By RACHEL CHO.
After some warm and friendly chats about breakfasts and plans for the day, we launch into a discussion of Tiny Ruin’s most recent album, Brightly Painted One.
Hollie recalls a series of memories, adventures spanning three years that informed the creation of the album. From living in Italy and writing in beautiful mountains, to falling off a scooter in East Africa where she “broke [her] body quite a bit”, Hollie’s journey is expressed in the track order.
“It’s totally a reflection of having to come to terms with loads of stuff,” she says, recalling a relationship breakdown and general periods of uncertainty. She describes the first half of the album as “a downward spiral”, which then turns a corner. Straw Into Gold, for example, is about “imagining the best of what you have and finding inspiration from what you have around you.”
Starting out as a solo artist, Tiny Ruins eventually became a three-piece band. “Playing music live on stage on your own has a certain magic about it because you’re just yourself, connecting with the audience, there is that intimacy that makes it special,” says Hollie. However, it’s with fondness that she talks about how enjoyable it is to play with others on stage, saying that it keeps the songs fresh and alive.
Her band members, Cass Basil and Alexander Freer, help to alleviate natural feelings of self-doubt. “Having more people around you makes it feel easier somehow, to really believe and commit to the project. When it’s just you, you can have quite a lot of self-doubt.”
On the thread of co-operation and working together, I ask with much anticipation about Tiny Ruins’ upcoming tour with Bic Runga. Hollie is excited to travel, something she hasn’t done in three months, which is unusual for her. New Zealand, as it turns out, is her favourite country to tour, because of the connection with the people, a lack of which can sometimes be a struggle overseas. In regards to Bic, she says: “hearing our voices together is quite surreal.”
To bring our chat to a close, I ask what Hollie would say to herself from seven years ago, from a time where she was still at university.
“I was probably wondering what on earth to do with my life,” she chuckles, adding that her past self would have been happy to hear she would become a musician. “Deep down, that’s what I felt would make me the most fulfilled in life, but it took quite a long time to actually decide to do it. And yeah, I guess I would encourage my 2008 self to have a bit more confidence maybe.”
As for the future, Hollie wonders how she’ll be managing to maintain music as a career. “The world is changing so quick,” she explains. “It’s a really unknown future for a lot of musicians.” For now, though, she’s happy with how Tiny Ruins has slowly grown over the last six years. Gradual and continual growth while releasing good material is the goal, and by the looks of it, part of Tiny Ruin’s promising trajectory.
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