nick Lam (aka DX Heaven) to produce our flat sounding arrangements. He brought so much more dimension and colour to what we already had.

O: ‘Dragon’ is quite an empowering song filled with poetic lyricism. How did it all come together?

It came together quickly as a basic song structure. Renee came to me with pretty much the vocals and a basic guitar progression. Then I produced a version over a day or two. Then we thought, ok this is cool, lets see where else it can go and produced 2 or 3 more different versions of it. Ended up going back to the original version of course. Ha! Spent a million hours trying to perfect it then going why not give this to Nick to finish off. It came back and we we loved it

O: Can you tell us a bit about the story/background behind the track?

Well it came about as a political/humanitarian bases, adding a little bit of misticism so that we don’t sound as if we’re pushing our ideals onto our audience. But It has taken on a more poetic touch over time, meaning that the dragon is your soul, something no one or no amount of negative force can take away.

O: Would you describe your overall songwriting process as stream-of-consciousness?

Jamie: Yes and no. Parts of it definitely, maybe more so for Renee lyrically, but it’s also very calculated and labored upon. A little OCD at times.

Renee: yea I tend to write whatever is in my head in the creation of the melody and then tweek that.

O: Is it important for you to draw inspiration from real life experiences and to have that deep connection with the lyrics?

Renee: yea kinda, I can immerse myself in fantasy pretty well, I create little story lines and then feel it as much as I can, I guess that’s why I am also drawn to acting.

Has the process of making music changed for you over the years?

Renee: yea heaps, I mean there are just so many ways to write music, id say its always changing and will never stop. I have always loved writing songs on long car rides home and after experiencing some kind of inspiration like a film that is just so magical that you grab that vibe and carry it into a new song.

O: Which album has had the greatest impact on you as an artist and why?

Jamie: Very, very hard to say. I’ll name three albums, that all did similar things for me. In Rainbows by Radiohead, Arcade Fires the Suburbs and Blonde Redheads, Misery Is a Butterfly. These three albums came to me when I needed a shift in my musical taste. All three challenged me in terms of what I perceived as being good music, I did’t like them at first but I had to give them a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, listen. They intrigued me, they weren’t what I considered at the time to be good voices or grooves etc ( I come from a jazz and RnB background, oohhh lardie daaahhh). Plus I liked how the lyrics were ambiguous and you could easily attach your own meanings and life experiences to them.

O: What are your top 4 goals for 2016?

Jamie: Write more music, release more music, play some festival shows, see more music,
Renee: haha I would agree with these.

O: Lastly, what’s next for you guys? Are there any details that you can share with us about any upcoming releases?

Jamie: Ohh yes, we have another single almost finished
Renee: this ones really special to me, I think its my favorite song that I have ever written so I cant wait to share it

Listen to ‘Dragon’ below…

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