Adalita Takes Us Behind The Scenes Of Her New Album 'INLAND'

6 December 2022 | 4:04 pm | Adalita

To celebrate the release of her new record 'INLAND', Adalita shows us the creation and inspiration behind the album that's taken nine years to come together.

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INLAND began production in 2015 after a quick and easy songwriting phase the year before. I was ready for my usual 4-5 month recording/mixing process soon after but to my dismay, it wasn’t meant to be. Things came to a grinding halt when the songs proved challenging to nail down, and time started to stretch out for a very long and agonising nine years. It took so long that I started to feel like I was excavating the songs out from some long-lost ruins, an archaeologist more so than a songwriter. But now that it’s out, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and happiness as I look back and reflect on the many defining moments and memories that have stuck - going for numerous solitary night drives to do test listens in the car, putting ice packs under my laptop to stop it from overheating during lengthy editing sessions, a chance meeting with producer Marty Brown (Art Of Fighting, Clare Bowditch) that would change the course of the album forever, for the better. Marty became involved in the production after hearing one of the album contenders and notably one of the most stubborn ones to record, Dazzling, live back in 2014. Marty says, “Way back in 2014, I saw Adalita play an amazing version of it solo  - actually, it wasn't completely solo - Clare Bowditch (a.k.a my wife) was helping out on backing vocals, and from the very first moment you could tell how special that song was… I fell in love with it immediately, so much so I kind’ve carried it with me from then on. To have the chance to eventually produce it with Adalita and hear it come to life in the way I imagined it might on that night -  that meant the world to me.” And it worked. Marty nailed the production, and for the first time, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In January 2021, one of the greatest moments came when my esteemed and long-time collaborator, Lindsay Gravina (producer/engineer Birdland Studios) and I finally sat down to mix the album. To say I was overjoyed on that first day would be a massive understatement. 

Lindsay talks about that time and of my creative process, “Her inner world is consistently unique, yet I notice some evolution or dare I say maturation, evident in not only her lyrics, but also in the accompanying soundscapes she meticulously lords over. And it’s in the creation of these soundscapes that I get invited to help out with… Having been her main producer over this time, I am pleased to have witnessed the way in which Adalita has gradually come into her own as her own producer. Apart from a little help here and there, she creates all her arrangements and sounds, as well as hand picks her performers, and is not afraid to redo things until she is finally satisfied. A lot of the ideas are 'offshore' - as her old surfer/skater mates from Geelong may have put it back in the day - and really quite wonderful. When we finally have all the parts in the can, the fun begins for me in the mixing, although with her recordings, it’s more like sonic sculpting or audio alchemy. We’re conjuring atmospheres to evoke emotional responses, little movies without the pictures… I’ll try to create a vibe that’s working for me, and if it’s pushing the right buttons for her, we finesse it from there. Otherwise, I’ll throw up more options until we’re both vibing on it. Happily, we’re never too far from being on the same page. For some reason, I always seem to “get” her emotional language (I’m talking subtextually), and I can swim around in it, pulling on whatever levers it takes to navigate a way home. Every song is a different journey through a different ocean, some stormy, some a little calmer. But never just “plain sailing”, that’s for sure - we like a bit of struggle!”

A further defining element of INLAND was the music videos created for tracks Dazzling, Savage Heart, Hit Me, and Private Feeling. Closely tied in with the dramatic and widescreen element of the record, I knew these could only be made by one person, and that was filmmaker Adam Harding who has worked on clips for the likes of DJ Shadow, Warpaint and Swervedriver. Adam and I spent around six inspired and frenetic months road-tripping to various locations in my home state of Victoria to create our INLAND dream world. Adam says, “Ad and I have known each other for a long time and had established a working relationship many years ago, having created four music videos for the self-titled album in 2011. I've been fortunate to witness Ad’s growth not only as a solo artist but also as a video maker in her own right. She could have made videos for these songs herself, but knowing how long and hard she had already laboured over the album, I was more than happy to step back into our familiar creative partnership to help her with the final piece of the puzzle. We travelled all over Victoria, from Charlton to Lake Tyrrell, the Western District Lakes to The Otways. We didn't have any help this time around, so it was just the two of us in our element. With no lighting assistance, we mostly relied on natural light. Ad did all the driving, and did her own hair and makeup. It was hard work, but I'm so proud of what we accomplished. The goal is always to create images that marry to the music, and I think we achieved that."

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I’m glad I pushed through and completed the album. INLAND is an important document for me. It pays homage to the inner push and pull of chaos and control, self-esteem, worthiness, primal needs and love. It's been a gruelling and ultimately rewarding process - I've experienced a good dose of perseverance, been faced with the art of letting go, and finally, I feel a warm, enveloping groundedness upon its release. And now I can have a little rest.