Heirloome, who refers to their music as ‘aural magic realism’ is a Sydney born artist whose mesmerising and enchanting lyrics are brought to life once again in their recent release Flesh to Flowers, available worldwide today.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Heirloome - a queer/nonbinary artist living on a very green and magical mountaintop, in Gumbaynggir country (Dorrigo, Australia). My music is a mix of indie-folk, chamber pop & electronica. I like to call it ‘aural magic realism’ - but apparently, that’s not a real genre (yet). My main musical influences are Björk, Kate Bush, ANOHNI, Radiohead, Moses Sumney, James Blake… and the orchestral scores of old Disney cartoons. Oh - and that sound swans make when they’re babies, the deep & soft breathing of a sleeping lover, and galloping horse hooves.
Have you always been interested in music? Was there a particular song/performance that made you say "Woah! I want to do that!?
I used to pretend Kate Bush & Björk were my mums as a kid… and I’ve been singing to flowers, trees, ghosts and cats for as long as I can remember. There are so many moments I KNEW this is what I had to do - but when I was about 11, late one night when I was meant to be asleep, I heard this sound coming from the lounge room. So I snuck out and put my head around the corner, and there was this bizarre-looking guy with big teased hair and smeared red lipstick sitting on the floor and singing a song about a caterpillar… it was The Cure on MTV Unplugged, and my little eyes just went all wide and I thought - “yep… this is what I’m going to do. I’m gonna be that guy - but maybe with a theremin and a choir.”
Would you like to collaborate with anyone in the future? If so who and why?
I’d love to collaborate with a performance artist, like Marina Abramovic - and also this brilliant butoh dancer (who I was lucky enough to take a class within New York), named Vangeline. I’m really interested in the intersection of art forms, and the fertile ground it provides for new ways of creating. Of course, there are about a hundred producers & musicians I’d love to collaborate with, but today I’m going to say ANOHNI, Kelsey Lu, and Beverly Glen Copeland. (But ask me tomorrow and I might just say a choir of lyrebirds.)
What inspired your most recent single? Do you have a songwriting process you follow when creating music?
“Flesh To Flower” was written after my little brother, Matty, passed away in an accident. It was the deepest, darkest grief I’ve ever known. One morning, I was looking out the window, just speaking to him… and three swallows came and sat on a powerline. They told me to write him three songs, and the next day “Flesh To Flower” came to me, almost all at once. It was really just me singing to him - asking him questions about life, about what it all means... and what it is to die.
I didn’t want “Flesh To Flower” to be dark - I wanted it to be filled with the mysticism of this human experience we are having. I wanted to create a magical soundscape where it was safe enough to feel the loss, and heal the grief.
I write most of my songs on the ukulele, but they usually end up being arranged for other instruments like strings, harp, and electronics - with a lot of ‘found sounds’ sampled from my environment.
What’s next for you? What can we expect coming up from you? Do you have plans for any future releases?
I have a 3-track EP coming in November, called Cycles - the three songs I wrote for my brother, including ‘Flesh To Flower’. I’ll be releasing it in a free, interactive online experience that people can join by signing up to my mailing list here.
There will be exclusive content & offerings, a grief art ritual that people can participate in (from anywhere in the world), and some other special ways that people can experience the record with me. I really want to give this music to the world and connect with my people - in honour of my brother, and in honour of our shared human experience.
Stream/Download Flesh to Flower here.
If you want to hear more from Heirloome, check out their socials below: