“I still shine from time to time”: Phoebe Go Stirs the Soul on Her Beautifully Raw Debut, ‘Player’

Player - Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay
Player - Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay
Australia’s Phoebe Go dives into her hauntingly beautiful and radiantly raw debut EP ‘Player,’ a refreshingly candid emotional reckoning of brooding, vulnerable indie pop.
Stream: ‘Player’ – Phoebe Go




Hauntingly beautiful and radiantly raw, Phoebe Go’s debut EP is a gentle giant of a record.

Not only does the Australian singer/songwriter succeed at introducing her solo artistry to the world, but she does so with substance, style, and soul-stirring finesse. Brooding, vulnerable indie pop and intense emotional reckoning come to life on Player, a refreshingly candid and confessional EP that aches with the warmth of a bleeding heart.

Player - Phoebe Go
Player – Phoebe Go
i feel weird in this dress
didn’t you picture me with pinstriped legs
truth is i think you met me at my best
under the table now i’m scared to death
cause i take it to the heart
and now i’m going under
i’m out looking for the stars
but they’re out looking for the dark
i got a handful of hope
but the voice in my head
is still tying me up
with every word unsaid
i wanna hand it to ya
but my lace caught on the fence
was it more than
just a loose end
– “Be the Player, Not the Poet,” Phoebe Go

Independently released October 28, 2022, Player is a breathtaking five-track upheaval and a best-foot-forward for one of the indie world’s most promising newcomers. The former vocalist and founding member of Australian dream pop band Snakadaktal, Phoebe Lou has returned to the spotlight with a refreshingly warm alternative pop sound as Phoebe Go.

“This is my debut solo record,” the artist tells Atwood Magazine. “When I was first contemplating the whole thing I was pretty daunted actually. It all sparked a few years ago when Joey decided to step into his art direction/design work more, which put a hold on our band Two People. We’ve been writing together for the past 10 years so I was definitely freaking out about doing my own thing. But yeah, I wanted to keep writing music, and I really wanted to find out who I was as a solo artist. This record is kinda about me stepping into my own skin.”

Player - Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay
Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay
i’m afraid of my tendency to look the other way
and i can’t explain
why i packed for the night but i planned to overstay
not acting my age
he set the table as i poured the cornflakes
know how to lock myself away
when it’s october and i’m avoiding my birthday
and you’re making me alone
that if i had no one, i don’t think i’d hate it
now come on, it only happens once
and i just wanna waste it
i don’t wanna carry on
and i don’t wanna play the part
i don’t wanna start to feel
like there’s something i forgot
i don’t wanna retrace my steps
until i find my heart
gripping on to the door frame
like a kid on his first day
– “Birthday,” Phoebe Go

With a sonic template akin to artists like The Japanese House, Gordi, girlhouse, and Skullcrusher, Phoebe Go’s hushed indie pop stirs the heartstrings as the artist spills her soul in song through vivid, visceral, and deeply poetic lyricism. She candidly describes the EP as open, smiling, and raw:

“Going into this record I really had no idea what it was gonna sound like. In terms of direction, I was just wide open to anything and everything. And I just trusted (or hoped) that I’d figure it out. Trial and error style. Simon (my producer) was a huge help, and so patient. I think my goal for this project has always been about doing something that’s unique to me, and making sure it was coming from the right place. You know? From a real place. Cue identity crisis,” she laughs.

“But I think with music, if it’s gonna last, and if I’m gonna last, it has to be genuine in some way. I didn’t want to just punch something out and for it to fade away. I wanted to give myself space to figure it out. I sort of just drowned everything out and got to work. It was kinda lonely but also liberating. All the lockdowns meant for a pretty well timed hibernation actually. It was kind of hectic but I sort of saw it as an opportunity. Like, if not now, then when. I guess my vision for the record was always to introduce myself in a way that felt true, and to find some solid ground that I could keep evolving on.”




The title Player is a nod to the song “Be the Player, Not the Poet,” the second-to-last track on the EP. “It’s about me finding my voice and my confidence as a solo artist and also as a person,” Lou explains. “It’s about this crazy f*ing job. It’s about owning who I am and what I do. I’ve been in bands for 12 or so years, so I’ve had to redefine what music is all about and what it means to me a few times. This time it’s just me. It’s tidy and it’s sweet. This title is about how complex and beautiful songwriting is and it’s a reminder to just go easy on myself.”

spent 2 hours too long
on a wasted video call
telling you about what’s going on with me
my nintendo addiction and all
about how i breathe in its air
cause it’s warm and it takes me back home
but who am i to expect you to care
when i’m paying you to sit on the phone
then she said “remove your head from it”
try being the player not the poet
she’s growing up good on bad advice
she’s taking the inch but in time she’ll take the mile
– “Be the Player, Not the Poet,” Phoebe Go

With a poignant, story letting go of expectations, and lyrics like “she’s growing up good on bad advice, she’s taking the inch but in time she’ll take the mile,” “Be the Player, Not the Poet” is one of the EP’s standout tracks.

“This song kind of feels like the center of the record to me,” Lou explains. “I wrote it in the middle of one of those brutal lockdowns when I felt like I was losing my purpose a bit and generally just wondering where my place was in the world. And yeah. I was also obsessed with Fortnite and was having the absolute time of my life shooting 10 year old kids on the internet haha. So there was also a gaming theme going on. Anyway around that time I was struggling a bit, so I went looking for help. I had been given some advice, to basically stop caring so deeply about music. And that really pissed me off. The advice was to lighten up and just “play your instrument”. Safe to say they missed the point. Anyway, this song is kind of a conversation with myself. It’s about me understanding my relationship with songwriting on my own terms. It’s about letting go of expectations and getting on with doing what I love.”

I’ve been seeing
Somebody about it in my sleep
We don’t talk we just walk
And it’s been helping me
Cause I, lost it again on the weekend
Man I was off my face
Like when, people change ‘cause they’re in LA
There’s something sad about that place
I’ve been feeling
Some of that shit I don’t believe in
Saw my picture in a frame
Hanging up in the hallway
And I’ve been sleeping
Just to walk away the feeling
Saw my picture up in flames
Still hanging in the hallway
– “We Don’t Talk,” Phoebe Go




Another instant highlight is Phoebe Go’s debut single “We Don’t Talk,” an achingly raw reckoning with oneself that proved an unfiltered and utterly enchanting introduction upon its release this past May. “It was one of the first Phoebe Go songs I wrote,” Lou recalls. “It’s super honest and it talks about my fears going into this project, it talks about my insecurity. But it’s also got this grit and confidence in its vulnerability that I think sums me up in a way. It just felt really important to introduce myself with this song because it marked the point where I felt like ‘oh wait, I can do this!’”

A smoldering, stirring face-to-face with the self, “We Don’t Talk” is irresistibly intimate: A heavy outpouring of longing and escape that churns through the disconnect we feel inside, and ultimately finds a glimmer of light and ray of hope in the darkness. “Saw my picture up in flames, still hanging in the hallway,” Phoebe Go sings at the end of her chorus. Even if we think we’re running from ourselves, we’re still on that path of discovery. Whatever it is we’re looking for, we’re sure to find it some day.

Beyond these two songs, Lou is quick to cite the lyrics to the EP’s middle track, “Hey,” as a point of personal pride:

hey i got a heart
i found it in the backyard
when i couldn’t sleep cause i heard a scream
so i took a walk and it followed me
right to the end of the one way street
where i hit my friend the other week
and for a minute there swear i was blind
he said i don’t mind if you don’t mind
no i don’t mind if you don’t mind
hey i got a heart
i found it in the backyard
for a minute there swear i was blind
but i still shine from time to time
– “Hey,” Phoebe Go




Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay
Phoebe Go © Nick McKinlay



i got a handful of hope
but the voice in my head
is still tying me up
with every word unsaid
i wanna hand it to ya
but my lace caught on the fence
was it more than
just a loose end
drown me out
i wanna hear all about you for now
i’ll take the floor and you can take the couch
baby just watch the door as i watch your mouth
– “The Kid,” Phoebe Go

With five captivating and cathartic songs, Player is truly a standout introduction to an artist we cannot wait to follow from here on out.

“I’ve got so much out of making this record,” Lou shares. “I feel like these songs have somehow both held me together and pulled me apart in the best way. And the whole recording process with Simon was truly so f*ing fun. I’ll always remember that time. This record has given me so much light and so much purpose.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Phoebe Go’s Player EP with Atwood Magazine as Phoebe Lou goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut EP!

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:: stream/purchase Player here ::
Stream: ‘Player’ – Phoebe Go



:: Inside Player ::

Player - Phoebe Go

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we don’t talk

to be honest. i think i was well and truly mid spiral writing this. i knew i had to try a solo project but deep down i was really really scared. excited but also yeah i was freaking out. it was a unique combination of an upward/downward spiral. haha. i went into my writing studio every day, sat on my own, ate milo out of the tin, and just tried really hard to find something that felt like me. something that moved me. i had a piano and a guitar and that was kind of it. maybe it doesn’t sound that different to being in a band or a duo but trust me IT IS. there’s nobody there to share the load. it was difficult getting used to that but it was worthwhile. and eventually i found comfort and confidence (in myself). but it was harsh and lonely for a while. you know all those voices about success and failure and authenticity and garbage and art and image and industry and potential and pressure. well i think this song is my way of drowning all of that out and being true. i listen back to it now and i’m like wow cool, i got there. simon really made that possible. both in his friendship and support and the energy he gave the song. he really pulled it out of the trenches. it doesn’t sound like defeat anymore.



the kid

i love this song. it’s kind of a tribute to my youth. it’s about that misunderstood weird little kid. i’m the youngest in my family and there was this phase where they all used to call me the ‘mad tablecloth’ lol. cause i wore these red checkered pyjamas and whenever i put them on i would seem to end up in some rampage over nothing. i was sensitive. well i still am. but i guess over time i worked out how to keep stuff in and maybe too well, because even that got me into trouble eventually. this is a tribute because i started to notice how often i was swallowing my needs just to keep things cool. this song is kind of about me breaking that habit. i think we all need to keep our inner kid intact. mine is fun and true and also very smart. this song is like a ‘hey little kid come back i need you’.



hey

This song’s really close to me. I lost my youngest cousin really suddenly a few years back and I didn’t know how to make sense of it all. And I still don’t and I don’t think I ever will. But this song is really my way of coming to grips with that. Around the time I was writing it I was sort of fixated, trying so hard to understand him, you know, what he was thinking and feeling and living. I think my own perspective got so lost in his. Maybe that’s what gives this song that windy folk pace. I’m really proud of the comfort I found in this song though. Cause life aches, and we’ve gotta learn how to live with that. So I think in that way it’s kind of hinting at hope, that maybe there’s life inside loss, somehow.



be the player, not the poet

This is where me and Simon first pulled out the old lap steel! Haha well it was just my guitar on his lap and the sm57 sliding all over it but it kinda sounds like lap steel doesn’t it? this song was so fun to record. we even had my brother vaughan and my friend edvard on some extra guitars and vocals and they killed it. i wrote this song in the middle of one of the lockdowns when i felt like i was losing my purpose a bit and generally just wondering where my place was in the world as an artist. simultaneously, lol, i had become obsessed with Fortnite and was having the absolute time of my life with a few friends and some 10 year old kids on the internet. anyway around that time i had been given some advice, to basically stop caring so deeply about music. and it pissed me off. the professional opinion was to lighten up and just “play your instrument, maybe you could just play covers instead?” i was like “um, what.” anyway, this song is kind of a conversation with myself. it’s about me understanding my relationship with songwriting on my own terms. because songwriting is the love of my life. it also requires a lot of work and if i stopped working then the songs would die. i never know what the next song will be. every single time. i just go in blind and sometimes if things go well i can actually disappear and it’s pure creation. pure joy. it’s a crazy job doing something that requires you not to know how to do it. but i’ve also realised that that’s kind of the whole point.



birthday

I wrote this last year, the week leading up to my 26th birthday. cause celebrating just feels like a joke when you’re sad doesn’t it. that was me, like, miserable about being miserable, that sort of thing. this song just fell out one morning. it was one of those. i took a demo of the song into the studio the morning i finished writing it and Simon just said “well let’s record it” so we did. i don’t think we ever really wondered what we could do with it and what it was gonna sound like. we just forgot about everything else we were gonna do that day and we live tracked it. Simon played the guitar while i sang. i remember us in the studio that day saying like “wow, this is so MUSIC of us” and laughing. we chose one take, both did a few harmonies and that was it. just really sad and really complete.

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:: stream/purchase Player here ::



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Player - Phoebe Go

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📸 © Nick Mckk

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