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:: Spotlight :: Laneway Festival spotlight - Holly Throsby

By: Laura MacIntyre

Holly Throsby has barely had time to unpack her bags after returning from a weekend of back-to-back shows at Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club. Unpacking is probably the last thing on her mind right now. In fact she will be lucky to find time to scrawl a postcard in the coming weeks. First, she has a series of dates planned across the nation this month to promote her second album Under the Town. Then, she heads to New Zealand to play with Joanna Newsom, before making her way back to Australia to join the burgeoning Laneway festival lineup in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Throsby caught the travel bug early, courtesy of her mother, ABC broadcaster Margaret Throsby, who would occasionally moonlight as the voice of Qantas for their in-flight entertainment program. A perk of the job was the opportunity for mother and daughter to travel to far-flung locales such as Italy and Wales. “I was lucky enough to be well travelled at a young age” Throsby says, “It [travel] affects the writing, and I write a lot better when I move about”.

When she does return home to Sydney, Throsby is most likely to be found at her local Coles shopping for one of her impromptu BBQ’s, or heading down to the beach for a swim session. “It all sounds very Australian, doesn’t it?” she laughs, admitting that “we planned the tour to be a summer tour”.

The summery beach-going persona Throsby describes is the perfect foil to her introspective songwriting. Throsby studied English literature at university, and it shows. Fragile and lingering, her songs have the well worn quality of a poem you once learnt by heart, or a much thumbed novel.

The self-taught musician describes her writing process as being largely intuitive, “I’ve never had any music lessons, I don’t understand music theory. I make chord shapes, but I really just make things up as I go along”, she says. Songs often seem to creep up on her unawares, “I have ideas for a song, a song can start from one word, one image” she explains. “Melodies seem to pop out of thin air often, as if the song is already written, the melodies just seem to come. It’s almost involuntary.”

Amidst the frenetic atmosphere of the Laneway Festival, Throsby is set to deliver an intimate breath of fresh air. Translating her hushed melodies into a larger venue doesn’t faze Thorsby one bit. “Every show is very different. In a room of 200 people, I often feel as though I’m just playing to 5-10 people”.

See Holly Throsby as part of the Laneway Festival. See our Festival News section for all the details.

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