Reckoning, Identity, & Rediscovery: Gordi Plunges into Personal Depths on Breathtaking ‘Our Two Skins’

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi dives into the visceral depths of her breathtakingly intimate sophomore album ‘Our Two Skins,’ a stunning record of inner reckoning, self-discovery, love, connection, and acceptance.
Stream: “Aeroplane Bathroom” – Gordi

You take ownership over your own story, you tell it how you want, and take pride in that because there will always be things to be anxious about and to worry about. You can always live in fear of judgment, but it’s exhausting and it’s not worth it, and life is just so much better when you are honest and truthful with yourself.

Breathtakingly intimate, Gordi’s sophomore album is a stunning record of inner reckoning, self-discovery, pride, and acceptance.

As tranquil as it is turbulent, Our Two Skins immortalizes in song a period of intense personal growth and upheaval for the Australian singer/songwriter – one that found her often at the mercy of her surroundings and herself. Gordi captures this loss of control and journey to reclaim her sense of self through a beautiful and stirring album that, in her words, is as much a soundtrack to overcoming anxiety as it is “another little drop in the ocean of the queer story.”

Our Two Skins - Gordi
Our Two Skins – Gordi
Do you see yourself
Do you see yourself unravelling?
Do you know that these bones were always mine?
Where before this
Where before this was I traveling?
Was this always
Was this always by design?
‘Cause I can’t get my shit together
In this aeroplane bathroom
I’m wondering why I haven’t seen myself before
In naked lights and sleepless nights
I’m trying to remember
But the contents of my chest are down there on the floor
Yeah my mouth is tired
Yeah my mouth is tired from biting my tongue
And my fingernails are bloodied
My head is clearly muddied
And I’m so sick of coming undone
Me the stranger, be the danger of inference now
I’m unwilling to allow you thinking less of me
– “Aeroplane Bathroom,” Gordi

Released on June 26, 2020 via Jagjaguwar, Our Two Skins resonates with as much fresh feeling and heart-on-sleeve vulnerability now as it did nearly a year ago. The follow-up to 2017’s immersive debut album Reservoir finds Gordi – the musical monker for  Sophie Payten – honing her “folktronic” craft on a spellbinding set of deeply personal, incredibly moving songs brimming with weight and meaning. Some capture her coming out story – one that she herself didn’t see coming, and had never planned for; others grapple with lost loved ones, or a lost sense of self; and other still deal with the artist’s own anxiety – but in the end, the tracks on Our Two Skins are all intimately bound together. The album title itself references the fluidity of identity, which resonates across its ten tracks.

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

“[It’s] sort of the closest study of the intimacy of my relationship and just the intimacy of two skins together,” Gordi tells Atwood Magazine. “I actually thought of the title initially when my grandma passed, and that feeling of having that kind of skin on skin contact that you will forever lose once that person goes.”

“I almost feel like it was the proper beginning of my adulthood or something,” she says of the album. “Before going into the writing process, I felt like I was waiting for something or jumping around and not settled and not grounded. And at the end of this process, I mean, even though the world is seemingly falling apart, I myself feel much more kinda grounded and settled. And I think that’s the sign that the album has been therapeutic.”

I was having this identity reshape, that is something that I dealt with a lot and it’s sort of having those feelings and not being able to name them is part of what feels so disempowering and feels like that loss of control because you’re like, “I can’t even explain what I’m feeling.”

Recorded in Gordi’s family home of Canowindra in New South Wales, Our Two Skins came together with the help of Chris Messina (Bon Iver, Bruce Hornsby, Big Red Machine) and Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, Hand Habits, Waxahatchee, Tallest Man), who worked together without wifi or phone reception. Each of the three “selected their favorite few instruments and studio tools, and restricted themselves to just those resources” for the making of the album.

“Sometimes when you’re in the studio, you can feel a bit paralyzed by all the options,” Gordi says. By going to Canowindra and taking exactly what they needed, she and her team fostered an environment for creativity with direction. “Those are moments where I think you can create something really special,” Gordi says. “When you have less at your disposal. You can just be like, ‘Well, I’ve gotta do what I can with this stuff.‘”

The resulting album is a brilliant, tender, emotionally soaked vessel of vulnerability and depth. Uptempo moments in “Unready” and “Sandwiches” showcase Gordi’s ability to coat self-reflection in catchy, hauntingly good pop – but it’s in spaces of subtlety, calm one second and turbulent the next, that Gordi realizes her full potential and shines brightest. Opener “Aeroplane Bathroom” is an expansive and delicate six minute implosion – overwhelming and completely exposed, it’s a no-holds-barred confessional reckoning with the self, and it’s the perfect introduction to a record that is so definitively of the moment and so unapologetically personal.

Gordi uses the three words “All I have” to define what the album means to her: “A big theme of the record is: There’s nothing to hide behind. We didn’t have all the bells and whistles. You’re just standing there, with your hands in your pockets going, ‘This is me. This is it. This is all I have.‘”

That vulnerability is channeled into breathtaking beauty throughout Our Two Skins.

A visceral experience built out of isolation and deep reflection, Gordi’s sophomore record inspires introspection and contemplative thought; it invites listeners to dig into themselves, and helps us to be okay with what we find – whether we’re reckoning with our own identities, or reeling through other changes outside of our control.

Gordi doesn’t claim to have any answers in her music; she’s trying to figure out who she is and how that relates to the rest of the world. Our Two Skins is a slow and steady process of becoming: It’s as devastating as it is uplifting, a humbling and soothing journey from start to finish that leaves your breathless and blown away.

Atwood Magazine spoke to Gordi shortly before her album’s release, plunging into Our Two Skins’ intimate depths in a conversation about self-discovery and identity, loss and grief, anxiety, control, and acceptance.

It’s a really powerful thing to take ownership over, and it’s another little drop in the ocean of the queer story and the queer community, and it’s another frame of reference for someone who’s kinda looking for one.

— —

:: stream/purchase Our Two Skins here ::
Stream: ‘Our Two Skins’ – Gordi


Our Two Skins - Gordi

Atwood Magazine: Gordi, it's great to speak with you today! How are you doing right now? First things first, how is lockdown treating you?

Gordi: I’m doing, okay. Australia has really not… It’s largely avoided the health crisis, but in isolation we have the social crisis and the economic crisis. But yeah, we haven’t had the numbers of infections or nothing at all like the horrors of where you are. So I think being an island, and being able to lock ourselves up pretty early meant that we could kind of get the numbers down relatively quickly, so… Yeah. It’s more just the social effects of isolation and I lost all my tours. I was supposed to be in America right now touring with, Of Monsters and Men, they were supposed to be having this massive tour back in Australia in June and was… I had moved out of my Sydney apartment and quit my job and I, yeah, found myself then flying back home from London, and into a year of stuff that I didn’t know what was gonna be happening, and so I’ve been… I’ve found it really challenging, to be honest. Just feel like I’m a rollercoaster all the time, and it’s hard to maintain that emotional equilibrium. But, I’ve got the record coming out, so there’s lots to do for that.

I think I’m used to my life moving at a much faster pace, and this is like the slowest it’s ever moved. So yeah, it’s been challenging, but I do feel like we’re through the darkest hour, so to speak, and so things are starting to open up again slowly, and it will be not normal for probably another year, but I think we’ll be allowed some freedoms in the coming months.

Is Melbourne your family home?

Gordi: No, it’s actually where my partner lives. More, my partner’s family home, so it’s also like, I’ve relocated to a city where I don’t really know that many people, I don’t have friends or family here and everything is shut down, so it’s like I’m in this house. Pretty rough, but… I get to see, my family in about a week or so… not all is lost.

It would seem our lives are not too different. So when did you sell the Sydney apartment? I assume that was because you were gonna be traveling so much, it didn't make sense to pay rent.

Gordi: Yeah, basically, yeah. So I was just renting in this place and I moved all my… Yeah, we basically moved out at the end of January. So then I moved all my stuff mostly into my brother’s house in Sydney, and I was kind of expecting that I’d be on tour, but relocate to LA for most of this year, so I’m kind of in-between… My stuff is at five different homes, and none of them are mine. So it’s a real transitory period.

If you needed inspiration for a third album, I think you've got it, already.

Gordi: Yeah. [laughter] I know, between five homes.

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

Seriously, two stories, five homes. You got a thing going there. But that's... I have a lot of empathy for your situation, that's really tough, I can't imagine having everything shook like that. You said you'd also just left your job. Had you held down a day job of sorts, until just recently?

Gordi: Yeah, I was working as a doctor all of last year. So when I finished… When my last record was coming out, I was finishing medical school and then I took 2018 off and wrote this record, and traveled, and stuff.

And then, I worked for an entire year, as an intern, in a hospital, for all of 2019. And that finished up on the 31st of January, but it’s generally like a two year program, but I… You do get your general registration after one year, and so my plan was get my general registration and they go back on tour. But now, I’m just sitting here and I probably could have remained employed.

So you finished medical school? You are a doctor? Do you have any specific practice that you might want to focus on in the future?

Gordi: I don’t think so. It’s a bit different in Australia than the States because I know in the States, you pick a lot earlier what your specialty is going to be, but in Australia, you do your six or seven years of study, which I did, and then you start working and you just rotate through heaps of different stuff. So last year I did Radiology, Psychiatry, Emergency, General Surgery, Urology, so you just cycle through all different stuff and you do that for a few years until you decide what takes your fancy, which I have not yet. Music takes my fancy, so that’s what I’m focused on at the moment.

I feel like all of your publicists and all of your biographies have failed to mention the fact that you have a doctorate or a medical doctorate. I'm sure that it's something it's like, “Okay, yeah and what else?” That's really impressive that that's another entire part of your life.

Gordi: Yeah, yeah, it’s funny. And when I got home till I was in London touring and then I came home and I was looking at what was happening in Italy and what started to happen in New York and stuff. And I was like, “Shit, I’m gonna… ” That they might not… I’m completely junior and have virtually nothing to offer except sheer numbers. But I was like, “I might need to get involved here.”

And so I called my old work and I got my name down with the government was forming a database with all available medical professionals who could come and help with the COVID effort. And I got a call a couple of weeks ago, and it was like, “You’re on the list of sort of the first people that are gonna be called when these clinics open to come and assist.” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s fine.” And then it just hasn’t… The infection numbers just went off a cliff and so now it’s quite interesting that, as a casual medical worker, there’s a total shortage of work because there’s no patients and nothing to do, so yeah.

A casual medical worker; I love how you said that. Well, that's cool. That's just a fun fact that I never knew about you! I feel like it speaks to your ambition that you have been able to successfully pursue a career in music while also finishing up your medical doctorate. That's just good on you, I guess.

Gordi: Oh, thanks. Thank you.

So back to the music now. Your debut album Reservoir turns four this summer. What is your relationship like with that album and its songs now, a few years removed?

Gordi: Yeah, it’s interesting. I never really listen to it anymore. It’s kind of like I lived in it, I lived and breathed it so much for those few years. And I love it. I think it was a… I had a wonderful time making it and it was… It really captured my life at that time. I was always overseas, always kind of traveling. I made it in part in the US, part in Iceland, part kinda back home, and it was this very… It was a huge learning experience, and I didn’t really go into it with any like, “This is how I’m gonna do it,” because I didn’t… I hadn’t really been in studios that much. And I was like, I hadn’t recorded much in my life, so I was kinda just like, I just did. I kinda worked on these things and did what felt good and it was a real kind of exploration of what was possible. When I think back to recording a string quartet in an old pool outside of Reykjavik in Iceland and just stuff like that that was so amazing to do. And I had all these really cool experiences and met some really awesome people that are still great friends of mine. And yeah, it really set up a world that I was proud to be in and made me feel included in the community of musicians that I really admired. And yeah, I look back on that all really fondly. But yeah, it does. It feels kinda like a lifetime ago and it’s where I was actually living my own life at that time. Because yeah, it feels like sort of another person almost another life.

Your first entrance, you were labeled by some magazines as the female Bon Iver. I remember you worked heavily with the Bon Iver camp in making your debut, right?

Gordi: So not with Justin; I worked at April Base, his studio. And I worked with Zach Hanson, who actually helped… Who actually worked on this record as well. And Zach is one of the guys that have put Bon Iver records together. So yeah, it was not with Justin but sort of in his atmosphere.

I hear you, I understand. That's good to know, actually. How do you feel you've changed as an artist since Reservoir's release?

Gordi: Quite a lot actually. I think a lot of it comes down to changing as… Not changing but evolving as a person, growing up a bit. It’s I think the years in your 20s, the beginning of your 20s versus the end of your 20s, you do a lot of growing. And also the year of 2018, which was the year after Reservoir came out, I finished uni and I was traveling for months and writing this record. And I was doing a lot of touring with Sean Carey, who plays in Bon Iver and he sang on Reservoir. And it sort of made this… When I kinda look back on the last few years, that was a real kinda turning point, I think, for me, because Sean came over and sang on this song on the record. And then we kind of kept in touch and he was like, I sang on his record.

And then he kinda emailed me and was like, “We’ve got these tours in 2018. Do you wanna come play?” Open for them and maybe play a couple of songs in the band. And I was like, “That sounds amazing.” I was still thinking, “What am I gonna do this year?” And that kinda just presented itself. And so we kind of always joke because it started out where Sean was like, “Yeah, just play one or two songs,” and by the end of the tour I was playing two sets a night. My own entire set. But it was a really sort of seminal time for me because it brought, I don’t know, it brought home to me what it was all about. All these guys that I was touring with, they just love playing music and they love doing it in a really authentic manner. They don’t play with track like a lot of people do these days. It’s just relies on their pure musicianship. And it also just relies on the vibe and sort of the groove and the feeling and I think that’s… I didn’t grow up playing in bands. That was just not something that was part of my life. I was very much always the solo musician and I’d kinda get other players in but I would be quite descriptive and this is the part you’re gonna play.

And so this was the first time that I probably had that experience of just… Sean didn’t tell me what to do. He was just like, “Yeah, just feel your way through it.” And I was like, “Okay.” So the first few shows I’m standing there with my instrument being like, “I forgot what I should be doing here.” But it was that kind of trust and that investment, just you know…

They’ve selected you for some reason, and you are just bringing your musicianship and your kind of vibe to the performance. And those things are something that I really tried to bring into the making of this record. It was just, create the feeling and the rest will follow. Like that was kind of the thing.

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

You really became a performer in those years, and you really kind of trained in crafting sounds beyond your own self in the studio, locked alone.

Gordi: Yeah, totally, exactly. And I also just like… I think I went through a period of just listening to really great records. I listened back to Sharon Bennett and Zoe Myer, The National, and this other record by Amanda Bergman. Just these records that, start to finish were these beautiful displays of musicianship. They didn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles, which I feel like Reservoir… I have no regrets about this, but it was a lot of bells and a lot of whistles which I think was cool, and it captured what I was into at the time, but I… At this… I might go back towards that, but at this time I wasn’t… That wasn’t my focus. I wanted to strip it all away and just be like, what are the bare bones you need to make a really beautiful and meaningful record.

Do you feel like the Gordi of 2015 or 2016 could have made Our Two Skins?

Gordi: No, I don’t, no. She couldn’t have written it, because none of those things had happened to her yet. She was yet to experience a whirlwind of life.

So, that's where, you had to grow, and you had to learn, and you have to grow in order to make this music.

Gordi: I think so. And also, when you first start, when I first started doing all this, you kind of think, just because you can do something you should… Just because I could go around the world and make this record, I was like, “Well, that’s obviously what I should do, because I can do that.” This time I was like, you actually just can choose what you wanna do.

I want to reinforce, there’s no regrets about how I made Reservoir. But I came to this point before making this record where I was like, I wanna… I don’t know, you can choose. I wanted to take some of the choice away, if that makes sense. I wanted to go to Canowindra and make this record, without like…

… Sometimes when you’re in the studio, you can feel a bit paralyzed by all the options, and so by going to Canowindra and taking exactly what we needed, when we were like, “Would be really good to have a trumpet here,” or something. It’s like, “Well, we don’t have a trumpet and we don’t have a trumpeter. So we’re gonna have to come up with something else.” And those are moments where I think you can create something really special – when you have less at your disposal. You can just be like, “Well, I’ve gotta do what I can with this stuff.”

Those are moments where I think you can create something really special – when you have less at your disposal. You can just be like, “Well, I’ve gotta do what I can with this stuff.”

I understand this album is about your journey to figure out who you are, and how you fit in the world. But what I can't fully grasp is why you had to renegotiate your identity. Can you go a little deeper into what, Our Two Skins, means to you as a concept?

Gordi: Yeah, so basically, it’s probably better to do it in a timeline. 2017, I put out Reservoir, and I was in a long-term relationship with a man that I’d been seeing for a while and it was coming to its natural end. And that was around the time that Reservoir was coming out, and I’d been on tour for months. And two weeks after Reservoir came out I sat all of my final medical exams, so it was like this incredibly turbulent period of my life, and I was like, “What have I done?” [chuckle]

In that period I put my blinders on and had to have laser focus to get through these six weeks. And a big casualty of that was the relationship that I was in. ‘Cause I was like, “I don’t have the time for this, I don’t have the mental space for it.” And during all of that, this new person entered my life and it came as the least expected thing. I sat down and had dinner with this friend of mine, and I’d known her for a few years. And we were colleagues and we got along really well. But I sat down at this dinner, and it was in the middle of all of this shit happening, and I… We spoke for four hours. And at the end of that four hours I was really taken aback by how connected I felt to this person who was sitting opposite me. And I just… I’d been in a long-term relationship and I’ve never felt what I was feeling in that kind of present time. And that was a really new experience for me, something that I hadn’t experienced before. And was as surprising to me as anybody in my life, there was this girl sitting opposite me. And so I… For the next month… For the next month I basically fell madly in love, which is an amazing adrenaline fueling, intoxicating experience for anybody.

But it was sort of amplified for me because, I didn’t tell anybody about it. Because I didn’t know what it meant for me and my identity, and I don’t like to speak about sexuality categories, that’s not really something that I believe in. But I was suddenly faced with that sort of idea of being, “Okay, what does this mean about me? Who am I? And what are my friends gonna think?” I was 25 and it was like, “Why didn’t I go through this at 16?” Or, “Why haven’t I been faced with these thoughts before?” And so, the record is really about the journey that I took from that point of falling in love, having this crazy time in my life where I was finishing Uni and putting this record out, and it was this, yeah, really intoxicating, like four or five weeks.

And then I got on an airplane to fly to Europe to go on tour with an artist called Ásgeir. And I got on the plane and suddenly it was like I felt incredibly alone and ’cause I was not sharing these experiences really with anybody. And so I wrote the song “Aeroplane Bathroom” which kind of kicks off the record. And it was just this sense, I was looking at myself in this hideous aeroplane bathroom mirror, and just being like, “I thought I knew who you were,” and obviously, I didn’t, and that’s a really confronting thing to feel. And so the rest of the record is kind of about me moving through those feelings and coming to the terms with, “Okay, do I have to now… Am I supposed to re-invent myself or something?”

And coming to the realization that, actually no, I don’t have to. It’s not… That’s just sort of the belief that we’re all made to have. But it’s just… I’m actually deep down the same person, or probably a better more open-minded person. And I happen to have this person in my life. It was a lot of rewiring of my brain. I was always an ally of the queer community, but I guess I’d never considered myself a member of it. And so… Yeah, that’s sort of the journey  – or at least, the beginning of the record.

Our Two Skins - Gordi
Our Two Skins – Gordi

Wow. Thank you for sharing with me. I really appreciate that. I guess that's the perfect segue into talking about some of the songs. I've seldom heard such a cinematic entrance as, “Aeroplane Bathroom.” The line, “Do you see yourself unraveling?” Just gets me every time I listen to it. Why did you choose to open with this song?

Gordi: Yeah, it’s funny, when we went into the recording process like… “Aeroplane Bathroom” is six and a half minutes and all the other songs are pretty much under four minutes, which was not intentional. It’s just how the songwriting went. And so I was going into the process, I was like, “Aeroplane Bathroom” will probably be track six or seven or something, just wedge it in the middle, just real listeners will go and have a moment with it. But it was actually, Chris and Zach and my manager Adrian, were like, “That’s gotta be the opening track.” And even it was the one song where I went and met with the head of my label in 2018 and we were driving around LA, and he was like, “Oh, you got new demos. You wanna show me it?” I put “Aeroplane Bathroom” on he was like, “Whoa. This is what should be the heartbeat of the record.”

And sometimes when you’re so close to them, close to them all, them being the songs, it’s hard to see them like other people see them. But I just thought, it’s rare for all those type of people to suggest that you put a six and a half minutes song first. Yeah, and it really was the beginning of this story for me. That was the first song that I wrote that really was the beginning of all of this. So and I think the first line, “Do you see yourself unraveling?” That’s really the essence of the record. It’s like this person who is describing, who is me, completely unraveled and then eventually got my shit together, but it was a journey.

That's so interesting, I love that. It sounds like it was everyone around you who was trying to help you tell your story and not make it sort of commercial...

Gordi: No, no. Totally.

And you're like, “No, it's supposed to be this way.” So I love that you ended up going with what felt organic and right.

Gordi: Yeah. I think ’cause my initial expectations were that everyone would be telling me, “This is gonna be track like whatever, because it’s a bit long.” But when everyone else said that, I was like shit yeah. That’s… So it would be… Yeah, that’s great. That’s a great idea.

It's like one of those Wilco albums where they hit you with a seven minute song off the bat, and it's just like, “Okay, this is what we're gonna do. Let's go.”

Gordi: Yeah, that’s it. I think of Lucy Davis’ record starting with “Night Shift,” and it’s just almost like a bit of a fuck you. You have to decide right now if you wanna listen to this record or not.

Exactly. And that's so great because this is sort of the thesis statement, if you will, it's like if this were an essay.

Gordi: Yeah, totally. Yeah, it was cool because we had… In the cottage we made the album in, we had each song title written on a tiny piece of paper and stuck in Blu Tack on the front of the door of the control room. And I had them all ordered and the initial order, which I sort of was like, “I think this’ll be rough.” It was… There were some major, major changes. Like “Sandwiches” was gonna be the album closer. So all these sort of things. But yeah, it was funny that almost as we came to terms with the story of the record, we were able to shift these chapters to where they needed to be.

Right. I hear you. Let's talk about “Sandwiches” for a second; to me, “Sandwiches” is a stirringly, heartfelt, raw and moving expression of grief. I actually recently lost my grandmother too, and have been diving back into that song.

Gordi: I’m sorry to hear that.

Thank you. It's also the first song you released off this new album. I was kind of curious, why did you choose to return and reintroduce yourself with this song?

Gordi: Yeah, it’s a good question. And there was so much debate within my team about what was gonna come out first and it’s changed all the time. Initially, I was in a favor of “Volcanic” coming out first and then we were like, “No, maybe it should be ‘Aeroplane Bathroom.'” And then, at the sort of last minute, we were like, “Actually it should be ‘Sandwiches.'” And I think, it does… Sonically it feels in step with the record, but it does feel… It’s one of the tracks that is less aligned a lot with the whole body, I guess.

And so I kind of liked it as a little reintroduction. That we didn’t announce the album coming out until “Aeroplane Bathroom” came out. So it was almost like this little satellite song that could exist. And also because the rest of the album, every other song would have been really difficult to release without telling the entire story of the record.

Whereas, “Sandwiches” was almost it’s own little… I mean, it connects to the story, but it almost is it’s it’s own story as well in the passing of my grandma. And when it was sort of floated that maybe we should put that song out first, I was like, I thought, yeah, I was really stoked with that because my grandma was… Yeah, we were incredibly close. She was a wonderful lady and she died at 95. And I had the incredible fortune to sort of be able to see her everyday for the last six weeks at the last which was a total happy coincidence.

And so this was kind of a record was my mother accepting me for who I was and meeting my partner a week before she died. And just all these really beautiful things happened. We had a phone call when I was in LA where she told me that she… She knew about me and my partner and all these things I was going through, and that she loved me and that nothing would ever change that. And it was just like, yeah, I think so many people don’t get that in their life. And I would have had such regrets if I hadn’t had those kind of honest conversations with her. And so “Sandwiches,” which was written about her, the fact that that came out first, it was such a joy. It’s such a joyful song even though it’s about the passing. It’s such a meaningful thing that, that’s sort of the first expression of coming back onto the scene again.

Right. So I write songs as well, and I can't tell you how many songs I've written about grief. And I know how hard it always is to dig up those feelings in yourself. Did you go into “Sandwiches” knowing you wanted to say something about your grandmother, that you wanted to get something off your chest about her?

Gordi: Yeah, absolutely. She died in October of 2018, and I didn’t write “Sandwiches” until February of 2019. Only a couple of months before the album was made. And I didn’t wanna write the mourning, total mourning song. I wanted it to… The older I get, and the more I think about death and grieving and what happens after dying, all those sorts of things, all those thoughts for me have changed a lot over the course of my life, having been… Gone to a Catholic school and believing in all these sorts of things that I probably don’t anymore. But my firm belief is that the way we celebrate people and the way that they live on is through memory.

And so that’s kinda what I focused on, was just getting snippets and flashes of memories and the initial verses, sort of setting the scene at the hospital where I was kinda holding her hand and my mom and I made sandwiches and passed them around to everybody. And that’s kinda when she passed… Digging into the second and third verses of that song is kinda like going back into those memories of thinking about how she felt and how she smelt and driving with her in a car and all those sort of things… Writing a song about grief is really difficult, and I wanted to do it in a tasteful way.

Right. In a way...

Gordi: Also in a, yeah, in a bit of a celebratory way because she was 95.

In a way you didn't really write about grief at all, you wrote about life.

Gordi: Yeah, that’s a really nice way of putting it.

I really love the intensity you pack into “Unready.” “Hold the ground underneath my fingers cold. I wasn't looking for you.” There is such a vivid energy about this song. Can you share more about it?

Gordi: Yeah, so this song actually I started writing in the Reservoir era. So when I was making Reservoir in Iceland, I was working with this guy, Alex Summers, in his studio and it was the middle of winter and it was freezing and I… When I was flying into Iceland, it was I thought that we were flying over an enormous iceberg but it was like…

Beautiful, and I arrived in the middle of a snowstorm. And everyday I would walk from my hotel to the studio, and trudge in the snow and we made this record. Well, we made a few songs on the record and at the end of one day I was kinda like I had that feeling that I get, sort of in my chest, in my neck of was like, “Yeah, I feel like I can write a song if I sit down and do it.” It’s just having that little aura of feelings. And so Alex kinda left for the day and I sat down at his piano and I just started playing these mournful kind of chords. And I wrote some of those words that… And it was about the relationship I was in at the time, of just being like, “I’m so far away. I’m doing all these things and I’m not thinking about you.” It was sort of a very clear, early warning sign that the relationship would eventually deteriorate, which it did kinda six months later.

But yeah, it was sort of about… Yeah, that kind of being so far away but just feeling and feeling that total kind of disconnection. And the first verse of the song is about flying to Iceland. That kind of… An island inside of and them the emptiness and… Yeah, it was just such a magical time and then as the song kinda goes on, it’s this sense that my life… It was before Reservoir had come out, but it was a sense that my life was moving in a particular direction and that direction was away from where it was and from these people who were kind of in it. So it is, yeah, it’s sort of like a precursor to the album…

In a strange way. And yet it’s the oldest song on the record. But having said that, I’ve written it and rewritten it and rewritten it and the month before we made the record, I kinda rewrote all the words. And it had so many, yeah, different kind of incarnations and there’s a slow piano ballad version of it and then there’s, we finished the record, there was that version. Then we got Catherine Marks to do a mix, so there’s that version of the record. And then a month ago, we redid it again because, why not? So we got a producer that I really love, John Congleton, to kind of crack it open again. I tracked a couple of parts from here; yeah, it’s had so many lives.

That's interesting.

Gordi: Which is kinda cool and it’s cool to work… To give a song another life, because the record can constrain things sometimes. And especially the way we made it, it was Sophie in a particular time and place. And so it’s cool to give “Unready” sort of another breath of life.

That's interesting, because I got my album advance in March, so I'm wondering if I have the final version. I probably don't, right?

Gordi: Yeah, I mean, maybe. I mean, you’d have the final version of the record. So there’s gonna be two. You probably don’t have the final version of “Unready”, which is gonna come out next week. But the version that you have is still gonna be on the album but this will just be the single version.

That's cool. I like that.

Gordi: Yeah. It’s not crazy, crazy different, but it’s just, it’s more…

I feel like that's what “Unready” is on the album though. I mean, it's one of your most intense songs.

Gordi: Yeah, yeah, and I think we just… I don’t even know, we wanted to push it that little bit further. Which, yeah, we were able to do kind of later, having a little bit of room and space for the record.

It's like if Gordi were to make an anthem. It's your anthem. “Volcanic” is another emotional upheaval because of course, “so eruptive and destructive like within I am volcanic.” Can you talk about what it feels like to write a song like this?

Gordi: Yeah, it’s like an exorcism. I feel often when I’m writing this kind of stuff, like “Aeroplane Bathroom” or “Volcanic,” it’s like I’m circling down a well.

And sort of like a vortex or something and you’re just kind of being sucked in and going all the way down to the bottom. And it’s almost like writing those words is like you clawing your way back to the top because it’s kind of like you’re taking ownership back over of what you’re feeling. And that’s a really empowering thing I think because often those, like being crippled by anxiety and panic like that, which is not something that I’ve ever really faced often in my life, but during those years of this record and writing this record, when I was having this identity reshape, that is something that I dealt with a lot and it’s sort of having those feelings and not being able to name them is part of what feels so disempowering and feels like that loss of control because you’re like, “I can’t even explain what I’m feeling.”

And that’s part… One of the lines in the chorus is like, “I’d snap myself out of it and tell you what it’s about if I could explain it to you but I can’t.” And so I kinda just kept thinking of a Volcano of this kind of relatively calm exterior, which I feel like I often have and just these sort of feelings inside. I was on the phone to my mom the other day and she was like, “Did you really have a panic attack on an airplane?” I’m just like, “Yeah, I did. That’s what I wrote that song about.” And she was like, “That must have been really awful. I’m really sorry.” And I was like, “Yeah, it was shit.” But so it’s kind of like these feelings that you have, just that you’re keeping inside and eventually it’s erupting.

And I was actually sitting at a piano in this warehouse at the river in Berlin, like a festival. I’m at like this piano and I had written all the chorus. And I looked up volcanoes on Wikipedia and I was writing down every word that I liked, like eruptive, destructive, all these things and eventually kind of sewed it together in the song. But yeah, it was, yeah, it was the first time I’d really tried to dissect that feeling I think. Like “Aeroplane Bathroom” is sort of an example of just the effects of those feelings, but “Volcanic” was more a study of all those, I guess.

Was it in a vacuum?
Is it that it’s only you that runs as deep?
Trying to find something to climb that doesn’t feel so steep
Am I burning us out to keep your interests piqued?
Go down with me
I have these moments where I panic
When I shut down and go manic
So eruptive and destructive like within I am volcanic
I’ve a head that won’t stop aching
And a voice that’s tired of breaking
And I’d snap myself right out
And tell you what it’s all about if I knew
I’m pushing you to give up
And I’m lying about leaking here
I don’t want to sound ungrateful but
I just don’t feel like speaking, dear
And it’s all words and bookmarked lines
Leaving us all undermined and wrung out

Would you say songwriting is a form of therapy for you?

Gordi: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think I would have processed everything that happened to me in the past few years as quickly as I did without songwriting. And it’s also a replacement for difficult conversations sometimes. So it’s almost like hiding in plain sight, like “here I am!”

I don’t think I would have processed everything that happened to me in the past few years as quickly as I did without songwriting… it’s almost like hiding in plain sight, like “here I am!”

Do you feel like after writing – not recording, but writing Our Two Skins, you have a better hold on who you are and what you hold most dear?

Gordi: Definitely. Yeah, I almost feel like it was the proper beginning of my adulthood or something. I think it was… Even talking about “Volcanic,” I don’t think previously I would have been able to study or feel [those emotions]. Before going into the writing process, I felt like I was waiting for something or jumping around and not settled and not grounded. And at the end of this process, I mean, even though the world is seemingly falling apart, I myself feel much more kinda grounded and settled. And I think that’s the sign that the album has been therapeutic.

Right. So Our Two Skins from a literal standpoint, for me, I kind of hear it as the identities that we hold within and a sort of a fluidity. Is there any literal meaning that you take away from it? Or is it something that's more for people to just interpret?

Gordi: Yeah, I mean, both, but that will always be, you’ve said, is sort of the underlying message of the title. The other kind of two aspects of it that I usually think about are the sort of Our Two Skins is a line from radio that fits on a record, which is sort of the closest study of the intimacy of my relationship and just the intimacy of two skins together. And I actually thought of the title initially when my grandma passed and that feeling of having that kind of skin on skin contact that you will forever lose once that person goes. So they’re kind of like the different aspects of the title I guess, yeah.

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

I like that. You were talking to me earlier about how performance was a big influence on this album. And one of the things that I think, you wouldn't have been able to create probably without the experience that you had, was that piano instrumental in “Volcanic.” That steadily increasing tempo mirrors your escalating emotions with incredible finesse and I think the line, “Am I starving without you.” Is just the cherry on top. Is that kind of one of those things where it came out of your desire to create a feeling?

Gordi: Yeah, absolutely, and that’s, yeah, definitely. That’s one of my kinda prouder moments on the record as far as my musical growth has been. I was sitting at this piano behind the hotel kitchen in Berlin. And I’d written the verses and the choruses of “Volcanic” and I was kinda like, “What should happen?” And I didn’t want it to do like a bridge/chorus thing. And so I was kinda like, “What is this? What’s this song trying to say and how can I say that in another way? How can I say that through the music?” And so I sort of had a metronome beating out of my laptop. And I started playing. I was looking through my voice memos the other day and I’ve got a different take on it. But it was sort of I started kind of playing in half time and then I’m racing to catch up to it. And it just felt like the perfect way to end that, of just if you’re running against yourself and you’re running against the clock and you’re trying desperately to sort of retain some semblance of control, but it almost feels a little hopeless when you’re right in the middle of a crisis.

That's really powerful. Thanks for sharing that. “The way I need you now is more than to survive. I wanna give you an extraordinary life,” you sing in “Extraordinary Life.” I love this song's sense of freedom. It's like a veil has been lifted. This is another one of those moments like “Unready,” where there is a bit more euphoria, a bit more cheerfulness, I feel, in the lyrics. Can you just kinda share where that song came from?

Gordi: Yeah, actually, when I was touring in 2017 I think, we had just played the show in Belgium. We went and stayed in this terrible dingy hostel in Ghent, which I’ve never been to otherwise. And we arrived at 2:00 AM and we had to get up at 5:00 AM and it was just such a bad night. But I’d had a really good show that night, and I couldn’t sleep because I was kinda buzzing and so I went and had a really long hot shower and I just started humming this and it was reverberating around in the shower in this really nice way and so I kinda got out and recorded a voice memo and I was like, “One day I’m gonna build a song on top of that.” And at the end, yeah, it was at the end of 2017 ’cause obviously this relationship had started, so I was on tour with Ásgeir and I was then recording the song in bits and pieces in stairwells of venues. So the original demos, all those vocal parts, you can hear all these Icelandic and German men speaking in the background and walking down stairs and stuff.

And then, yeah, the words, it was really nice because I had, I think, I’d come to a point within myself by that stage where I was like, “I know what this relationship is now. I’m gonna tell my family and friends when I get home. And this is something that is worth kind of destroying and rebuilding my life over, basically.” And it was sort of the first time that I had just… All the other songs I’ve written up to that point, “Aeroplane Bathroom,” “Radiator,” they were all so tragic and this kind of devastation of what had happened. And it’s like “Extraordinary Life” was the first time I really let myself just purely celebrate it. And it’s, all the other songs are sort of have these warring emotions but yet “Extraordinary Life” is just this beautiful kind of celebration.

It was cool when, eventually, I showed my record to my family and my parents and my dad heard that song, “Extraordinary Life,” and he was like… It was one of his favorite songs from the record. My brother was getting married last year, and my dad was like, “You should sing that at his wedding.” And I showed it to my brother and my brother was like, “That’d be awesome.” So there I am at my brother’s like, yeah, straight ass wedding singing this song about falling in love with my partner and it was just… [pauses]… It’s such a heartwarming song.

Yeah. It's funny, so I love this song, you look at just titles alone. It's funny that this song is side by side with “Hate the World,” which is a deceptive title. And it's, actually, it has one of my favorite lines, “I will persevere until it hurts and give myself up all just to be heard.”

Gordi: Thanks. Yeah. That song I wrote after singing… Hannah Gadsby’s an Australian comedian, and she had this standup piece called Nanette, which was a smash hit around the world and is a Netflix special. You should watch it if you haven’t. It’s pretty incredible.

I'll check it out.

Gordi: And I saw it live in New York. And it’s like, everyone who’s seen it was like, “It’s the most incredible experience of your life.” And it was. And she’s a queer person from Tasmania in Australia where homosexuality I think was illegal until 1996 or something and so it was like that. And she talks a lot about that and coming out and just like prejudice in general and kinda this divide the world is seeing, finding itself in of like people that are accepting and people that are not.

I came out of it and was… I was so moved, so upset, feeling so many things and I went to Nashville a week later and I was like sitting with this guitar, and all those lyrics just came out in the space of 15 minutes. And I was like… I kind of had written… It was one of those experiences where I’d written it and I’d be like, “Whoa. I was… What just kinda happened?”

And it was really… Yeah, I felt really mad but I sort of… It was kind of this childish response of being like, “How dare anybody hate someone for no real reason?” How could you just pick a group of people, of people of color or gay people or immigrants or whatever, and just how could you just be so hateful? And the second verse kinda talking about that perpetuating of everyone, they’re all kinda sons and daughters of somebody else and they’ve kinda been raised with this sort of hatred ’cause no one’s kinda born with it. And when I was going through all of this stuff, Australia was voting on same sex marriage and I just thought that was absolute bullshit, the fact that you could vote on somebody’s human right… On a concept that people say is religious but it’s not. It is a social, medical, legal… What has ramifications across the board and I just think I was harboring just a lot of being pissed off and that kind of funneled into that song and I thought “Hate the World” would be the most yeah, sort of attention grabbing headline that would get the point across.

I like it because I think if... I mean, it's kind of one of those things where if it were sped up, it would be an underground anthem. But even at the speed that it is, it's just it feels right and, I mean, I love your message of it obviously. It's something that's powerful, it resonates and you need to take a second glance. For the fact of where it is on the album, it's probably a deep cut but it's one of the more meaningful, one of the more special tracks.

Gordi: Well, thank you.

And you follow it, you keep on going. Along with “Limits,” one of my non-single favorites, at the moment at least, is “Look Like You,” the piano ballad. “You're looking at me thinking why don't I look like you” is the kind of line that haunts you and keeps you up at night. My partner is reading a book right now that's all about “vertical and horizontal identities” – vertical identities being the ones that are passed down from your parents, physical traits, skin color, stuff like that. And then horizontal identities are gender identities, sexual identities; these kind of things that may have nothing to do with your parents or where you came from and this song just made me take a really deep dive into those ideas. I think the lyrics are just incredible.

Gordi: Thank you, thank you so much. Yeah, this is I think definitely the song I find the most… I don’t know. Almost the most difficult to listen to or something, because it really captures things that I still… It’s probably like the last remnant of stuff that I’m still working through. Letting go of ideas of, I thought that I would marry a man and have a conventional family and these kind of concepts that you’re totally right, they’re my vertical identity – and this whole experience, it’s such a wonderful way to put it. I’m definitely gonna use this from now on. But it’s like, the last three years of my life have been converting my vertical identity into my horizontal identity.

And this song is, again, written during the same sex marriage debate. It’s talking about, if I’m not having a conventional wedding or if my life doesn’t look like how I thought it would or how you wanted it to look, is that gonna be okay? And, yeah, it sort of backs off. “Hate the World” is kind of… Yeah, that line, “You’re looking at me thinking why don’t I look like you.” When we went into the studio, Chris and Zach… Initially, I repeated that line a lot in the song and Chris and Zach were like, “You should just sing it once at the end of each chorus and just let it hang.” Because they were like, “It does really hit you and kinda sink in, so it should be allowed to have a moment where you just have space afterwards and the person’s kinda thinking about it.”

The way we actually recorded it, we went over to my parent’s house and to their piano there, brought a really small setup and the guys were like, “You should just sit down and play it and sing at the same time.” We’d like a… Otherwise, we would lay the piano down, layer some more stuff, layer some more stuff, which is how do when we go about it. But I just kinda sat down in a single take and just played the song.

And we recorded a tiny bit of Evo electric guitar over the top, but it was just that kinda single take. And then I sat down and we were all listening on headphones and I was listening to the take and I became really, really upset and was sort of crying, listening to the take and they were like, “Are you all right?” And it would have been quite a good running for them. But I think the reason that song’s so hard for me to listen to is ’cause it plunges me back into how I felt at that time. Which was so isolated and worried and full of fear and anxiety. And it makes me think about a 11, 12-year-old sitting at home watching the politicians on TV talking about how they don’t have the right to get married and thinking what’s my life gonna look like? I have no frame of reference. And I don’t see myself, see anyone who looks like me on the TV and I don’t read books about people like me and… It’s just, yeah… It’s hard stuff and… I think I’ve captured a lot of it in that song.

It sounds like this album is really one where you just kind of let yourself loose and come what may.

Gordi: Yeah, that’s it.

So if you want the book recommendation, it's called, Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon.

Gordi: Thank you.

You're very welcome. Yeah, it's cool; it expanded my perception of identity... I found it fascinating. I think it's so interesting that you talked about how you went back to your parent's home to record these songs. I know you kind of created almost a makeshift studio to make a lot of these songs. Why do that?

Gordi: Yeah, I mean, the first catalyst for me thinking about that was that Chris and Zach, who they said after we finish the Sean Carey tours, which they were on, they were like, “Oh, when you make your record, we’d love to make it with you. If that’s something you’re interested in.” Just kind of putting it out there. And I was like, “Yeah, yeah, cool. I’ll kinda mull that over for a bit.” And I didn’t know what the record was gonna look or sound like or whatever. And then, as it was kinda taking shape, I said to them, “Yeah, I think I’d love to make it with you guys. Do you think we’d make it at April Base, back in Wisconsin where I’d finished up the last record?” And they’re all like, “No, because it’s going under construction all of next year, so it’s gonna be totally out of action.” And I was like, “Okay, so I’m gonna need to record somewhere else.” So I’m thinking am I gonna be flying to the states? Am I gonna be doing it back here in the studio?

And then my grandma died, and I just had such an urge to be at home. Be in Canowindra and be at home and be on the farm and I just wanted to really make the record sort of like an homage to that place. And so I sort of said to my parents, “There’s that old cottage on the farm, would you be up for it if we came and made a record there?” And they were like, “Yeah, of course.” And then I was like… Hit up Chris and Zach and I was like, “What do you guys think about making this record here?” And they were like, “Hell yeah, that sounds awesome.” And so then we kinda got to work on making it happen. And I had only… I made it in my four weeks annual leave from my job and I didn’t really wanna be flying around the world. So it was like easier to drive four hours than fly 30.

That is so cool. So you grew up on a farm?

Gordi: Yeah, yeah, I grew up on a farm. It’s been in my family for over 100 years. And it’s a beautiful place on the river. It’s four and a half hours from Sydney, and yeah, it’s very much a central part of my identity.

What kind of crops grow, if anything?

Gordi: Mainly wheat and canola, and then we have sheep and we also make loosened hay. And the property, the farm is called Alfalfa, since we grow a lot of alfalfa also in with them.

That's cool. Is it run separately or is it a family run business? Is that what your parents do?

Gordi: No, fam… Yeah, my dad is a farmer and yeah, both my parents, yeah.

That's really cool. That's amazing and so interesting that your album is about sometimes challenging your roots and what you were brought up to think about and expect, and you made it where all that started.

Gordi: Yeah, it was something really, really cool about taking this story that I was, again, reshaping my identity, and I went back to do it where I grew up. And that sort of… And that almost legitimized it or something. It made it feel, yeah, like I could then finish the process. Leave the record behind me and be like I have nothing sort of… I have nothing left to go over. I can start the last part of… The next, not the last part of my life hopefully, the next part of my life.

The second skin, if you will.

Gordi: Yeah, I think so.

Gordi © Jess Gleeson
Gordi © Jess Gleeson

That's so interesting. So I've talked a lot about all of my favorite songs and lyrics. Do you have any favorite songs or lyrics off this album? Which parts mean the most to you?

Gordi: Yeah, I think “Radiator,” for me, is… That’s one that I always love listening to. I really captures that, the first four to five weeks before I got on the plane, and of that time of just falling in love. Which is like I go back to it and I’m just kind of transported back to that time. And it also kinda captures the feelings of the heart of the record, which the last couple of lines are, “Intoxicating, devastating. There was no more hesitating. I had to love you.” And it was this intoxicating time but it was like it totally tore my life apart and tore me apart. And there was all these sort of feelings that I had of, “Well, what is this gonna mean and what is this gonna be?” But the end of it, it’s like there’s this beautiful inevitability to it all, because I am a bit of a fatalist. And I do things like, I don’t know, it was written… It wasn’t written in the stars but it was like this person, I was meant to meet this person and this was supposed to happen at this time of life. I think that’s why I love that song the most.

A counter current
Raging under
Told me where I’d been
A flooding rain and
An endless wave and
The warmth of our two skins
The way you touch me
The way you love me
I have never known
And what I told you
Outside the service station
I had felt that way so long
‘Cause in the backseat of a taxi
When my body was a radiator
I was in a universe of you
Intoxicating, devastating
There was no more hesitating, I
I had to love you

That's so interesting because I feel like most of these songs don't talk about that four or five week period. They talk about everything after it, once you get on to the airplane and afterwards. So that's one song that actually talks about the catalyst.

Gordi: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah exactly. So it’s… Yeah, and the cool stuff that came with that of just being known more than you’ve ever been known, and being loved in a way you’ve haven’t been loved before and all those kind of things.

Had this person heard of Gordi before they met Sophie?

Gordi: Yes, that’s… Yes, they had. [chuckle]

You're popular. Oh my God.

Gordi: Because they… We actually met… She’s a musician so we met playing a gig. It wasn’t like… It wasn’t a fan situation, so nothing terrible. [chuckle]

Yeah... It could be a fan situation as well, but like it's still, it's like semi-pro. You know?

Gordi: Yeah. [chuckle]

I like that... “Radiator” is a really special song, and I'm glad to hear that it means so much to you 'cause that's really interesting. I wonder if between that one and... You said you love to listen to that one, but you really can't listen to “Look Like You,” I wonder if those two might be the most powerful in their own opposite ways.

Gordi: Yeah, I think that’s definitely something… Yeah there’s something in that for sure.

Yeah, so why do you end the album with the song “Free Association”? What's the significance of this conclusion?

Gordi: Yeah, it’s like… Basically, I wanted that song to be the last song for more musical reasons than lyrical reasons. Because like… the ride out at the end is like listening to all those records I was kinda talking about. There’s always some ending note where you’re just like, “Ah.” You can just lie back in it and just really absorb it and I wrote this song about just… I wrote it when I was on the Sean Carey Tour and I was missing my loved one and loved ones. And it also had a lot of different forms but there’s like… We came into the studio one morning, and I just kinda started playing the harmonium and we were running it through amps and all this kind of stuff. And then we started laying down guitar and then the day passed, it was really, really late and I was like, “We need something in the last section of the song.” And I got this glass slide which I’d never really used before. But I kind of put it on, and I’m like, playing a guitar solo, which we were laughing… It was really my first ever guitar solo. [chuckle] But there was like, I don’t know… It’s coming back to what I was saying at the start…

About creating a feeling and a vibe, and this song does that for me. It’s almost like it’s a chapter in like the story I was telling, but it’s more like a sort of final full stop on the way that we made the record, and the way Chris and Zach and I worked together, which was just, find stuff that makes us feel good and just kinda let it run, and that sort of like… That was the feeling that we had with this song.

It's cool because I feel like there's two totally different meanings behind the music and the lyrics and yet, everything kinda comes together at the end of the day. If listeners can take one thing away from Our Two Skins, what do you hope it is?

Gordi: So it probably comes back to the meaning of the title, which is living in different bodies or different skins or having different versions of yourself, having a vertical and a horizontal identity, having… Whatever it is, that’s okay. You just… You take ownership over your own story, you tell it how you want, and take pride in that because there will always be things to be anxious about and to worry about. You can always live in fear of judgment, but it’s exhausting and it’s not worth it, and life is just so much better when you are honest and truthful with yourself.

That sounds way too wholesome, but it’s a really powerful thing to take ownership over, and it’s another little drop in the ocean of the queer story and the queer community, and it’s another frame of reference for someone who’s kinda looking for one.

Acceptance and pride it sounds like.

Gordi: Yeah, yeah.

If you could just find three words to describe yourself right now, what three words would those be?

Gordi: All I have.

Nice. I love it. Sophie, this has been so much fun - thank you so much for your time! Finally, what artists are you listening to that you would recommend to our readers?

Gordi: What am I listening to? I always… Whenever someone asks me this I’m like, “What am I listening to?” I’m gonna bring up… I’ve been making a playlist, that’s gonna help me. I’ve been listening to the new Perfume Genius record, which is awesome. I think it is his best work yet. And I’m listening to the new Margaret Glaspy which is also really good. I think the new Hayley Williams record is awesome, the new Moses Sumney record. What else have I got saved? And I fucking love that song by the Dixie Chicks, “Gaslighter”… [chuckle] It’s just such a hit and so, so good. But probably like Perfume Genius is the one I’m relying on most at the moment.

Gordi © Eloise Beath
Gordi © Eloise Beath

Do you feel like you're at a point now where you can start kind of cherry-picking local artists who are kind of at the level that you were at five years ago? Do you feel like you're getting there?

Gordi: Yeah, yeah, definitely. The Australian industry is a really nice place in that it’s like you just don’t feel like there are years, that you come through and so it’s like…

My cohort has now reached a point further along in their career, and it’s nice to see people coming through that you can reach out to and say like, “Hey, I love your stuff.” And they’re like, “Oh my God, thank you so much for sharing that… ” [chuckle] Whatever… And, you know…

Are there any artists like that who are on your radar?

Gordi: There’s actually one artist in Australia, called Jess Day who has this song… What is it called? It’s called… It’s called Affection, and it is a total banger and masterpiece for summer I think. And it’s… I listened to it all summer, absolutely rinsed it. So yeah, that’s, I’m kind of… I’ve got an eye on her for what she’s gonna do.

Nice, I'll give it a listen after this. Well, listen, thank you so much. I feel like I'm gonna have to go back, listen to this album like 10 more times and I still won't be satisfied. But I really appreciate your time.

Gordi: I appreciate all the thoughtful questions and yeah… I do so many of these and it’s nice to… Like, I’m always willing to talk for forever, if it’s a thoughtful interview. So yeah, thank you.

Oh that's good to know. I hope that you're able to tour this record, I know you will be able to eventually tour it, but I... I hope it's sooner rather than later, and I wish you all the best for you, your family, your partner.

Gordi: Thank you.

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Our Two Skins - Gordi

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The Heavy Heart of Gordi’s “Heaven I Know”


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