Katie Noonan first came to our attention as the frontwoman of Brisbane band George. Now she’s captaining a new ship, stepping out as lead vocalist of The Captains. I had the pleasure of chatting with Katie recently about her new project, balancing motherhood and music, and her hopes for the planet.
You’re about to release your new album with The Captains, Emperor’s Box, which I believe is the album you’re most proud of. What do you love about it?
It’s basically a return to that organic band sound that I think I’m most in love with. I love collaborating and I’ve finally found the right collaborators to share my music with.
When I listened to it what struck me most is the beautiful lush instrumentation. What have The Captains been like to work with?
Well I guess you can hear how wonderful they are as musicians and the craftsmanship they’ve brought to my songs and to our sound. We really just wanted to work on making an organic band sound that sounded cohesive and sounded like people that really enjoyed making music together.
The lyrics are also so gorgeous. After recording the covers album Blackbird, what did it feel like to get back into writing original songs?
Well I never left it, because I’m always writing. And I was writing the songs for this record all through the making of that record as well, because my main motivation is always writing my own music and trying to find my own sound, as a singer and a keyboardist, and a co-producer on this record.
So some of these songs are really old, and some of them are really new. Some were freshly inspired by being with The Captains and writing with them. Some of them evolved really slowly, some of them are 11 or 12 years old and they finally found the right home with The Captains, and some are really new written specifically for this band. It’s a real mixed bag.
The Blackbird thing was a real sidestep for me. It was a jazz record, and as you say I wasn’t singing my own songs, so that’s kind of a real sidestep for me from my main trajectory as an artist. But it was just such an incredible opportunity to work with these amazing musicians, and I couldn’t possibly pass it up. It was just amazing to work with them.
You worked on the tracks for the new album with some amazing people as well, including Tim Finn, Sia, and Don Walker. Who else is on your wish list for collaborating?
It’s not like I had a wish list. It was just circumstance and fate that led to those meetings and those pairings. I mean, Tim has been on my wish list to co-write with for a while. It took a few years to get that one together. Basically I’ve always been a big fan, but when I heard his record Imaginary Kingdom I was blown away. It’s such a hot record. So that was kind of the main wish list person that I had.
And then of course to work with Don Walker was such an honor, because he’s such an incredible songwriter. And then the others, Josh [Pyke] and Sia, are more contemporaries of mine, and we just kind of found each other through a series of circumstances and enjoyed the collaborating process.
Read the rest of this entry…