Music has a way of transcending time and space, cementing moments and memories in the form of beats and melodies. It’s no doubt that our lives are influenced – our identities moulded, twisted, churned, and spat out by the music we embrace. And sometimes, it helps us create.
Sydney’s Sarah Jane takes us on a journey through the five albums that helped shape her in the creation of her latest EP Moth: an indie/alt-rock fusion that Sarah says captures “the beauty in things that aren’t usually seen as such”. The EP is released following Sarah Jane’s solo albums Absence (2019) and Tainted Timeline (2020), a six-track testimony to bringing “positivity from the pain”.
Failure – Fantastic Planet
I’d say this album was the top influence of Moth. I got into Failure through A Perfect Circle’s cover of ‘The Nurse Who Loved Me’ and I was hooked on them straight away. I love how they have that classic grunge vibe but with a splash of something unique. All the instruments flow really nicely together, the production is amazing, and it has the lighter side of grunge with the chaotic energy but never without a catchy melody.
I didn’t do it on purpose but I can definitely hear the influence in my music, which makes sense, because this album was on repeat during the writing/recording process.
Hum – You’d Prefer an Astronaut
It actually took me a while to get into this album, I didn’t like it that much at first but a couple of listens in and I was obsessed.
This album was my main influence on the production of Moth specifically with the drum sound. I researched ways that the producer of You’d Prefer an Astronaut recorded and followed similar steps to get a really cool, huge recording. Even though the songs sound simple, [they sound] so full and I especially love how the rhythm section works so well together. Listen to the bridge section of the song ‘The Pod’ and tell me that this album isn’t amazing!
PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
I’m in love with the whole production and songwriting on this album. I really admire Rob Ellis’s drum parts on the record and it’s probably one of my main influences when I’m producing the drums on my own songs. He doesn’t use the typical straightforward beat that you would expect, which is sometimes really hard to stray away from. I’m really mindful of how all the instruments work together and complement each other and I just think ‘Rid of Me’ does it so well. I’d like to think my music has taken cues from this and does the same thing!
A Perfect Circle – Thirteenth Step
I’ve been listening to this album for years but I think it’s just shaped me to the point where it will always be an influence on my songwriting. Every part of this album is intentional, and it feels as if it’s building to get to a point where it has a huge release which is something I aspire to do in my music. A lot of this album is the same riff repeating but it never gets boring. I’ve learned to adapt my own songwriting and this album has helped me to navigate different ways of creating more interesting tools to make my music interesting to listen to all the way through. Especially in my song ‘Apparently’ where there is only a verse and a chorus section, it was vital that it built and that it didn’t sound like the same thing. I’m not sure I would have been able to do that without the help of this album.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
This album and Radiohead in general, has influenced my songwriting over the few years majorly. Not so much the instrumental parts but the melodies within the songs. I love how raw and honest the vocals are in each song. I’ve been raving about Radiohead for a while now but I haven’t stopped listening to them…this album in particular. I love Radiohead’s exploration with different time signatures and melodies that don’t particularly fit the key. I love how all of the melodies fit together and create something different. I’d probably say Radiohead has been one of the most consistent influences on my songwriting over the past two years and especially on Moth.