The soft wispy vocals pleasantly complimented by the chilled, lofi beats is what make Olivia Gavranich’s music so enchanting. Better known as St. South, her tunes are blessed by multiple elements of careful production to be suited to any event. Whether you’re showering, cleaning, having a gath with mates, or perhaps your date might be going well, these are the songs you put on when you can’t think of anything else on the spot – even for the fussiest of listeners. Slacks has continued to remain in my ‘good atm’ playlist for over two years now, and it’s no wonder with the song reaching 25+ million hits on Spotify. A whispered melancholy romance backed up surprisingly well with an almost-playful key tone; this is music produced right. Oh, and the music video is aesthetically gorgeous.
An original style with heartfelt lyrics (without being corny) and instrumentals that will have you swaying and bobbing your head at the same time, St. South’s talent is too magnificent to go unnoticed. Her Inure EP, inspired by nostalgia and how we can all honour the past whilst simultaneously letting it go, was released the end of last year and we’re more than eager to hear what’s in store for the future!
Off the tail from Mardi Gras, we were honoured to have a chat to the talented Olivia about life as St. South.
First off, how was Mardi Gras?
It was so great! I’ve been to Sydney a few times but never for Mardi Gras. I got there a week before the parade, and the atmosphere in Sydney was so beautiful and warm; pride flags in every window, and a sense of safety that I’ve never really experienced before, nor am I able to fully explain.
I also wore fishnet and a neckerchief for the first time in my life so you could say that many goals were kicked that weekend.
Congratulations on the release of your EP, Inure! How has the response been?
Thank you! The response has been really surprising (in the best way). I never intended to release these songs when I wrote them, so I had zero expectation as to how they would be received, or if they would be heard at all. I guess I didn’t expect it to resonate with so many people because of how personal it is, but everyone has given me so much love and it’s been so affirming.
The tracks themselves are deeply emotional. Would you say this was a challenging EP to bring together?
For sure. Lyrically, it felt like I was picking out splinters and putting them into songs. The lyrics themselves came easily because their sole purpose at the time of writing was to vent my anxieties and heart ache, so that I could reach some kind of peace and move on. I didn’t feel like I could create anymore electronic music without getting Inure out of my chest first. So it was definitely emotionally challenging, but cathartic and needed.
What inspires your song writing process?
I think my mental state is the main thing; writing because it makes me feel better, or because I can’t think about anything else until I’ve created something from it. Or I’ll hear a song with a nice beat, or a pretty chord progression and it will give me a random idea and I’ll record it on my phone. Fresh sample packs always get me going too.
You’re no stranger to Triple j Unearthed. Who did you vote for in the hottest 100?
My votes this year were:
Bonobo – Break Apart (Ft. Rhye)
Big Thief – Mary
Maggie Rogers – Better
Sylvan Esso – Rewind
Alex Lahey – You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me (Triple J Like A Version)
Vallis Alps – Serity
Stella Donelly – Boys Will Be Boys
Molly Burch – Please Forgive Me
Julien Baker – Appointments
Moses Sumney – Don’t Bother Calling
Before I started self producing I worked with a lot of different producers online, so I assumed that collaboration in any form would come easily after that. But Nick is the first person I’ve worked with in person, which has been weird and wonderful. I find it really hard to write and record vocals in front of people. I kind of hate it. It’s such a personal thing for me, and to have someone there during that process has really tested me as a songwriter. But Nick and I are lucky in that we have a great understanding of each other, as musicians and as friends. We also make up for what the other lacks, and it’s great to have someone to refresh the creative flow when one of us hits a wall.
Have you ever visited Melbourne’s inner north? What places have you checked out/would love to see?
I have! I’ve lost a lot of Perth friends to Melbourne over the years, so I always make the trek to visit them. Last time I was there I tragically missed out on the Amy Winehouse exhibit (at The Jewish Museum) by a day – but I also discovered a new favourite store on Brunswick street by the name of Kloke. Most of my favourite places are clothing stores or cafes. Nick dragged me to a million different furniture stores in Richmond last time I was there, which turned out to be surprisingly cool. And breakfast at Top Paddock is pretty damn good too.
Will we have the pleasure of seeing you play in Melbourne any time soon?
Live shows haven’t been a priority for me as of yet. I’m mainly focusing on writing and collaborating and taking care of my mental health (I’m a bit of a hermit). But once I tackle my live set up, Melbourne will definitely be on the cards.
What’s heading to our ears in the future?
I’ve been writing and producing heaps this year so I’m planning to get something new out over the next few months!
Feature Image Credit: St. South Facebook Page